When an app hits the store, many businesses think it's time to celebrate. Does it download? Check. Does it look great? Check. Time to move on.
But this is the beginning of an important journey – the relationship between your app and the end-user. Would you move into a new apartment and leave everything as you found it? No! You're going to bring in your workstation, move some plants around, hang some mirrors, plug in your sleep sounds machine.
Things are rarely perfect at first. That's why you're not reading the first draft of this post.
And that's what a brand new app is – a first draft. But the way your users engage with your app can give you vital information about how you can tailor it to their needs. They can tell you where to put the plants and hang the mirrors, and turn your first draft app into a home.
They might even suggest a floating shelf…
This is the number of downloads – or units – that your app has generated. This doesn’t necessarily mean that users have engaged with your app. But it gives you an idea of your reach, and it tells you when your app is being downloaded.
This is useful to track, because a spike in downloads might be due to marketing, social media activity, or an event or occasion which has made your app relevant.
2. Active users
Perhaps you launched an app to a fanfare of publicity. You got great feedback from colleagues, the industry, the guy at the 7-11… But then user numbers dropped off at an angle that resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa?
An analysis of your metrics data can have your user numbers climbing again. But not up Pisa, it's unstable.
3. Daily / monthly active users (DAU / MAU)
Your DAU is your daily unique users and MAU is your monthly unique users. MAU gives you an idea of how many users you have, and DAU gives you a better idea of user frequency.
Headspace is a popular guided meditation app. They use daily push notifications with short, philosophical messages about mindfulness and meditation. After each guided meditation, a screen tells you your number of consecutive daily sessions. If you skip a day, the number resets to one.
This daily count doesn't offer rewards or unlock features. But by providing automated stats, the user is gently incentivized into daily use.
Think about how you could engage your users with daily push notifications or alerts.
Stickiness is usually bad. Seriously, would it kill you to wipe that workstation? Maybe once a day instead of once a month…
The good news is that in app metrics, stickiness is good. And it's easy to work out. Simply divide your DAU figure by your MAU, and you have a percentage. DAU ÷ MAU = % stickiness.
The higher the figure, the more sticky your app is. Continuous integration (CI) can radically increase your percentage.
It's useful to know how many times your app is uninstalled, and when.
Listen to the feedback your users provide. You can also use Twitter or Reddit to track issues.
Even better, quality assurance (QA) can prevent problems leading to uninstalls before they happen.
When launching an app update, devs will test new features and fixes. But these updates can also affect the functionality of existing features, and that’s where regression testing comes in.
5. Length of each session
Streaming services and social media welcome long sessions as it means their users are enjoying content on a UI that's easy to navigate.
But some apps are for quick reference or occasional use, such as booking train tickets. If a user is spending 20+ minutes per session, they've probably missed their train and deleted the app!
Therefore, it’s important to identify if you’re looking for short, frequent session lengths, or extended sessions.
6. App retention rate
Your app retention rate is the number of users who still use your app in a given period, divided by the number of total installs.
In today's world, many things fight for our attention. Alerts from other apps, push notifications, social media updates… The marketplace for user attention span is jostling, and retention rate for apps is low.
A business continuity app can relieve the headaches of testing and optimization, and improve your retention rate.
If you’re catering for a global audience, you might need to know how your app performs worldwide. Software testing outsourcing has the answer.
Design and functionality
How many times have you scrolled through your home screens searching for that app you KNOW you installed! It must be here SOMEWHERE!
Your app's logo sits on a screen with up to 23 other logos. It needs to summarize exactly what your app does at a glance. Your app store blurb might not be on point either. Logos and blurbs are easy to get wrong but they're also easy to update.
7. Screen flow analysis
Screen flow analysis provides crucial information about how your users navigate your app. This shows you which screens are popular. Less popular screens might be difficult to navigate or have low user engagement. This could be fixed by improving the UI.
Features that aren't useful to your users can't be fixed, so remove them. Making your app as streamlined as possible could decrease download time and reduce crashes. An RPA assessment could provide the foundations for efficiency.
Home, sweet home screen!
Your users are now loving the app! So much so, they've put it on their home screen! Yes! Gone are your days of hanging out with dating apps and cryptocurrency sites, you've hit the big time!
You're rubbing shoulders with Google, Audible, and Uber! Look, there's Maps! Hey Maps, how's it going? Not there, over here! …OK, must be low signal. But still, it's pretty exciting, right?
The truth is, your users love the place. It looks exactly how they wanted it. They've even found the right sound for the sleep machine (seriously, golf? That was just weird).
They're even ready to get their friends over for a dinner party! Finally, it's time to move on!
Sadly not. The truth is that metrics, analytics, and development are an ongoing task. Your app won't stay on the home screen by itself.
Now, where to put that floating shelf…
Felix Zoot Billson is the Head of Marketing for Global App Testing, a best-in-class software and mobile app testing company that is founded on speed, impact and effort. Felix has become adept at growing businesses by focusing on creating optimized customer experiences to maximize business impact and revenue. On the weekends, you’ll find him reading his favorite novels and mountain biking. Here is his LinkedIn