Marketing & Metrics

Mobile App KPIs: Metrics that Matter for Growth

So much data, so little time! For small to mid-size mobile app developers, more data does not necessarily lead to actionable insights. When it comes to measuring (and understanding) success, it’s crucial to know the mobile app KPIs, or key performance indicators, that matter for growth in order to evaluate your early marketing efforts.

Installs are the bread but retention and monetization are the butter to a successful mobile app. Customer engagement and retention are directly connected to how much value your app brings to the user and understanding what is important to them helps you steer strategy in the right direction.

So, what are the metrics that matter? Which metrics will help your app succeed?

The mobile gaming industry is particularly fruitful with data for analysis of app KPIs related to mobile growth. That’s understandable – games generate over 85% of all in-app revenue ,creating a highly competitive industry that has to make data-driven decisions.

Since the gaming app market is constantly measuring data, competitors in the space have an advantage. Benchmarking allows competitors to compare their data with aggregated industry data from other companies who share data and top metrics. However, since benchmarking is used to set meaningful targets and gain insights into trends occurring across your particular industry, only use comparable data from your niche to create performance benchmarks in order to gain valuable insights.

Different metrics come into play at different stages of an app lifecycle. Breaking down the different lifecycle stages of user’s journey in an app allows clear KPIs to be examined.

User Acquisition

After your app is live, the first step is to measure installs. However, the number of active users, or Daily Active Users (DAU), will be more indicative of how many users actually are consistently using your app rather than explaining installs. Pay close attention to where they are coming from and which marketing channels are bringing you valuable users and which are ineffective when tracking mobile app KPIs tied to growth.

It is impossible to answer these questions without tracking how new users interact with your app.

Below, we have a list of Mobile App Tracking (MAT) partners that can easily track all of your marketing efforts. One of the top KPIs that matter in mobile is measuring  Click vs. Install (how many people are clicking on your ads vs. installing) in the acquisition phase which turns into Conversion Rate (Installs / Clicks). If you have a low conversion rate one thing to look at is your app store landing page and start a/b testing creative, app title, and more. Google Play makes it pretty simple to a/b test right in the developer dashboard. Then, take a look at the ad creative and copy – are you clearly stating what your app does and therefore driving only quality installs (users who want what your app has) to download or are you being too broad and therefore a lot of people are clicking on the ad only to be disappointed that it isn’t what they thought it was?


Low Day 1 (D1) retention shows something is seriously wrong with your app from UX/UI and onboarding experience standpoint. Remember, D1 retention is how many users come back 24 hours after install – the day of install is considered D0. However, high D1 retention is not a strong indicator of revenue potential – while you might have optimized for a quick buck, the Lifetime Value (LTV – more on this later) of such users could be less promising. D7 is actually more significant, as users generally decide if they want to stop using the app within the first 3-7 days. Making your app sticky (or making users want to return and spread awareness) is crucial for its success. Typically, retention is measured for D1, D7, and D30 – but how much value do you need to extract from users in order to be successful?

Lifetime Value (LTV) is defined as net revenue or profit that a user will generate over the entire time that they use your app, and therefore, is also considered to be the upper limit on what you might be willing to pay to for user acquisition.

LTV is affected by churn rate – or how many users stop using your app during a given period. Recent reports show 75% of users will churn within 90 days post-download. In the early stages of an app, LTV is a broad predictive calculation, or the amount of revenue generated by typical cohorts within your app. To dig a little deeper into LTV check out Apptamin’s guide to calculating LTV.


The main long-term goal of tracking all the data above is monetization. Now that LTV is figured out you can figure out how much you can spend on an acquisition and how much you need to make from each user. A typical mobile app only has a 1-2% conversion rate – meaning most players are never going to monetize. Keep Calm and Keep Measuring. It’s about increasing FTD (first time deposit) through optimizing your in-app purchases (IAPs) and fostering payer relations through user management and engagement. Paying users generate 20 to 30 times more revenue than an average user (average user is being both paid and unpaid users) – so fostering those payers is a key to success.

Paying attention to pivotal metrics at every stage of the app lifecycle allows for prompt and necessary updates to the app itself, creation of a monetization strategy and optimization of marketing efforts.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what to track, it’s important to understand which tools will help you gather and analyze this data. We’ve put together a brief list below of some of our favorites to stay on top of your mobile app KPIs.


Mobile app KPIs - Localytics– provides a great set of tools to optimize the UI and monetize (tracks user behavior on the app and LTV);
App Metrics That Matter - Flurry– provides valuable demographics data and analytics to work on retention;
KPIs That Matter in Mobile - Appsflyer– mobile advertising attribution, retention and analytics platform integrated with ad networks, agencies and analytics platforms, that helps marketers to pinpoint their targeting, optimize their advertising spend and boost their ROI;
KPIs That Matter in Mobile - TUNE– attribution analytics working with multiple ad partners (paid mobile marketing), app store analytics (boosting organic installs), and in-app monetization;
KPIs That Matter in Mobile - Tapjoy– mobile marketing automation platform (good insight on spenders versus non-spenders, timely messaging tool, etc.), in general, monetization optimization for mobile freemium apps;
KPIs That Matter in Mobile - Omniata– combines analytics, real-time customer relationship management, and customer feedback testing in all-in-one data platform.

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