The Nature of the Beast: Understanding and Applying Mobile App Metrics

June 14, 2017 Jack Vawdrey

Bringing web-centric measurement to the mobile app world is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. If you hope to survive in the competitive mobile app market, you won’t last very long without mobile app metrics to optimize acquisition and retention.

Trying to use standard web metrics in the mobile world would be a matter of putting square pegs in round holes. Apps don’t have visitors, they have users. No pages, just screens.

These differences between the two platforms aren’t just the result of an arbitrary game of semantics. App users have different patterns of behavior and expectations compared to web visitors—that’s just the nature of the beast.

When businesses treat app users like website visitors, they fail to take into account defining characteristics of mobile consumers. They fail to understand mobile-specific challenges such as shorter attention spans, app multitasking and variability in geo-location.

They also miss out on the benefits that come from embracing mobile-first analysis—for example, robust audience segmentation stemming from a one-device-to-one-person ratio.

These are considerations not to be discarded, as expectations for mobile app performance are extremely high.

For many consumers, downloading an app is like hiring a full-time employee: when bringing on a new app, users expect the relationship to be long-term with a positive return on the resources dedicated to making space for that app.

Apps are expected to act as continuous value-providing assets, instead of disposable commodities. Like with an employee or a campaign, if there is no return on that investment, the relationship is terminated.

And mobile users aren’t afraid to take this course of action—95% of daily active users churn within 90 days after downloading an app. Not something to bat your eyes at.

Eric Matisoff, Data Science & Analytics Evangelist at Adobe, recently said, “We can’t be using the old standbys of page views per visit, average time spent, and bounce rate when analyzing our apps. It’s time to rethink our calculated metric and segmentation strategies to properly align them with consumer app usage.”

Optimizing an app to avoid becoming another notch in the mobile user’s phone case requires accurate data collection, robust analysis and insights-driven decision-making—centered around mobile app metrics.

Eric Matisoff will be presenting “App Metrics and Segments You Can’t Live Without” at the upcoming Mobile Analytics Summit, an event dedicated to exploring trends and best practices in the mobile analytics and marketing space. Register now to reserve your seat for this event.

About the Author

Jack Vawdrey

Jack Vawdrey is a content marketing strategist and closet programmer interested in the opportunities that marketing technology and automation present for enterprises. Passionate about digital marketing, content marketing, and analytics, Jack is continuously honing his skills in these areas and relishes an opportunity to share what he's learned. Jack joined the ObservePoint marketing team in 2016 as Managing Editor and now works as a Content Marketing Consultant.

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