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Set the right KPIs for insights from mobile apps

We are in the year of mobile. In recent years, the rapid rise in smartphone and tablet adoption, coupled with the exponential multiplication of mobile apps in the market, has started to draw in a remarkable amount of ad investments from marketers. According to telecoms research provider Ovum, the mobile app market will chart a greater growth over the next four years than it has since its inception eight years ago.

When it comes to ecommerce, mobile is no longer just an option but rather the primary device used for the online shopping process – be it researching for a product or purchasing a product or service. According to Juniper Research, mobile devices will account for 30 per cent of global retail ecommerce spending by 2018. Mobile apps in particular have evolved to become users’ first touch point with a brand and a way to build customer relationships and loyalty. In fact, eMarketer reports that consumers are expected to spend three hours and 15 minutes per day using apps in 2016. While this new source of customer data can promise a wealth of insights for marketers, those who lack the knowledge of how to use data on mobile app usage may fall behind their competitors.

At the peak of this transformation, it is essential as a marketer to understand the data gleaned from mobile apps. To ensure the success of your mobile app, which KPIs should you focus on to best acquire, engage and retain users?

Forget about standard KPIs. What about creating your own custom KPIs?
Marketers may be familiar with standard KPIs for mobile apps, such as number of downloads, which can be generally relevant for measuring performance. However, marketers should be wary of focusing solely on number of downloads, since users can easily remove the app from their phones or tablets after downloading. It’s therefore a good idea to go beyond basic performance KPIs in order to find real insights that are truly representative of an app’s success.
This is where segmentation and custom KPIs can be useful: marketers can hone in on their data and extract more precise insights for better decision-making.

Imagine taking a common metric like time spent on the app per visit, and cross-referencing it with data about which visits actually convert and make a purchase. By combining this information and creating a custom KPI, you can determine whether users who stay longer on your mobile app tend to end up purchasing. If that is the case, one possible strategy could be to retain users on the app for a longer period with suggested products or additional information on products. By comparing different customer segments based on specific custom KPIs, you can achieve more meaningful and targeted insights.

Social media KPIs: The signs of virality
As more resources are spent on online and social marketing, a more possibly revealing indicator of app performance is social media metrics. Ratings, comments or rankings of an app can determine not only the app’s audience reach, but also its impact on that audience.

Social media sharing was introduced to allow users to add a personal element to the way they use the app and develop their own convention for sharing on their preferred social media sites. If the app has an option for social shares, such as links to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, marketers can track any new users that have come to know about the app through those links. Measuring the interesting things that users do with the apps via social media can also help point marketers to new behaviours or functions that could be incorporated in the new version.

KPIs based on your business model
Mobile apps use different monetisation models depending on the type of industry and the customer activity on the app. Implementing the right KPIs based on the business model is essential in obtaining the right insights.

Marketers working with an m-commerce model would be interested in improving sales, profits, brand image and loyalty. As such, tracking conversions, add-to-basket and abandon rates would provide the right insights to improve app performance. Compare this with apps based on mobile advertising, whose KPIs would focus more on measuring ad impressions.

Having the right KPIs in place is the first step in helping marketers build a strategy for apps that engage and retain customers. And in order to measure your progress on those KPIs, you’ll need a digital analytics solution offering app analytics features. App analytics will help you track your performance for the specific KPIs you choose and achieve accurate insights about user behaviour. You’ll then be able to optimise the user experience offered by your mobile app for greater engagement and long-term user retention.

Fai-Keung Ng

Fai-keung Ng is a digital marketing and analytics leader with over 14 years of global work experience in the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and Germany. Before joining AT Internet, where he is the Regional Director, Southeast Asia, he worked with Yahoo for over eight years and was one of the early practitioners of performance marketing, having launched the sponsored search solution for Yahoo’s international markets in EMEA and APAC from 2005-2008. After moving to Singapore, his responsibilities spread across all facets of Yahoo’s business in Southeast Asia. He joined AT Internet in June 2014, where he manages and executes the Southeast Asia business plan with full responsibilities of Sales, Consulting, Marketing, Operations, HR, Legal, etc. for this region. At the global level, Fai is one of the key members of the product committee driving AT Internet’s product development.