Seven ways to measure mobile ROI

By Becky Lawlor

The mobile apps market continues to grow. In 2014, all three apps stores (Google, Apple and Amazon) grew by at least 50 percent. Google ended the year with more than 1.43 million apps and Apple with 1.21 million, according to appFigures.

All this growth, while good for consumers, is creating an increasingly competitive space for app developers and causing enterprises to take a closer look at mobile ROI. A well-designed app can create new business opportunities, build brand value, increase revenue and add to employee productivity. On the other hand, unsuccessful apps may languish on the “shelf” with few downloads and even fewer engagements after download.

So how does an enterprise measure its mobile ROI? What key performance indicators (KPIs) will best indicate an app’s performance? The answers will vary depending on your mobile app’s objectives and goals, but here’s a look at seven key KPIs and what they can tell you about your app’s performance.

1. App downloads

A high number of downloads is a prerequisite to a successful app, making this an important KPI to measure. The number of app downloads also tells you whether your app-related marketing and advertising strategies are working. However, this KPI measures only the beginning of the journey of your app’s success.

According to new data from Nielsen, users age 18 and over spend 65 percent more time each month using apps than they did two years ago, but the average number of apps used per month only increased slightly. Thus, it’s important to combine this KPI with other KPIs to see the big picture.

2. Active users

How many users open and use the app, and how frequently? KPIs can be set to measure daily, weekly or monthly user activity. For example, strong mobile ROI for a game or business productivity app may require daily activity; for an app used to record business calls, less frequent weekly or monthly engagement may indicate good results.

3. Length and depth of visit

Beyond determining how often users open the app, it’s important to determine how engaged users are once they are using it. This KPI is particularly important for e-commerce and game apps. Are users staying on the app more than a few minutes? How many screens or pages are they visiting in a session? Metrics like these can be insightful, particularly if engagement is falling off at a certain length of time or at a certain screen.

4. Conversion

There are many ways to measure conversion, and they depend on the type of app and its objectives. In general, purchase, subscription and registration are all measurable KPIs. These will be particularly important for apps meant to entice users to buy products or services.

5. Revenue

Not all apps are designed to generate revenue, but for many, this is a critical KPI. Revenue can be measured in a number of ways depending on the app and the type of revenue it was designed to generate. App store purchases, in-app purchases and paid advertising within the app are the three main ways apps generate revenue.

6. Social shares

Social shares make a good KPI for apps whose goal is to build brand trust, share content or increase word-of-mouth activity. For other apps, social sharing may or may not be a part of the app at all.

7. User experience

With millions of apps to choose from, mobile users have low tolerance for a poor user experience. This means apps must perform well right out of the gate and keep performing well if they are to succeed. Measuring the number of times an application crashes, freezes, launches slowly or fails to launch can indicate whether or not the app is providing a good user experience.

Each enterprise will need to establish the overall goals and objectives of its application. Then, it’s simply a matter of selecting KPIs that can most effectively measure these goals and objectives to determine the overall mobile ROI.

Written By

Becky Lawlor

Technology Writer

Becky Lawlor is a freelance technology writer specializing in mobility, cloud computing, unified communications and collaboration solutions. She develops and writes content that helps technology buyers understand and evaluate technology solutions, modernize their IT infrastructure…

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