Mobile App Performance

Mobile App Performance: Why and How to Measure?

Posted by Prakash Donga

30 Mar 21 18 Min read

Measuring the mobile app performance has become more crucial than ever today.

A powerful mobile app that does the job expected of it without any hiccups is worth its weight in gold, or in megabytes in this case.

Mobile apps scoring a 10/10 on each parameter is almost a utopian thought. Flaws are a given, the only thing you need to do is to ensure that the app’s performance doesn’t go down over time, at least not drastically. Thankfully, there are ways to measure the performance of mobile apps. Find out some of the relevant performance metrics based on your app and its functionality. Keep evaluating the performance vis-a-vis for each metric so that you can keep improving the app.

Why should we measure the performance of a mobile app?

When you monitor the right metrics for your mobile app’s performance, you will end up creating processes to ensure that any anomalies in the metrics will be taken care of. Without monitoring performance metrics, you will never know what went wrong when things actually go wrong.

If you have data for the number of new subscribers for your mobile app for the past 12 months, you will be able to analyze and provide an explanation when there is a rapid decline in this month. By using other related metrics and data, you will even be able to come up with a solution to tackle the same.

The level of impact that certain metrics have on your mobile app aka business can be drastic. It's exactly why you need to follow the metrics as if everything depended on it. Associate your mobile app performance metrics with automatic alerting processes so that effective action can be taken immediately during times of distress.

In this article, we are going to look into metrics that are used to measure the performance of a mobile app.

#1 General Mobile app KPIs:

The mobile app performance metrics that are listed under this section can be tracked by everyone as it doesn’t involve technical understanding of mobile technology or any other parameter. Do remember that the importance of KPIs differ according to the objective and functionality of the app.

For example, a subscription-only service will not care about the number of downloads of their mobile app. Because the onus is on the salesperson to make a prospect pay and that person will eventually download the app. The metric that they should concentrate on is user engagement in this scenario.

Let us look at some of the general mobile app KPIs that you should measure to gauge the performance of your mobile app.

Mobile Downloads:

The number of downloads of a mobile app is directly proportional to the success of the app in most cases. Imagine having a million downloads over a period of six months. That number has the word ‘success’ written all over it. Mobile downloads are also a pretty subjective matter. A social media app’s ten million downloads pales in comparison to one million downloads for an Edtech paid subscription service, isn’t it?

When there are more downloads, there are accompanying problems with it. You will need to better your UX, ensure that each interaction touchpoint is optimized and easy to use, and so on. That’s how it becomes the topmost performance metrics of a mobile app.

User growth rate:

To measure the performance of your mobile app, you should not only track the number of people who are becoming your users, but also find out the rate at which they are growing.

If there is a rapid spike in the number of users of your mobile app, you should be able to tell where the new signups come from? Why? For example, the new signups may be from your latest marketing campaign or it is because of a shoutout from an influencer in your niche. Knowing this will help you measure the impact of stray events such as the above. It will even help you narrow down what works better for your business.

If you want to predict the growth of an app, all you need to do is to use the number of daily active users over a long period of time and find the average. Using the average, you will be able to give an idea of the growth rate that can happen for the mobile app.

Organic Conversion Rate:

Every time you pay to push your app to more people, it stops being an organic campaign. The rate at which you convert visitors using non-paid channels is called organic conversion rate. It could be through the use of word-of-mouth, organic search, social media mentions, PR, creating organic buzz surrounding the product, influencer marketing, and so on. By keeping track of this KPI, you will be able to measure the kind of results that you get from organic activities.

By understanding the conversion rate of non-paid channels, you will be able to figure out the ROI that you get from your efforts so far. Using the ROI value, you can decide whether you need to put in more efforts for organic activities or should you choose to spend on paid ads more.

Paid Conversion:

There are many routes using which you can increase your conversion rate by paying money. The promoted tweets or sponsored posts on Instagram are all paid ads that you could leverage to reach your business goals faster. Some of the most popular paid ads channels are PPC advertising and display ads.

Finding the paid conversion rate of your business is equally pivotal because you need to know the kind of ROI you get from spending money on different channels. By observing this metric like a hawk, you will also be able to find out which are the best performing paid channels and spend more time and money on them as necessary.

You can measure the conversion rate of the paid channels using the dashboard provided for each of these channels from where you can get total information about the campaign.


A user who was gung-ho about using your app might not feel the same way after a month. People uninstalling your app is inevitable, but if you see that there are more people uninstalling the apps than there are ones installing them, then that is a point of contention. That’s exactly why finding the number of uninstalls is important.

Let’s say that you increased your rates or added a new feature, and you observe that there are many uninstallations than normal, you will be able to understand why there is an increase in the same. Based on why more uninstalls happened, you should be able to make appropriate decisions.

To find out the number of uninstalls over a month’s time, all you need to do is to take note of the number of downloads at the beginning of the month and minus it with the number of downloads at the end of the month. That’s why it becomes evident to measure this KPI for mobile app performance.

Social Shares:

Every time someone shares your app on social media, it is a sign that your app is gaining traction in terms of visibility. The more social shares, the better it is for your business and the mobile app. You should also look at where the shares are coming from, what is the specific context and by whom it is shared. Each social share tells you that your content or product/service is shareable.


Just like social media shares, the more positive the rating, the better it is for the app. It means that people are finding the mobile app useful and it can also be taken as a sign of good engagement. When users post their ratings on third-party websites, those are usually honest ratings, and you should make it a point to work on the negative ratings that come with it.

Reach vs Impressions:

There is a difference between reach and impressions in the context of mobile app performance KPIs. Reach is the number of people who see your content and Impressions are the number of times your content was displayed to someone, no matter whether they clicked on it or not.

Not everyone of your customers is going to see all of your posts because organic reach has drastically reduced in the last few years as the social media giants want you to pay for ads. Out of the 1000 impressions on a blog post, 100 of them may come from a single person. Do you get it? But that’s not the case with Reach as each number is unique. When tracking the success of your social media campaign for your mobile apps, this is something that you have to keep in mind.

#2 User Engagement KPIs:

There are plenty of user engagement metrics that you can use to measure the performance of your mobile app. The metrics that you should track should be based on your specific niche and category. It will help you understand what makes users stay with the app.

You’ll be able to unearth why your users like the mobile app, how they are using it, what you can do to make them spend more time on it, and probably the most important reason- the more the users are engaged with your app, the less likely they are to churn. When your users spend more time on the app, it results in more revenue for you.

Here are a few user engagement metrics that we have taken into consideration.

Churn Rate:

Also called the attrition rate, it is the percentage of users who stop using an app during a certain period of time. The number of users who leave should be lower than the number of new users if an app needs to grow.

To give you an example, if you start the month of March with 500 users and end it with 415 customers, then your churn rate is 17%.

(Number of existing users at the beginning of the month- Number of users at the end of the month)/ Number of existing users at the beginning of the month= Churn rate.

Your churn rate is governed by a lot of factors like poor onboarding process, poor product market fit, lack of features, poor user experience, lost value perception of the app, etc. If you reduce your churn rate, it will also result in a higher revenue for you.

Retention Rate:

Gone are the days when user acquisition alone mattered, if you don’t have a retention strategy in place, you will find it difficult to keep your users interested with your app. Retention rate is a metric that measures how many users continue using your application after using it once or twice.

A good retention rate for a mobile app depends on a lot of factors like the business model of the application, user base, niche, and so on. For SaaS-based businesses, retention is understood in terms of subscriptions. An app that is useful only during festivals will have a lower retention rate during months where there are none.

By remarketing, in-app messaging, push notification, smooth onboarding process, and predictive insights, you can increase your retention rate. It is a metric that is worth watching keenly.

Session length and depth:

A session is considered the time duration during which a visitor performs an action in your app. Session length will tell you how engaging your app is while session depth is a metric that tells you how close your users were to the target action. If the visitor had downloaded a resource on your app or made a purchase, it is considered under session depth.

Session depth can also be described as how far along the user path someone travels before closing the app. Adding products to the cart shows more involvement than just browsing through the products.

App engagement is an important metric to gauge the health of the app and when you combine session length with other metrics, you will be able to have more clarity on user experience and engagement.

Daily and monthly active users:

Active users are those who launch your mobile app every day and do some kind of action on it. If you see a decline in your daily or monthly active users, you need to find different strategies to market the app for those who have already downloaded the app. Most businesses usually consider daily users as their primary metric to measure growth and engagement.

Average Screens Per Visit:

It refers to the number of URLs or unique pages that a visitor hits during each of their visits. If the number of average screens per visit is high, that’s a good indication of high engagement, good UX and that the customer is interested in your offerings. When a visitor visits more pages, it also results in more impressions and if the number of impressions you generate is one of your monetization methods, then that will work in your favor too.

If your average screens per visit is high, it is an indicator that the content is interesting and that it can be navigated easily on the app.

Average Screens per Visit= Total number of page views / Total number of visits


The number of times a user opens the app is referred to as stickiness. An app like Reddit or Instagram has a high stickiness factor because it connects the users to a community of similar users.

You can calculate stickiness with this formula.

Stickiness=(Daily active users/Monthly active users)

If the stickiness percentage is high, it means more of your visitors are returning to the app. If your monthly active user count is similar to daily active user count, it means the app has a high stickiness value.

#3 UX and Performance KPIs:

Such metrics for performance in a mobile app tells you the technical performance of the app. By studying the KPIs and following them diligently, you will be able to improve the performance of the mobile app from a technical perspective and make changes that will better the existing user experience.

Load speed:

No one likes to wait these days, especially mobile app visitors. They are accustomed to faster load times and responses, so if your app doesn’t match the previous standards, then they will leave the session or even uninstall the app. For mobile apps, load times are a crucial factor. 70% of users will abandon an app if it takes too much time to load.

Screen Resolution:

Knowing which are the screen resolutions that are the most popular, you will be able to make sure that your app is in line with the expectations of the devices. Knowing the screen resolutions, especially of Android devices, is crucial, since there are many manufacturers which make Android-enabled smartphones.

Crash reports:

Apps crash. Why? Because there are a variety of operating systems, devices, specifications and whatnot and it certainly cannot be optimized for each of their unique attributes always. The crash could be caused due to random actions of the user, OS features or the complexity of the device.

Crash reports as a metric should not be ignored because it tells you at what point the app crashed, where you can find the issue and what caused the crash. It will help with testing and fixing the application at regular intervals.


If you are a SaaS business, it is highly likely that you offer a free trial or a basic version of your app which is free for the user. By tracking this performance metric of people who upgrade to the premium or paid version, you will be able to calculate what percentage of your customers are paid, how long it takes for the average user to move from free to paid, and how long they stay as paying customers. Using this metric, you will know when to approach a free user with an offer at the right time to make them a paid customer.


One more simple mobile KPI that you need to track is to see the devices that your audiences use to access your app.

  • Do they usually use tablets over smartphones?
  • Are there more iPhone users than Android users?
  • Did you find any specific device that was used the most?

Answers to the above questions will help you optimize the app’s performance.


Like how knowing the kind of devices the audience uses helps in optimizing the resources, the same goes for knowing the carriers that your customer base majorly uses.

Operating Systems:

If there are more crashes for your audiences who use iPhones, then your mobile app has not been optimized properly for iOS users. When the metrics for this are carefully monitored, you can understand why there are issues and spend time on correcting them.

#4 Revenue KPIs:

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU):

Using this metric, you will be able to tell how much users spend on your app. By monitoring this metric, you will also gauge how you can make more revenue. You will also find it interesting to note that Android users spend more time on apps and make small purchases while iOS users usually spend more during each purchase.

ARPU= (Total revenue generated during a specific time period/ Total number of active users during the same time period)


This metric will tell you the number of purchases that users make through your app. You should compare the number of purchases on your mobile app with other sources to see which ones are the most effective. If you think there is a reduction in the number of purchases, then you might want to provide a better UX or find if there are any other issues.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV):

The amount of money that a customer spends throughout his/her lifetime is called CLV. It will tell you how much you need to spend to acquire a customer. If your acquisition cost is higher than your CLV, then your entire business is running at a loss. CLV also helps you adjust your marketing budget as it would tell you how much to invest in acquiring new customers.

CLV= (Annual revenue per customer* Number of years of the relationship)- Customer acquisition cost.

Time to first purchase:

The time taken for a free user to become a paid customer depends on the industry and the price of your product. If you are selling your app for 99 cents, you wouldn’t have a lot of trouble persuading users to buy it, but if the ticket value is high, it is going to be a number of app sessions before they buy from you. If the time to first purchase is long, then you should invest in reaching more people, changing your marketing strategy and even adding more features to your product. This metric will tell you how long it takes for a trial or a free user to become a paid customer and is indicative of how your customers perceive your product about the value you bring to their business.

Return on Investment:

When you invest in paid ads or anything where you spend money, you will want to know how much returns you are getting from it. You can calculate return on investment by dividing the number of customers that you have gained over the time period to the money that you have spent on marketing, resources, tools, and so on. If your ROI keeps increasing, then it is a good sign that you have optimized your operations.

ROI= (Net Return on investment/ Cost of investment)*100

Abandonment Rate:

The rate at which users abandon the app before signing up or even beginning to use it is called abandonment rate. It could happen mainly because of poor onboarding practices or anything else that is creating friction for them.

App abandonment rate= (Users at the beginning of a period- Users at the end of a period)/ Users at the beginning of a period.

#5 Mobile app marketing KPIs:

There are many ways to market your mobile app, but you need to identify how effective your campaigns are. Here are some of the marketing metrics that you should keep tracking for your mobile app.

Install source:

  • Where did your customers come from?
  • Was it through a link on a few guest post articles?
  • Was it through organic search on the app store?
  • Was it through paid ads on your social media handles?

The answer to the above will help you to understand which are the most effective ways using which you get app installs.

Channel Breakdown:

This metric tells you which are the channels using which users arrive to your app. It also analyzes the kind of behaviour they show after they start using the app. Mobile apps should take cognizance of this and use the data and apply insights from it into the app.


By analyzing this metric, you will know about the revenues collected from different locations and if there are any patterns that emerge based on the location. It will also help you understand which are the areas where there is a lot of demand for a product such as yours and which are the areas that show no interest.

Virality and K factor:

It measures the popularity or word-of-mouth surrounding your mobile app marketing.

How do you measure virality?

Multiply the number of brand mentions (both paid and organic) with the corresponding conversion percentage. It is worth a mention that there is no hard-and-fast rule in calculating virality.

Cohort analysis:

You can categorize your user base into a variety of categories such as location, firmographic factors, demographics, in-app behaviours, etc. Find out if you can unearth patterns for each cohort. If so, then you will be able to have a process for clients that specifically come from this cohort.

#6 App store ranking by category:

Understanding and analyzing where your app is succeeding or is it at fault can help in growing it exponentially. There are a lot of factors that are responsible for the app store ranking, starting from app name, keywords, ratings, user reviews, frequency of updates, app downloads, app description, and so on. You should monitor your rank over time and study how they affect your app’s performance.

Measure app performance, boost UX and become successful

The only way for you to improve your app constantly is to track your KPIs. When you have data in your hands and get a visual picture of how a particular metric performed over the past few months, you will be able to gauge what went wrong or how everything fell into place.

In this article, we have discussed six different types of mobile app KPI category. Each of these categories have subcategories and they are some of the most common metrics used to measure the performance of a mobile app. When you set up KPIs for your mobile app, ensure that they are in alignment with your business goals and are specific to your niche.

Does any of the above mobile app performance metrics hinder your success? Add them to a list and schedule a call with our expert now. Let’s discuss how you can enhance the user experience of your mobile apps.