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Most independent App developers depend on immediate success of their products to cover ongoing expenses and make a profit, with performance of each App directly tied to their survival. App monetization is a very fragile aspect of business operations and room for error is nearly non-existent, so any inefficiency in the revenue-generating model must be corrected quickly. That would hardly be possible without statistical parameters known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), which are used to determine whether your App is making as much money as it should. Here is a quick overview of essential KPI’s that tell the whole story about your App’s performance:
This is the most basic parameter that shows whether the App is picking up any traction at all. It is next to impossible for an App to return its expenses of development and marketing unless it is gains enough attention from the user community to rake up between 25,000 and 100,000 downloads. Of course, focusing too much on this metric can be misleading, since it doesn’t tell us anything about financial aspects of the deal. Some developers chase downloads at any cost, running the risk of inflating their statistical profiles without seeing any actual sales for it.
App Store Rank
Due to the way in which users discover new Apps on the App stores, it is imperative to assume one of the leading positions in a particular category in order to get noticed. Pushing up the App Store Rank of your App just 20 or 30 spots can have a dramatic impact on visibility of the Application, leading to much larger number of downloads in a very short time. Users rarely bother to scroll down too far and category leaders have a huge edge over the competition, so keeping an eye on this KPI is a must.
Revenue Per User (RPU)
Another KPI tightly related to financial viability of the App, Revenue Per User is something that developers should be thinking about at all times. When combining this metric with volume-based indicators such as number of downloads, you get a clear idea about your total revenues. New App features or changes in marketing strategy can reflect on higher RPU and boost profits, so this statistic is something that can and should be worked on. High-revenue users are not easy to come by and can only be attracted by real value propositions.
Some Apps have built-in features that require users to take action or spend money, for example online surveys, premium contents or in-App purchases. In this case, the most pragmatic way to summarize the user tendencies is to calculate conversion rates for each of these actions. To put it simply, conversion rate is the percentage of users who complete the required action and become customers. When this indicator is too low, it probably means that the request wasn’t delivered in the most appropriate way or was too demanding in the first place.
Developers like to know what users are doing once they open their Apps and average session length is the key to understanding their patterns of behaviour. This parameter works best when used alongside other KPI’s, as it provides a context in which all other actions can be properly assessed. While you certainly want users to spend long time using the App, that alone is not enough to secure a profit. Only when extended sessions are followed by rise in conversions or average revenues per user the developer can be satisfied with the state of matters. Still, it is worth monitoring this indicator at all times and reacting quickly if its values start declining.
Lifetime Value (LTV)
To understand the big picture, it is necessary to step back and determine how much value each customer brings to the table over the entire life-cycle of the product. This type of information can steer marketing efforts towards users who are more likely to use the App intensively and spend money on in-App purchases. Since LifeTime Value can be calculated in different ways depending on revenue sources for each App, more and more developers are using dashboards that allow automated tracking of this key parameter.
Measuring data is important. Data helps make better decisions.
The whole analytic field can seem intimidating to some developers who fear all those numbers might distract them from producing quality code. However, a range of great tools for measuring KPI’s is available, including easy-to-learn platforms such as Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, MixPanel or Geckoboard. AppVersal’s leading tool for viewing App reviews can enrich the picture with details even further. There is no reason to ignore KPI’s and follow blind hunches when additional information can be obtained with very small expenditure of resources – and you might even be surprised how well your App is doing with some of these indicators.