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    15 Mobile App KPIs that Actually Matter 2020


    This post was originally published in Feb 2018 and 14,000 people read it! We decided to give it a refresh, to bring it into 2020! 

    You developed a mobile app and it is now LIVE on the App Store and Google Play, congratulations! Now, it is time to see some measurable results and update your strategies accordingly. It is important to assess the performance and value of your app. There is a metric and KPI for almost everything. We’ll be looking at the ones that were important in 2018 and still are important, as well as KPIs to watch out for, for 2020. 

    Top 5 KPIs for 2020

    1. LTV

    With the boom of mobile and app marketing, as well as the granularization of data, we need to choose KPIs that relate more to the companies bottom line.

    LTV (life time value) is likely the single-most important KPI to measure gross-revenue and performance overtime

    It is easy to get caught up in downloads, CTR, impressions and session time, and these metrics are great. However, if your customers are not converting, not spending money in-app, not purchasing the premium subscription, these are all valueless interactions. Thus, LTV really helps to calculate and evaluate to sum total of your marketing and advertising efforts and helps to set realistic CPA, CPI, and other mobile advertising caps and limits.

    2. Cost of Acquisition

    This brings us to our next most important KPI. The cost of acquisition, COA. This KPI is closely linked to your LTV. COA = Cost of acquisition. 

    For example, perhaps you had a successful ad campaign, that cost $10,000, you received 50,000 downloaders and, therefore,  had a very low CPI of 20c. If you conversion to paid-subscription (acquisition) rate is .005% then your COA would be:

    $10,000 / (50,000 x .00005)

    $10,000 / 2.5 = $4000.

    Thus, when ascertaining ad budgets, CPI caps and the effectiveness of your marketing and advertising budgets, it is important to balance COA vs how much revenue that acquisition brings. Within this multi-metric universe of 2020, bringing performance down to a few baseline revenue principles will play a key role in evaluating performance.

    3. Invalid Vs Valid Traffic

    The advertising and marketing community, catching on to the industries best-kept secret: ad fraud. Realizing ad fraud is forecasted to consume 44% of ad traffic in 2020, and cost marketers $100 million per day in 2022. Thus, savvy marketers are realizing that tackling ad fraud is an easy way to get ahead of the competition, as all sectors, and digital ad formats are affected. Ad fraud not only affects advertiser’s budgets, but most importantly, their important KPIs such as in-app purchases, LTV, and other important conversion points. Why? Because fake traffic doesn’t convert (unless programmed to by expertly SDK spoofers).

    Thus, a KPI to watch for in 2020, is how much valid vs invalid traffic you are getting. Watch this, and you will see your genuine KPIs improve greatly, through only spending budget towards genuine users.

    As ad fraud is forecasted to grow to 44% in 2020, managing this invalid traffic will be paramount. Source: Interceptd.


    4. Retention Rate (RR)

    This is an important KPI for apps, especially for the gaming category and is related to user loyalty. Retention rate shows the number of users who return or continue using your app after a certain number of days post-install. Latest stats by App Annie states that 2% is the average retention rate for 90-period days. With many companies paying an exorbitant amount for advertising and installs, retention rate will play a vital role in 2020. 

    Due to the increasing competition of apps, greater capability of phones and decreased attention span, retaining users is becoming increasingly difficult and will be an important KPI in 2020 and beyond. 

    Retention Rate = ((CE – CN) / CS)) X 100

    CE = number of customers at the end of a period
    CN = number of new customers acquired during the period
    CS = number of customers at the start of a period

    Thus, in 2020, attention rate, coupled with usual KPIs such as CPI, CTR, and LTV is going to be paramount to checking the performance marketing efforts and how well your product is resonating in the market.

    5. Uninstalls

    The current industry averaged of uninstall rates is 28% after 30 days. Why is uninstall is more important than tracking your installs? Because we naturally gravitate towards monitoring our successes. Thus, we can often form blindspots to our weaknesses or failings. Thus, it is important to make a conscious effort to track uninstalls. If you track these, you can make a more educated guess as to the uninstall cause.

    Does uninstall follow a pattern? Perhaps uninstalls peak at 2 minutes post-install. This might indicate an onboarding issue. Are RPG gamers the highest uninstallers? Then you should probably advertise to a different genre of gamer. Did you have a high-peak of uninstalls recently? check your latest update and see if there are any bugs. Track these to find out the pain point of your app and marketing efforts to optimize accordingly.

    Oldie but a Goodie – Timeless KPIs that Still Matter in 2020

    These KPIs mattered in 2018 when we first wrote this article. Some KPIs were ingenious inventions, and thus, stand the test of time. The following are KPIs that mattered in 2018 and will still matter in 2020.


    It is one of the keystone mobile app marketing KPIs for mobile apps. Everything begins with the very first download. If you do not know your download rate other mobile app performance metrics will not be important. And all other KPI metrics are built upon it. App download number is the popularity indicator. The more the mobile app is downloaded, the more it gets popular.

    7. Reach vs. Impressions

    Impression is no longer a sustainable metric to measure brand awareness or volume of your ad campaigns. Why? Because the impression is counted even if your ad is not viewed. If it is simply loaded on the screen, however, if the user does not scroll down low-enough to reach your ad, it is still counted as an impression. However, be careful, as the names of these KPIs vary from platform to platform. For example, Facebook measures reach as the number of unique people who viewed your content, whereas Twitter uses this same definition for impression, rather than reach. Tricky!

    8. Brand Awareness

    It is related to the impression rate belonging to different platforms. How many times does your mobile app appear in the search results and different social platforms? The more it is seen on platforms, the better brand awareness your mobile app has.

    Engagement KPIs for Mobile Apps

    These KPIs for mobile apps give you insight into how, when, where and in which ways users engage with your app.

    9. App Open Rate (Sessions)

    It is related with the sticky users to your app. This kind of mobile app engagement metrics shows loyalty to your app. The session is the basic measurement for app engagement which means a specified period of time that a user with a unique IP address interacts with an app. The more sessions users generate, the more sticky users you have.

    10. Session Length

    Session length means the amount of time the user spends on each session. It is better to have users who spend more time on your app. However, you need to analyze session length whether it is not related to any crash.

    11. Session Interval

    Session interval means the time length between sessions. How often do your users visit your app? Generally, shorter session interval is better. Before interpreting it, think on the tie between your app and particular time/event. If timely events are not necessary for the visit, shorter session intervals may be a useful mobile marketing KPI for you.

    12. Churn Rate

    Churn rate shows the number of users who stop using an app within a given period. It is the opposite of the retention rate. The lower churn rate is a good indicator of a healthy mobile app. As you can find it by subtracting your retention rate from 1, the formula below gives you the result:

    Churn Rate = (CL/(CS + CN)) X 100
    CL = number of customers who left
    CS = number of customers at the start of a period
    CN = number of new customers acquired during the period

    Revenue Metrics for Mobile Apps

    Here is another type of metric showing how to measure mobile app performance. Of course, you want to gain money from your app. These mobile app marketing KPIs show you how profitable your app is and how it’s generating revenue.

    13. Daily Active Users

    As it is understood from its name, it indicates the number of users on a daily basis. This is one of the valuable mobile advertising metrics that can lead you to do your marketing in previously selected time periods. According to the feature of your app, there might be a pattern showing which days the number of daily users is less and more.

    14. User Growth Rate

    It shows the growth rate of the number of users within a given period or throughout the timeline. It indicates whether the growth rate is slow, steady or high. By analyzing this mobile app performance metric, you can explore the reasons such as advertisement activities or pricing campaigns.

    15. Average Revenue Per User

    This is one of the mobile marketing metrics that shows the average amount of revenue generated per user. There would be several monetization methods such as in-app purchases, paid downloads or ad clicks. By multiplying the total number of users, you can figure out the total revenue.  Lifetime Revenue / Number of Users

    3 Bonus KPIs

    Customer Acquisition Cost

    It shows the amount of cost of acquiring a new customer.

    This is one of the valuable mobile advertising metrics because to gain new customers, you need to spend on several actions including advertising on social platforms or search engines, attending an event, hiring a content writer and other marketing costs. 

    Total Gross Revenue / Sales & Marketing Cost

    Conversion Rate

    Conversion rate shows the rate that your goal is met and it is one of the most beneficial mobile marketing metrics. While conversion means any desired action, the conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. There are two conversion rates: Organic and Paid.

    The organic conversion rate is the rate of conversion through unpaid discovery. It embraces organic search, related apps listing in the app store, word of mouth, influencer marketing. If any of them let your app being found, that’s an organic conversion.
    The paid conversion rate is the rate of conversion through paid discovery. It embraces PPC advertising, social media ads, sponsored posts or any other paid marketing activities.

    Return On Investment

    We couldn’t end this article without the ultimate “oldie but a goodie” the all-important ROI.

    It measures the amount of revenue generated per any given cost (or investment). As we come into 2020, and the variety and number of channels, platforms, and ad formats only increase, it is important to continue to track ROI. This, is so you can ascertain the most effective channels, ad formats, and platforms to funnel your budget into.

    ROI is calculated by; (Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment

    Want to learn more?

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