Measure your App ROI with These Key Metrics

calculating returnMost brands would agree; measuring things is awesome. Why? Because when you have data proving that your app is working, life is good. Your investment in creating, launching and marketing a web or mobile app has been financially validated.

Proving your app's ROI is also the starting point of analyzing and improving your mobile strategy over time. Within the various measures of success, you can identify specifics that give you greater insight into your app users and how to engage them to see an even greater return. In order to do that, you need to look at certain metrics together and individually. In this post, we outline exactly what those are, and review the app areas you should be tracking for ROI.


Acquisition campaigns

When it comes to optimizing your ad return, attributing new downloads to sources is the first step, as you always want to know which channels are delivering the most initial new users.

But beyond that, there are a number of ROI measures to track to determine which campaigns were most successful, and which ad networks you should invest in further.

First, measure by campaign and source separately – by visualizing the two sets of analytics, you’ll be able to see not only which channels bring in the most, but also what content resonates across these channels. What’s successful in a Facebook ad might not work as well on another channel. Knowing this allows you to target and optimize your campaigns for maximum return.

Once you’ve highlighted the campaign and/or source, there are a number of key metrics to report on that will give you a sense of ROI in terms of revenue, usage, growth, and long-term value.

Measures of success:

  • New users
  • Sessions per user
  • Growth in new users and retention over time
  • Lifetime value of acquired users
  • Total revenue from acquired users

When tracked properly, you’ll be able to see new users acquired, how often they interact with your app, how much each user is worth in the long-term, and the total revenue gained from each source and campaign.


App marketing campaigns

Engaging users is the key to better ROI. It takes more than a well-developed app to encourage retention; you should be running in-app and push messaging campaigns to drive users back to your app using special offers, updates, rewards programs, and other notifications.

But tracking your campaigns goes beyond impressions, click-throughs and conversions (although those are still quite important). What you want to be measuring to determine ROI are a host of value and revenue based metrics on an individual customer level and on a transactional level.

Measures of customer value:

  • Number of customers
  • Average monthly value
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Revenue per customer
  • Transactions per customer

Additional measures of monetization:

  • Revenue
  • Revenue per transaction
  • Number of transactions

Using these, you can highlight distinctive aspects of ROI based on what you need to know when. Not only does it give you a complete picture, but also each metric might be of more value to different members of your organization. Having these on hand to report can help identify gaps; if you’re succeeding according to one, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a high overall ROI.

You can also filter these results by various dimensions according to what interests you most:

You can measure by these dimensions (and more):

  • Timeline
  • Campaign
  • Source
  • Medium
  • Retention
  • Platform
  • Location

This gives you granular insight into which users are driving revenue according to certain attributes. Knowing more about your users and their qualities means you can further optimize with more targeted data backing up your strategy.


In-app purchases or other natural conversion behavior

These metrics are also highly applicable to natural conversion behavior happening within your app. You can measure the lifetime value of your users across the dimensions that mean the most to you. How many iOS users from Europe use the apps 3+ times per week and make at least one purchase each month? Which app version users are converting more regularly on this automated push messaging campaign? Answering these questions will lead you to a definitive understanding of your ROI.

Knowing this doesn’t just highlight your current app ROI, but also identifies for you opportunities to improve engagement and repeat success, especially when it comes to capitalizing on natural behavior with a new marketing campaign. Sometimes, that’s exactly where the best ideas come from! To have a strong growth plan in place, you need to be able to pinpoint what’s working and what can be built on.