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App Analytics: The Most Important Metrics To Measure

4 min read
Jan 16, 2018

Mobile App analytics can seem overwhelming! With the number of metrics that you can measure, it can be difficult to recognise which are most applicable to your app and set goals. However, there are 7 metrics that are essential to most apps to measure.

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These metrics are:

  • Users
  • Session Length
  • Session Interval
  • Time In-App
  • User Acquisition
  • User Retention
  • Lifetime Value  

7 Essential Metrics to Measure

Below are 7 essential metrics that should in most cases be on your go-to list to start with. These metrics will help you discover opportunities within the data around your user’s app behaviour.

1.  Users

Tracking your users is essential as not only does it give you an insight into your users and their natural in-app behavioural patterns, but it is also crucial for creating deeper engagement, like segmenting users, tracking precise behaviour and launching top app marketing campaigns.

Identifying your core and current active users is essential and your starting point for improving engagement across various marketing channels, to those who are yet to download your app or have dropped out of the desired marketing funnel. You can also obtain a greater understanding of the purchasing behaviour of users, including the degree of usage, who makes in-app purchases, and who clicks through from your ads.

2.  Session Length

A measured period of time between opening an app and closing it, (or when the app times out after 15 seconds), is known as a session length. It measures how much time your users are spending in your app individually. By measuring session length it allows you to see which audiences are spending the most time in your app and why.

3.  Session Interval

Session Interval is the time between the user’s first session and their next one. It shows the frequency at which your users open your app. By identifying your users typical time lapse between sessions you can segment your app users. Segmenting the users allows you to optimise the user experience to prompt regular opens. By knowing the session interval it can help indicate that you need to put some time into adding some contextual app marketing, like in-app messaging or push notification campaigns, prompting more frequent app engagement.

4.  Time In-App

Time in-app is pretty much what it says, it tracks the length of time a user is in your app. It is another indication of how often your app is being used, and how valuable your app is to its users. Just like session length and interval, this metric measures user behaviour over time, giving you a view of your user’s patterns and how often they are engaging with your app. The users that consistently open your app for long periods of time all have a reason. It is your job is to discover this reason. It could be because they make more purchases, or are just doing research. Whatever the reason, be sure to use this information to start personalisation initiatives to boost app usage.

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5.  User Acquisition

This metric is the number of users that download / install your app from a certain location, whether it’s organic search, word-of-mouth, paid campaigns or in-app referrals. User acquisition is especially important when you’re running campaigns through paid partners such as Twitter or Facebook to promote app downloads.

Acquisitions reports can be used to track how much money you are spending to acquire these users, their app downloads and what they’re doing when they get into your app. This can be vital as you are able to see how much of your marketing budget is being used, allowing you not to go over budget unintentionally.

6.  User Retention

User retention can be measured by the percentage of users that return to your app based on the date of their first visit. Tracking user retention highlights your most engaged users, creating better targeting potential and allowing you to track in-app purchasing by engagement levels. By segmenting retention rate based on device, audience and campaign, you can experiment with marketing or personalisation to test engagement and improve your app. Analysing user retention rates allows you to determine what is working and what isn't in your app, as over time, updates are needed.

By building long-term retention you can guide primed users to conversions and purchases, as creating a highly engaged user base is the best way to boost Lifetime Value and most importantly revenue.

7.  Lifetime Value 

Lifetime value represents the economic value of your app and how much each app user is worth in their lifetime. It can be segmented by the average monthly value or value per user, collecting worth over time financially, through loyalty and word of mouth. Netflix is a great example of lifetime value, by the number of shows watched or shared with others over time. Lifetime Value or LTV for short can also be tracked as revenue per user. This is a slightly different formula that can correlate directly to purchases, both in-app and over multi-channels for overall spend.

Over time, LTV can show growth for different segments, for example, by signals of how much more you can spend for acquisition to gain more users and still turn a profit. It also represents the value of mobile vs. non-mobile users; which user segment make more in-app purchases, is more loyal, and is a bigger brand converter.


As you get more familiar with app analytics you can add and take away with this list. No two apps or app goals are the same, therefore, it is important that you know your app goals before you begin the process of app analytics. If you just jump on in without considering what you are looking for or need to find out, you quite possibly will find yourself drowning in a sea of data and nobody wants that.

By measuring your app data with these metrics you can focus on finding out how much time your users are spending in-app and where exactly they spend most of this time? The data that you collect from these metrics will influence many things from marketing strategies to the app itself. Like many things in marketing the data collected can change, therefore, it is important to re-evaluate your app analytics on a regular basis.


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