Today we’ll cover what app engagement is, why it’s important, and how to measure app engagement. Because as app designers and developers, we often talk about how to build an app and how to design it for success. But how do we measure that success?
The average app user will use nine apps per day and up to 30 per month. Wouldn’t it be grand to be one of those? Yup—and the way to be one of those is through building your app for product-market fit and retention. And doing so requires knowing where you stand with conversion today and basing iterations on that.
Think of it this way: if a tree falls in the forest, but its user retention is low and task time is high, did it really fall?
…was that metaphor unclear? Yes? Okay—let’s go about our explanation a bit more strategically.
Let’s get started.
What is App Engagement?
Basically, app engagement is another way of observing the interaction between the user and the app. App engagement is measured with KPIs that indicate how well your app meets your user’s expectations, demands, and needs.
There are many ways to measure app engagement. However, they all inherently source from measuring how successful the app is in harnessing usage and enthusiasm.
So, think of retention, abandonment, usage figures, session lengths and counts, number of app updates, referrals—and so on. There are also other in-app numbers that help measure engagement, such as in-app events triggered or the engagement with in-app advertisements.
Why is App Engagement Important?
App engagement is important because it can turn your app from a helpful tool or fun application into an organic marketing machine—while increasing ROI, downloads, and revenue in general.
Ergo, you’re looking to increase customer loyalty such that referrals increase, first-time users become frequent and enthusiastic users, and freemium users convert into happy-to-pay users.
With higher customer loyalty comes higher CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value), higher ROI (Return on Investment) on development and marketing, lower CAC (Customer Acquisition Costs), etc.
All good things for your bottom line and growth trajectory. And especially if you’re looking to secure more funding—this is right where you want to be. Additionally, if you’re in the market for in-app advertisers, they’ll generally care a lot about your app engagement numbers.
So, here’s the kicker: app engagement can be and generally is a direct indicator of customer loyalty. And customer loyalty is generally a direct indicator of many other good things, both about your app and for your company’s future.
How to Measure App Engagement
So how should you go about measuring app engagement? Well, here’s a list of some of the metrics you should track.
The rate of returning users over a given period. Retention is one of the primary metrics you’ll use to measure engagement. So, basically, how successful is the app in hooking and making users come back?
For example, if you’re looking to measure the retention between January and March, the formula will look something like this:
Which is how effective your app is at convincing and helping users follow through with a specific action. For example, you could measure sign-up conversions, in-app purchase conversions, and everything in between.
Every in-app, user-facing action can be counted as a conversion. And, if you notice you’re experiencing a drop-off in conversion in certain tasks (for instance, onboarding to the first game completion)—that may be an indicator something is up with your usability.
The measurement of certain events happening. So, how many purchases? How many games were initiated, played, or completed? Or, how many invites were sent to friends?
How many users have signed up or registered to use your app over a certain period? Any chance you’ve noticed trends to do with your digital marketing strategy deployments?
What about waves in referrals based on specific feature releases? These are all details to note as you continue on your iterative journey to find product-market fit and grow your user base.
How many times have users launched your app on a given day? And better yet—have you noticed trends? For instance, is there a spike in launches on Monday nights after the Bachelor and/or football?
Investigate why and tailor mobile app marketing—your push notifications or in-app advertisements—to those trends.
How many users regularly use your app over a certain period. You should aim to have this number higher than your number of sign-ups, which would indicate effective engagement and stickiness.
How long do users spend in your app? And, again, are there trends in usage here? Session durations can show you the stickiness of your app and its value in users’ eyes. So, is it best as a tool for helping them complete one offline task at a time? Or is it a super addicting, can’t-put-the-phone down type of thing?
As they say, whatever it may be, make it a good one. With session durations, you can understand and play to your app’s strengths or decide you need to pivot its digital strategy to transform into what you envisioned.
So, how much time passes between each session? Are return users launching every day, or once every 14? Are trends associated with user personas, user-persona-specific actions, and session intervals?
By aggregating this data, you can learn where you can improve your app’s stickiness and mobile app marketing strategy.
The loss of users over a given period. The higher the churn, the more of an indication there are some points of improvement in your app’s usability, product-market fit, or general expectations vs. value proposition.
So, if you’re trying to measure churn between January and March, the formula will look something like this:
Well, this was a lot. We know.
Coincidentally, hi, we’re Goji Labs—a product and software development consultancy with experience in designing, “rescuing,” and deploying hundreds of products.
Have any general questions about who we are and our authority on the subject?
– Goji Labs