11 Ways To Ensure
A Successful App Launch

To the masses, it may seem like successful apps just pop up one day and achieve magnificent success without much effort. However, anyone who has ever launched an app before knows the truth – a successful app launch takes serious work and getting people to your app is not easy.

While a great app idea may start at a hackathon, most apps aren’t built overnight… or in a week… or within a month. According to a study by Goodfirms, it takes an average of 3-5 months to fully build out and launch a mobile app. Why does it take so long? An app launch doesn’t just rely on how quickly your app developers can code it – but also includes many other steps like customer research, concept validation, pre-launch marketing, and more.

To build a successful startup and experience a strong app launch, there are many factors that need to be in place before, during and after you push your app to the app stores. If you’re just starting development today, you’ve got at least 90 days to get everything together before launching. In this guide, we’ll guide you through each step that you need to take as you approach the day of your app launch.

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Phase I – 90 Days Before Your App Launch

Three months before the official day of your app launch, you should already be setting the foundation for a strong launch. More specifically, you should be focused on validating your app idea and laying the groundwork for your marketing and branding.

Validate Your Assumptions

Before taking on the expensive journey of building a new piece of software, it is critical to validate your concept; proving that there is actually a market experiencing a specific problem, and that your product is the solution that the market is looking for to solve that problem. Not every app startup will change the world like Facebook or Uber, but there are thousands of highly successful apps that simply solve a small problem for a large number of users.

True market disruption comes when a founding team creates an app that solves a problem that no other solution exists for. However, you don’t have to be the first to market to succeed as an app startup, you just need to solve the problem better or more effectively than other competing solutions. Consider how some of our favorite apps solve our largest problems:

  • Uber solved transportation problems for citizens, making it easier to procure a ride without waiting on a taxi. Furthermore, Uber made it simple for the average person to earn extra income by monetizing their automobile and free time.  
  • AirBnb simplified the property booking process by giving easy access to short-term rental options outside of the traditional hotel. Furthermore, it made it easy for property owners to earn an income without a long-term tenant, by monetizing their property through the platform.
  • Tinder didn’t solve a new problem. Online sites like Match were already leading the market – but they were expensive to use and was a huge commitment for the average person looking to casually date. Tinder made it easy for singles to mingle with other singles by literally bringing dating right to their fingertips. A simple swipe of the screen can generate a new dating relationship without the huge monthly commitment of other dating solutions.

Believing that your concept is the best solution for your market isn’t enough. Your ‘belief’ can quickly lead you to blowing through your development budget only to find that your audience doesn’t believe in your solution as much as you do. There’s something that’s better than great assumptions – validation through real data. No matter what, you will validate your app – you’ll either validate it early on, or you’ll use all of your resources to build it and then validate that there is a major flaw when no one downloads it. Successful apps are able to validate their assumptions early on and pivot where necessary to ensure that they are building the type of solution that is truly in demand by users experiencing a specific problem.

There are several ways to validate an app idea, including:

  1. Smoke Tests – The purpose of a smoke test is to determine buyer intent as cheaply as possible. In practice, a smoke test gives the impression that there is a product to be purchased, even when the product hasn’t actually been built yet. An example of a smoke test could be a landing page that explains the functionality of an app, displays several design screens and allows users to ‘purchase’ a subscription. The ‘smoke’ part of the test is that there is no product to be purchased, because it doesn’t yet exist. This allows startups to test how many people would be interested in the application if it already existed; giving them immediate clarity on whether it is worth it to go forward in building out their app concept. Smoke tests can be built and executed rather inexpensively, but can provide an incredible amount of insight to make your app launch more successful.
  2. Crowdfunding – Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo give startups the opportunity to pre-sell their product or service and raise the funds to build it. Pre-selling is a great way to prove demand for your app before it’s official launch. App startups that are able to crowdfund successfully have an additional advantage since they are usually able to generate enough capital to build at least an initial minimal viable product (see below), are able to build strong brand awareness, and are able to sign up thousands of customers months before their app launch.
  3. Minimal Viable Product (MVP) – Launching a minimal viable product is another excellent method for proving your concept and validating your assumptions on all aspects of your application. A minimal viable product is a stripped down version of the product that only includes enough features to satisfy early users. In terms of apps, a MVP will be a real and launched application, but stripped down to only its core features. This allows developers and app startups to launch their software quicker and with a smaller budget, but be able to attract early adopters in order to generate insights and feedback. Instead of spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a full-featured app that may or may not succeed in the market, an MVP only includes very few features to test interest and usage behavior before developing further features.

Lay The Groundwork for Branding & Marketing

Marketing is critical to the success of any startup, and you don’t actually need a launched product to start communicating with your audience and building brand awareness. If your plan is to wait until your app is already on the market before you decide to begin building the foundation for your branding and marketing, you will be seriously behind the ball on the day of your app launch.

Ninety days before your app launch, take the following steps to build a strong branding and marketing foundation:

  • Buy a domain and launch your website: At some point, your app will need a website, and the sooner you launch a site that explains the features of your upcoming app, the quicker you can start building up anticipation from potential users. A website for your app gives you many benefits – you can offer pre-registration, showcase demos of your application, generate feedback and use it to launch a content marketing campaign. Furthermore, setting it up early ensures that you align your app name and website domain.
  • Create all your social media handles: Marketing through social media is one of the most effective ways for app startups to reach their audiences. Lay the foundation by creating all of your social media handles on the various social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, and others. Even if you don’t think you’ll use a certain platform, having your app’s handle there ensures that if you ever change your mind, you will already own the appropriate handles.
  • Become part of the community: If you know exactly who your target audience is, it isn’t hard to find them. In many cases, your audience has probably already organized itself into a community on a platform like Facebook, LinkedIn or Reddit. Become active in these communities and groups; but don’t start immediately advertising your app and annoying everyone. Instead, engage with them – answer their questions, get in on the action, learn about their likes and dislikes, and identify their complaints about your competitors. These groups are a highly valuable source of market research, and after you establish yourself as an expert; advertising your solution will be perceived as an expert recommendation instead of an annoyance.

Phase II – 30 Days Before Your App Launch

If you’ve been building your app according to lean startup principles, you should have some core product built for testing with early adopters – even before the full app that will be launched to the public is completely developed. Thirty days before your initial launch, you want to start testing your software to validate your assumptions and kicking off your marketing plan. Here are several steps that should be taken a month before your app launch date.

Submit MVP To The App Store

Even though your full-version app may not be ready, you should still submit your minimal viable product (core-features only) to the appropriate app stores. Be sure to take a look at all the guidelines for both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store to make sure your app meets their submission guidelines.

Why submit your app 30 days in advance? There’s a chance that your app may get rejected by either store. If this happens, you’ll have a 30 day buffer to make the necessary changes and get it resubmitted before your app launch date arrives.

Invite Beta Users For Testing

After your app has been successfully submitted to the appropriate app stores, launch it in beta – an initial private launch that allows only invited guests to access, download and use the application. Fortunately, both app stores (Google and Apple) allow developers to invite users to test their apps before officially launching it.

Don’t launch your app without beta testing it first. A beta test is basically a dry run that allows you to test each feature, discover any bugs, and gain valuable feedback from your users. Furthermore, it will help you identify any final improvements you need to make before the official launch and will help you earn some initial reviews.

How do you find initial beta users to invite? If you’ve completed the previous steps, you’ll already be in the right position – you will have a list of pre-registered users from your website, as well as an expert presence in several communities and groups. People who need your solution will be more than happy to be invited as a beta user, you just have to let them know that the opportunity exists.

Kickstart Marketing Activities

What does a failed app launch look like? It’s when you’re anticipating your launch for a whole month, and then on the day you launch, not a single user downloads your app. It can be a depressing day for those who are not prepared. Due to this, it is essential that you kick off your app marketing activities early on to start building up brand awareness and anticipation throughout your market. Here are three marketing activities you can focus on thirty days before your app launch:

  1. Create Marketing Materials: Ideally, you want to have strong marketing assets ready to go on the day of your app launch. It takes time and effort to optimize a marketing campaign for ideal conversion, and time will be wasted if you wait until the day of your app launch to start producing your marketing materials. Focus on high converting assets like the content for your app’s website landing page and creating engaging promotional or explainer videos that will draw interest from consumers.
  2. Develop and Market Your Content: Many app startups fail to take advantage of one of the most effective marketing strategies out there – content marketing. Developing great content has two major advantages. First, it allows you to establish your brand as a leading industry expert. Second, if optimized correctly, content can help you rank for important keywords on search engines like Google, which can drive organic and free traffic directly to your application.
  3. Optimize Your App Store Listing: According to Forrester, 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches. Just like ranking on Google, ranking highly in the app store can bring significant traffic at no cost. Optimize your app listing using ASO best practices to ensure that potential users can find your app when they are looking for a great solution.

Phase III: 7 Days Before Your App Launch

A week before your app launch, you want to start building anticipation amongst your audience. When users are excited about a new app release, they will rush to download it as soon as they are able to. Facebook, for example, first launched to a single university, and slowly spread university to university. Each university knew when it was coming and students anticipated the day that they could join in on the platform that all of their friends at other universities were talking about. As soon as Facebook opened up to a university, it was quickly adopted by a large portion of that school’s student population.

Likewise, you want to build anticipation for your application and get the word out that your app launch is coming soon. Here are a few ways to start spreading the buzz about your upcoming app launch:

Build Strong Media Relationships

One of the quickest and most effective ways to gain the trust of an audience is to gain the trust of people that they trust. Sure, you can acquire customers by persuading them one-by-one; but media and influencer relationships allow you to immediately reach pre-existing networks with the backing of a credible source. Building strong media relationships can be a difficult task, and it takes some practice to learn how to reach out to influencers and journalists successfully. Many businesses choose to hire Public Relations agencies who already have contacts so they can gain coverage sooner. Whether you hire a PR agency or choose to do it yourself, here are a few tips to getting your app mentioned by the right people, shortly before the day of your app launch:

  • Contact Influencers –Look for individuals that influence your market; whether they are on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or anywhere else. An influencer is someone who possesses enough power to sway the purchase decisions of individuals who follow them. ‘The Oprah Effect’ for example, is a phrase that was coined to explain the influence that Oprah Winfrey had over her viewers for the last couple of decades. A simple mention on her show immediately transformed never-before-heard-of businesses into multi-million dollar brands. Maybe you can’t reach Oprah, but there are thousands of influencers out there from social media influencers to published industry leaders. Identify who these influencers are in your industry. They may not have millions of followers, but even someone that can influence several dozen people to try out your app may be valuable to your mission. Contact them and introduce them to your software. Offer them a free trial or invite them to your beta, and ask them for their feedback. If they like it, they may mention your app on their blog, podcast, youtube video, or even just share it with their social media following – providing you with valuable exposure.
  • Pitch Your Brand Story To Journalists – Brands need their stories exposed, and journalists are always looking for great stories to write about. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship between entrepreneurs and the media. However, a great story has to really be extraordinary – nobody really cares about a new app that no one has ever heard of. Instead, find the parts of your story that really matters. Do you have a fantastic founder story or some never-before-seen industry data that would be interesting to those in your industry? Find the angles that give the most light to your business and pitch it to journalists that write for the publications that your audience read. The amount of exposure you can get a week before your app launch will directly relate to the number of downloads you can expect on the day you launch.
  • Showcase Your Expertise With Guest Posts – Many blogs also often look for new and interesting content that they can expose to their audiences. Identify which blogs are most popular among your market, and offer to provide an expert article to that blog. By guest posting articles on popular blog sites, you can directly reach large established networks that may have been impossible to reach previously.

Setup Analytics and Tracking Software

The day of your app launch, you’ll need to start measuring KPIs and tracking app metrics to analyze how your software is performing. Without the right software in place, you will be unable to collect the metrics needed to optimize your strategy and progress the success of your application. There are many metrics that can be tracked, and here are some awesome analytical tools that you can use to measure your app’s performance:

  1. Flurry is an analytics tool that allows you to measure how many users you have, what actions they are taking when using your app, and what pages they are dropping off at. Furthermore, Flurry provides a report any time there is an error or crash; and allows you to track revenue, sales, events and other important metrics.
  2. Apple App Analytics is Apple’s developer analytics tool. This tool offers in-depth reports on the performance of your app store listing, gives you an overview of your user engagement metrics and provides detailed reports on crashes and bugs.
  3. App Annie allows you to easily access an in-depth analysis about your app’s performance over any period. You can measure unique metrics like the performance of your keywords, your position on store charts, cross-app usage and much more.

In addition to your app tracking software, it’s also a good idea to make sure you are subscribed to and setup with all relevant marketing software as well. If you’re using apps like Mailchimp, Squarespace, Buffer, Unbounce, ActiveCampaign or another marketing software, ensure that your subscriptions are up to date and that your marketing materials (like email marketing scripts) are already put together and ready to send.

Decide On A Monetization Strategy

Apps can be expensive to grow over the long run. While some app startups turn to investors for funding, many successful app startups are able to sustain their initial growth through earned revenue. How much you charge for your product or service – and how you charge – depends on what your app is, how it works, and how much your audience is willing to pay. For example:

  • Minecraft and Afterlight are successful apps that charge up-front for full access to the application.
  • Headspace and Evernote rely on a subscription model, requiring users to pay a monthly fee to access and operate the software.
  • Fortnite and Pokemon Go rely on in-app purchases to earn revenue and monetize their users.
  • Social media sites like Facebook don’t charge anything to users, but instead, charge advertisers to promote ads directly to their users.

According to statistics however, the most successful model for most apps is the freemium model. With this monetization approach, users are able to access a basic version of the application for free; but if they want to access additional features, they must upgrade to a premium monthly subscription. This model allows developers and app entrepreneurs to capture a broad audience and transform a handful of these free users into paid customers.

For more information about monetizing your mobile app, check out the article, “How To Identify The Most Profitable App Business Model”.

Phase IV: The Day Of Your App Launch

One of the most important days as an app entrepreneur is the day of your app launch. If you’ve taken the proper steps so far, you will start receiving downloads immediately. The day of your app launch, there are two major steps you should take – announcing your launch and measuring your app metrics.

Announce The Launch of Your App

Remember a month ago when you started interacting in different social communities and built a widespread email list of interested consumers? Today is the day you can finally take advantage of the relationships you have built. Announce the launch of your app on your social media pages and send an email out to your list. Remind them of the benefits of your application and provide them with a link where they can access your software immediately.

Furthermore, send out a press release and a link to your app to reporters and influencers that you have built relationships with. Invite them to download the application and encourage them to share it with their audience. Influencers have power, and this power can give you a major advantage. Offer influencers an incentive to check out your app; maybe consider giving them free access to a premium package or some initial credits for in-app purchases.

There is much benefit in driving traffic on day one. Apps with promising traction can end up in the “New and Noteworthy” or “Trending Apps” categories; making it quickly visible to millions of users.

Start Analyzing Your App Metrics

Since you have already decided which metrics you need to track and have setup the right software to do so; now you need to start actually analyzing these metrics. At minimum, on day one you should begin measuring your number of downloads, active users and engagement metrics like Daily Active Users, Monthly Active Users and Number of Sessions Per Day.

Furthermore, stay in tune with customer feedback and seek to quickly identify any bugs, crashes or weaknesses on your app. Users can be unforgiving towards an inconsistent app that is heavy with bugs. Software isn’t always perfect, but quickly identifying and fixing any bugs will be critical to establishing an exceptional user experience.

Phase V: App Success For The Long-Term

Assuming you’ve accomplished each of the previous steps, you will now have a strong foundation for a successful mobile app. The final step is to grow your user base and scale frequently; converting users into paying customers and earning a substantial profit. But how do you get there? Here’s a couple tips:

  1. Analytics Tell The Real Story – Your app metrics will always give you the real story on how well your app is performing. Just having downloads isn’t enough – over time, it’s also important that you know how well you are converting these users into customers, how much each customer is worth, what your Net Promoter Score is, cost per acquisition and more. The more that you understand your app metrics, the better you will understand your users; and the more you understand your users, the better you will be able to deliver them the most effective solution.
  2. Keep Your Users Happy– Always pay attention to what users are saying about your app in your reviews, on social media, and online. Sometimes you will have an unhappy customer (or ‘detractor’) that may say negative things about your solution. Every app has a few dissatisfied customers, but if you see a pattern of many users complaining about the same thing then it may be a sign that you need to quickly make changes to better serve them.
  3. Never Stop Promoting – Always continue to improve and optimize your marketing campaigns. Continue building strong relationships with influencers and media; continue to interact with consumers on social media; and continue to optimize each technique for better performance. As you scale, your marketing strategy will become even more important.

The day of your app launch will either be a major success or a major failure, but if you follow these tips effectively, you can almost ensure that you will receive at least some positive traction on your first day of app launch.

The first step to launching an app is actually building one, and we’d love to help! Our team of startup experts and app developers know exactly what it takes to bring your idea to life. Contact us to setup a free consultation today!

Want To Learn More About Building A Successful App Startup? Check out these articles:

The Most Important App Metrics
To Track For Startup Success

The great baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” While this lesson is applicable across almost any area of life – it’s especially critical in app development. Here’s the caveat; while an end goal is of critical importance, what is equally as important is being able to track the performance of this goal so that you clearly understand whether you are actually moving closer to that goal or pushing further away from it. While tracking performance for most businesses can be challenging for many businesses, app startups have an advantage – tracking app metrics is quite simple if you know what to track and what to look for. 

Unfortunately, many apps fail and there are definitely more failures than successes. Successful startups heavily assess the metrics associated with their application so that if something isn’t performing as expected, they can catch it quickly and bring it up to par. For many ‘failed’ apps, only a few numbers are given consideration – especially traffic and revenue. While these factors can give some insight into an app’s performance, high traffic and revenue alone doesn’t mean your app is succeeding. Consider these scenarios and whether they truly identify a successful startup situation:

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  • App “A” receives 50,000 new downloads every month, but only 1% of them visit the app a second time.
  • App “B” earns $100,000/month in revenue; more than most app startups. However, they spend $110,000/month on advertising.
  • App “C” has a download rate of 20,000 users per month to it’s free version, but almost no subscriptions to it’s premium versions.

Are these apps successful? They are if you only consider traffic and/or revenue, but when considering other variables, it is obvious that neither of these examples are sustainable over the long term – and maybe not even over the short term.

The key to ensuring that your app is performing successfully is to track the right KPIs; constantly checking them to make sure that you are reaching the right objectives. Why are app metrics important, specifically?

  1. They can help you identify opportunities to improve your software or strategy.
  2. They can help you identify when your strategy is not performing up to par.
  3. They give you a historical representation of whether you are experiencing growth over a specified period of time.

In the following article, we will take a look at which app metrics are most important over each stage of the software development and launch process.

When Should You Track App Metrics?

There are many different types of app metrics that can be tracked, but knowing when to track each metric is as important as knowing which metrics to track. Some metrics are better tracked during the launch stage, while others are more important during the growth and scale stages.

  1. Launch: This stage is the beginning of the app journey when an app is just released to the market. In this phase, metrics can help you prove your concept, identify new opportunities, and catch potential weaknesses in your application.
  2. Growth: This stage represents the time when an app concept has already been proven and the developer is seeking to retain and monetize their users. Metrics here can help you improve engagement and improve the lifetime value of each customer.
  3. Scale: In this stage, metrics allow the developer to improve their brand image and compete better in the marketplace.

Launching With The Right App Metrics

Once your minimal viable app has been created and launched to the app store, there are three app metrics you should be especially focused on to make sure that you are on track with your marketing and executional assumptions:

Number of Downloads

The number of downloads or installs you receive provides immediate feedback on how well your app is performing in the market. If you are receiving many downloads, or many downloads relative to your marketing efforts, then you know you are on the right track. Very few (or zero) downloads likely suggests that something is flawed in your marketing strategy, your app description, or your assumption of the customer problem.

According to CBInsights, approximately 14% of apps that fail do so as a result of poor marketing. Knowing how to advertise an app is key to achieving a high number of downloads. If a lack of marketing is holding you back from reaching users, here are a few techniques you can implement to improve your number of downloads:

  • App Listing Optimization: In many cases, apps can fail because they don’t express the benefits of the solution well enough to users. While marketing an app is critical to its growth and success, statistics show that 63% of users discover a new app through the app store. Consistently optimizing and A/B testing your app listing will allow you to slowly perfect your listing for best performance.
  • Paid Advertising: Paying for ads through platforms like Facebook is an easy way to drive targeted traffic directly to your application. With millions of users, these advertising platforms allow you to reach consumers from your exact demographic and generate new downloads. The caveat is, ads can be expensive for a startup – especially if they aren’t optimized for best performance. Like app listings, it is critical to constantly test, optimize and improve your ads for best performance and lowest cost.
  • Referral Marketing: An extremely effective method for getting new users to your application is to tap into the network of any current users. Dropbox, for instance, offered extra storage to users that invited their associates to sign up. By employing similar referral strategies, you can acquire more users faster and for a fraction of the cost. Furthermore, this type of marketing adds in an extra layer of buyer confidence – since the referral is coming directly from someone they know and trust, they are more likely to respond positively.

User Retention

App downloads relate to how well you are able to attract users to your application, but does not measure how successful you are in engaging those users. The level of user retention on the other hand, will give you a better understanding as to whether the users you attracted actually return to the app after their first use. According to Loyalytics, across every industry, the average app only retains 20% of its users after a period of 90 days.

How is user retention defined? Usually, it is defined as the number of users that return the app at least one time within 30 days or one month.

If user retention is low, this means that while people are downloading your app, something is causing them to abandon it. Statistically, 1 in 4 users abandon an app after only opening it once. This can be for one of many reasons – maybe the app was too difficult for them to navigate; maybe they simply forgot about it; or maybe, the app just doesn’t solve their problem the way they expected.

The first step to improving this app metric is to identify why users aren’t returning. Furthermore, these steps will help you improve your user retention:

  1. Improve The Onboarding Experience: Consider the process that a user will experience as they download, install and use your app. Is it simple to understand? Does it have a familiar navigation? App users have very limited patience – if they don’t understand your software right away, it’s very likely that they will abandon it. Make sure that users understand exactly how to use your app – whether it be through user videos, an initial tutorial, or a strong FAQ section that answers their usage questions.
  2. Implement Push Notifications: App users don’t just use a single app, and in some cases, they may use several apps to accomplish the same goal. Even if your app perfectly suits their need, they may not have realized its effectiveness at first exposure. They may have even forgotten that they downloaded the app – or may have planned to come back, but never did. In any case, push notifications can remind users to come back and give your app another chance. However, push notifications can become annoying to users if they are overused; and if misused, can be a surefire way to ensure that a visitor deletes your app immediately. Use push notifications only on rare occasion, and consider how receptive your users may be to these notifications before launching them.
  3. Retarget With Ads: A less intrusive way to regain the attention of users that have abandoned your application is to use retargeting ads – ads through Google and Facebook (among other platforms) that allow you to directly reach individuals who have downloaded your app, but have not returned since their initial visit.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Outside of making an app go viral to receive organic traffic, it is likely that any long term customer acquisition strategy will come at some cost. Likely, you will need to engage in a combination of paid marketing techniques to promote your app and draw in new users.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) refers to the amount that must be spent to acquire a single user.

CPA is an extremely important app metric – if the cost to acquire a customer is higher than the value of that customer, you may quickly find your startup falling into the financial red zone. By tracking cost per acquisition per marketing channel, it is simple to identify which of your marketing efforts are performing well, and which ones are too costly for the business to sustain.

There is no quick fix to improving your CPA; however, every marketing channel needs to be optimized for best performance. As you optimize your marketing strategy to perform more effectively, you will slowly begin to reduce your CPA until it is optimal for your specific business. The optimal CPA for any business is one that is lower than the value of the customer that has been acquired. A business that earns a revenue of $1 per customer cannot sustain a CPA of $5, while a business that makes $1,000 per customer would find a $5 CPA to be more than ideal for the growth of their startup.

Tracking The Growth Of Your App

Once you’re able to acquire new customers at an acceptable cost, and are able to retain those customers over several months; it is important to track how users are using your app so that you when you acquire a customer, they stay around for the long term. As you grow your application, several other important app metrics come into play, such as Stickiness Ratio, Average Session Time and Screen Views Per Session.

Stickiness Ratio

While user retention (or how many people visit the app multiple times per month) is important, an app’s Stickiness Ratio takes it a step further. Specifically, the Stickiness Ratio is formulated by first tracking two other metrics – DAU and MAU:

  • Daily Active Users (DAU) refers to the number of users who visit your app over a 24-hour period.
  • Monthly Active Users (MAU) refers to the number of users who visit your app over a 30-day or one month period.

Stickiness Ratio is calculated as the ratio of users per day in comparison to users per month – or DAU/MAU.

If an app’s stickiness ratio is at 10%, this would mean that on average, a user visits the app 3 out of 30 days. Likewise, a stickiness ratio of 90% would mean that on average, a user visits an app 27 out of 30 days.

Increasing the ‘stickiness’ of your app means transitioning users who use the app a few times a month into those who use an app multiple times per month. This can be done by improving the in-app experience, reducing bugs, offering new features, or by incentivizing users for using the app continuously throughout the month.

Average Session Time

It’s a great thing if people are signing into your app often, but the true test of how engaged your users are is how long they stay on your app when they visit. Consider an app like Snapchat, where users not only sign in often, but spend hours engaging with the application and it’s network. Popular mobile games also have long average session times – engaging the user so that they stay on for long periods of time.

There are some ways to minimally improve average session time like gamifying the experience or regularly updating with fresh content – but people stay on apps that solve their problems and command their attention. Focus on improving your solution to truly meet the need of your users and it will automatically entice them to stay on your app for a longer period of time.

Screen Views Per Session

As its name implies, this app metric refers to the average number of screens viewed during a single session. In general, the more screens that a user interacts with during each session; the more engaged they are with your application. Typically, an app with a high number of average screen views per session, will also have a high average session time and a high stickiness level.

Since screen views per session relate directly to engagement, improving this metric often comes down to delivering the features and abilities that your audience is looking for. When users find a great solution to their problem, they tend to engage more thoroughly with that solution, visit it more often, and view more screens each time they visit your app.

Bonus Tip: It’s not just about how many screens a user views, but also how they engage with those screens. Use a great heat mapping or screen recording software to gauge the user’s experience as they use your app. This type of software will give you major insight into what pages, features and screen areas are most important to your audience – and on which screens they are dropping off. Use these insights to improve on areas that are not performing well, or to create a more desirable feature list that better reflects what the user is looking for. Furthermore, this type of software can help you identify issues and bugs within your application such as app crashes, latency issues and loading speed.

Using Metrics To Scale Your App

There are also some subjective app metrics that aren’t necessarily ‘hard data’, but that can still be used to effectively improve your app software. While many metrics require you to analyze the data deeply to pull out valuable insights, these metrics provide you with the feedback you need – right from the customer’s point of view. While there are many metrics that are important in this stage, two subjective metrics that are extremely critical are App Reviews and Net Promoter Score.

App Store Reviews

There’s an old saying that goes, “The customer is always right.” Whether this is 100% true or not, there is one thing that is a definite fact – reviews from previous users will weigh heavily on a potential user’s decision to choose to download or not download your application. According to studies by Apptentive, 59% of people check an app’s reviews before downloading it. With a majority of positive reviews, customers become excited about downloading an app so that they can experience the same level of benefit as previous users. Likewise, even a single negative review can turn off a potential user if it is powerful enough to make them believe that they will meet the same fate of dissatisfaction – and if they still download and eventually realize the same fate, it is likely that they will leave an equally negative review.

As an app startup or developer, you have little direct influence on this metric. However, by paying attention to what users are saying about your app (whether positive or negative), you can get a better grasp on what is working with your application, and what needs to be fixed to suit your customer’s needs more effectively.

Even without reading reviews, your app’s star rating can equally persuade users to download or not download your app. A rating under 4 stars may have the ability to instantly convince a potential user that the app is not worth their time. Welcome all feedback about your app, whether positive or negative. The first step to optimizing your app for best performance is to know what aspects of your software are helping your users and which are hindering them from a successful and positive experience.  

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score helps businesses measure customer experience and better predict potential growth. This metric isn’t just centered around software, but is used by all types of businesses over various industries to better understand customer satisfaction.  

NPS is calculated by comparing the difference in the number of users that are considered ‘detractors’ and those considered ‘promoters’. Specifically, Net Promoter Score is calculated through the following steps:

  1. Customers are asked to rate your app/product/brand on a 10 point scale; with 1 being the lowest satisfaction score and 10 being the highest.
  2. These customers are then categorized into three groups – detractors, passives and promoters. Those who rate between 1-6 are considered detractors, or unhappy customers that can hurt your app or product through negative word of mouth. Those who rate between 7-8 are considered passives, or individuals who are relatively satisfied, but can easily be swayed to a competitive solution. Those who rate a 9 or 10 are the most loyal customers who will continue to use your app and may even refer others to download it.
  3. Calculate the percentage of those in each category. For example, if 100 users are surveyed and there are 20 detractors, 30 passives and 50 promoters; then this would calculate to 20% detractors, 30% passives and 50% promoters.
  4. Finally, NPS can be calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters (% of promoters – % of detractors). NPS is not expressed as a percentage however, but as an absolute number. In the above example from #3, the formula would look like this: 50% promoters – 20% detractors = +30 NPS

Net Promoter Score can range anywhere from -100 to +100. Any score over 0 is considered a good score; over 50 is considered an excellent score; and over 70 is considered as the best of the best. A score under 0 means that there are more people dissatisfied with your app than those that are satisfied; and more research needs to go into figuring out what your customer is really looking for to increase their satisfaction while using your application.

Making App Metrics Work For You

Having knowledge of how your app is performing is critical – however, metrics are useless if you just occasionally look at them and do nothing to improve them. Every app metric has a purpose, and understanding the purpose behind each can help you continuously improve your app for better acquisition, longer retention, longer per-session usage, more referrals and a higher satisfaction.

It’s not only important for you to understand how these metrics relate to your product, but it’s also important that you’re able to gather the right insights and deliver them to your app developers so they can translate them into code and create the features that will really drive the success of your app.

If you need help choosing the right metrics for your app or analyzing the tremendous amount of data you collect, we’d love to help! Contact us to discuss your app with one of our startup consultants to find out how to use app metrics to take your startup to the next level.

Want To Learn More About Building A Successful App Startup? Check out these articles:

ThinkLions Named As One Of The Best App Developers in Detroit!

The mobile app industry is arguably one of the most competitive industries in the world. With such intense competition, it is important to make your app stand out from the crowd. Here at TH!NKLIONS, we partner with our clients to do just that – and thats what makes us one of the best app developers in Detroit.

Our expert designers and developers work to not only efficiently develop apps but ensure the app is set up for success once launched. We are excited to announce that our hard work and transparency with clients has positioned us as a leader on the Clutch platform.

Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews site based in Washington, D.C. Their platform allows business service providers and business buyers to connect and be more successful together. Clutch conducts reviews both over the phone and online to gather details regarding the project itself, client satisfaction, and impact of the engagement. The clutch methodology ranks different service providers based on these verified client reviews, industry expertise, and overall market presence.

What are our clients saying on Clutch? Testimonials from our client reviews are highlighted below:

“They were efficient, thorough, completely transparent, and easy to work with.” – Project Coordinator, BKB Properties

“ThinkLions became our technical partner, and was instrumental in the foundation and growth of our end product.” – Founder, The Beer Exchange

“It’s useful to me to have someone that I can explain to; they get the vision, and they can get something done from it.” – Owner, Yves Couture

We currently stand as a leader on the Detroit Mobile App Development directory with an average of 5 star ratings (out of 5).  To read our clients’ full reviews, visit our Clutch profile.

Best App Developers in Detroit - ThinkLions Review

There are several reasons why our clients have ranked us as one of the best app developers in Detroit, and as one of the most effective software companies in Michigan.

First, building an app is only one piece of building a successful software startup. We don’t just understand technology – we are also an app startup consultancy agency that has helped hundreds of app entrepreneurs during the app funding and development stages. We know what it takes to get your app built, and more importantly, we know what it takes to make it succeed. From funding to fruition, and beyond, our team has helped clients around the world bring their app ideas to reality.

Second, we know that Detroit is the next center of technology, and we strive daily to position ourselves as a helping hand in the establishment and growth of the Detroit apps, software and technology scenes. Our constant push for excellence is inspired by our desire to show the world just how brilliant Detroit really is.

As one of the fastest growing tech companies in Detroit, have been ranked as:

We look forward to hearing more about what our clients have to say and our continued partnership with Clutch in 2018! If you have an app idea and are ready to bring it to life, we would love to talk to you about how we can help. Contact us to set up a free consultation today!