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August 06, 2018

7 App Marketing Metrics You Should Be Tracking

Your ultimate goal is to monetize your app in an increasingly competitive mobile landscape. But this is a very broad aim. First, it’s important to acquire quality users. Then it’s crucial to retain them over time. Both of these steps begin with your marketing strategy. Successfully marketing your app requires specific goal-setting along the way so you know what to keep doing and what to optimize.

Here are seven app marketing metrics you should be tracking as you assess campaign performance.

Retention Rate

Mobile users have millions of apps from which to choose. But people only have so much time and attention to devote to apps. Many users install an app only to stop using it a short time later or even delete it altogether. Approximately one-fourth of people use an app just once after installing it. This tendency makes retention a central challenge for marketers. There’s also the fact that it’s always cheaper to retain an existing user than to acquire a new one.

Retention rate helps marketers assess campaign performance to determine if they’re attracting engaged users who stick around to take advantage of its functionality.

Churn Rate

Churn rate tells the opposite tale as retention rate; it informs marketers how many people stop using an app within a given time period. High churn rates are counterproductive to optimizing ad spend, so it’s worthwhile to track closely.

User Lifetime Value

Knowing the lifetime value (LTV) of your average mobile user is useful because it helps you ensure customer acquisition costs stay reasonable in comparison. But value is subjective—different apps track different post-install events. Furthermore, marketers must assign accurate values to actions completed by users. Here are a few vertical-specific examples from Mashable:

  • A news app values ad impressions
  • A music app may value time spent listening to content
  • A retail app values purchases
  • A mobile game values in-game currency

To find the LTV of your customer base, start by defining significant post-install events and assigning each one a value.

Active Users

User engagement is key, especially considering many apps operate using a “freemium” model in which there’s no cost up front. An app could have 100,000 installs, but only 10,000 active users—and the latter metric is much more influential for its bottom line.

Install-to-Action Rate

So, how do you determine which users are truly “active” on your app? The install-to-action rate reveals the percentage of installs that go on to complete a designated post-install event. This is key in determining the return on investment (ROI) of your mobile app promotion strategy.


It’s also important to track the cost of acquiring a user who participates in a post-install event, whether it’s creating an account, subscribing or making a purchase. This metric considers the cost of your marketing campaign and the number of users who install and engage in a post-install event as a result to determine the average cost of a given conversion.

Session Length

We’d like to think users sit on their mobile devices, rapt, scrolling through our apps for hours. However, people are busy and often utilizing their smartphones and tablets on the go. The average session length for apps typically hovers around three to five minutes. However, the benchmark varies by vertical. Gaming apps can command user attention for longer. Social media and shopping apps have lower session lengths. This metric is another way to determine the engagement level of your user base so you can refine your marketing techniques.

Tracking these seven mobile app marketing metrics will help you keep ad spend low while driving user engagement.

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