On my mobile device, there are three types of apps: the ones I use every day, the ones linking me to personal business that get used maybe once a month, and those that I haven’t broken up with – yet.

Several factors determine which apps stay and which get deleted. At first glance, it might seem like a purely subjective evaluation by the user. But KPIs based on user interaction can deliver valuable – and objective – metrics that reveal the strengths and weaknesses of an app. Think of it this way…

The download is like a first date. We really don’t know each other very well. If our first interaction bombs, I close the app, delete it, and it’s gone. If it goes well, though… then I give it a second “date”. When it works out and I find value with the app, then I use it, share it, rate it, and consider upgrading to the paid premium version.

In either case, a lot of data can be mined from these interactions. Of course, your business isn’t the only one examining your app’s performance. Google and Apple review several data points to evaluate how to rank your app in the iTunes and Android SERP results.

At BFO, we’ve identified 8 vital data points that impact the placement and success of your mobile app.

Measure App Performance with These Behaviors

  1. Cohort Analysis. This metric tracks when people downloaded your app and how they came to find it. With this data, you’ll learn more about the people who engage and where they were searching before they found you. The insight is both demographics and psychographics. After an app is published, it’s important to establish the baseline to monitor changes in results.
  1. Event Tracking. Once you’re downloaded, you want to know how people use the app and what commands their attention. The more you understand how and what the user interacts with, the more value you can build to drive greater conversion rates.
  1. Goal Tracking. As a business, you developed your app to achieve a goal. Your specific goal depends on the purpose of the app. For example, social, retail, and enterprise apps look at different metrics to determine their success. Common metrics measuring app success include Cost-per-Install (CPI), Lifetime Value (LTV), Installs, Engagement Time, and Geo-location, to name a few.
  1. App Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Analysis of cohort, event, and goal data reveals ways to modify the user experience to improve app success. This final metric then tracks the results and impact of changes. Look at it like this: your users tell you what they want the app to do, how they like to use it, and what grabs their interest. This data informs the next development upgrades and leads to a better user experience.

Search Engine Influencers

  1. To prove their value, search engines in iTunes and the Google Play Store weigh how many people have taken the time to rate and review your app. Should you ask for a review? Feedback is always good. The more you have, the better you get.
  1. Rating Grade. You know your app is great, but do your users share your view? This metric looks at how many stars your app got. Don’t sweat a few bad reviews – unless you only have a few reviews. There’s always gonna be the haters trolling. But if bad reviews are all you have, then that is a red flag for a new development roll-out. The search engines look at ratings as a way to deliver apps people enjoy and avoid the ones that don’t deliver.
  1. Downloads Growth. This metric looks at the growth of downloads over the last 30 days. The more downloads you have, the higher you rank. But it’s also a good metric for businesses evaluating the success of their organic, paid, and social marketing efforts.
  1. Measuring how the app is used helps determine the value being delivered. Metrics such as what time of day, device preferred, and length of engagement can inform push notifications.

Say, for instance, a user played a game app for ten days. Maybe the user then purchases the premium version, paying for upgrades and for virtual inventory. By measuring this type of usage, you can begin to see what push notifications can be asked. Would this user be inclined to leave a great review? Target this usage metric and ask for reviews from the power users.

Also, make sure your app is ranking when people are looking for the tool you offer.

App Satisfaction = Second Date…and Third and…

The ultimate success of every app depends on how well it solves your customers’ problem. Even if your app never goes “viral” or makes the evening news, it can still achieve great success for your organization. Every app gives you daily access to your customers, just so long as it retains its value.

Leverage these 8 KPIs and your app will make it past the “first date.”

Want to learn more strategies for helping your site or app rank in SERPs? Check out our ebook!

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Also published on Medium.