Key App Metrics to Track in Your App and How to Interpret Them for Design


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Remember those flip phones from the early 2000s? They were a marvel of technology back then. But imagine trying to design an engaging experience on those tiny screens with barely any buttons, that was the reality of mobile app design not too long ago. Decisions were based on intuition and limited user data.

Fast forward to today’s sleek smartphones, packed with features with potential. The way we design apps has gone through a dramatic shift. And with the introduction of the Apple iPhone in 2007, with its intuitive touchscreen interface and app store concept, advanced the era of modern mobile apps. It opened the door for design creativity, but also introduced a new challenge, designing for an entirely new user behavior. 

Now here is where data steps in. That’s because data provides a clear picture of how users are interacting with your app, uncovering hidden patterns and behaviors you might miss otherwise.

App metrics are the gold mine in this new mobile app frontier. By tracking the right ones and deciphering their meaning, you unlock a huge amount of user behavior insights. Imagine transforming design choices from educated guesses to strategic actions with the potential to skyrocket engagement, retention, and revenue. That’s the power of data-driven design.

This newfound understanding empowers you to make informed design decisions throughout the entire app development lifecycle. Let’s delve into the key app metrics you should be tracking and how to interpret them to optimize your design for success.

User Acquisition and Engagement Metrics

These key app metrics are the cornerstone of any growth marketer’s toolkit. They help reveal how effectively you’re attracting new users and nurturing them into a loyal user base. By tracking these key app metrics, you can make better decisions to optimize your marketing campaigns, identify the perfect channels to reach your target audience, and supercharge your app’s growth.

Downloads & Installs

These are the first steps of a user’s journey with your app. Track these separately to understand if users follow through with the download after finding your app store listing.

Organic Conversion Rate

The gold standard for assessing your app store optimization (ASO) efforts. Organic conversion rate measures the percentage of users who discover your app organically (through search or browsing) in the app store and convert them into installs. This metric helps you understand how effective your app title, screenshots, and descriptions are at compelling users to download without relying on paid advertising.

Click-through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate is the metric that tells you how irresistible your marketing efforts are. A high CTR signifies that your ad creatives are captivating your target audience, enticing them to click and learn more about your app. It’s a crucial metric for gauging the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, as it reveals how many people are finding your ads impossible to ignore and clicking through to your app store listing.

Daily Active Users (DAU) / Monthly Active Users (MAU)

DAU is an important metric that provides a real-time pulse of user engagement, revealing how many users interact with your app on a daily basis, while MAU offers a broader perspective on the userbase health, shedding light on the overall monthly usage patterns.

Average Session Duration

This engagement metric measures the average amount of time a single user spends within your app per session. In other words, you see how long your app is able to deliver value to your users. Short sessions might indicate a poor onboarding experience, difficulty finding value, or a lack of features that keep users engaged.

User Retention Metrics

Getting installs and new users is crucial however it is simply the start, keeping them engaged is the ultimate goal

Retention Rates

This helps you evaluate the efficiency of your ad campaigns. With retention rate you can evaluate the percentage of users who return after a set time. Strong retention signals show you’re delivering value and keeping users hooked. By analyzing your retention rate you can determine real results from fraudulent activities like fake or bot downloads or other activities that mimic real users.

Churn Rate

The flip side, churn rate shows the percentage of users who abandon your app. Pinpoint when users drop off to uncover friction points in your design.

Performance Metrics

These key app metrics provide insights into the technical health of your app, ensuring it runs smoothly and delivers a seamless user experience.

Load Times

This app metric is important to help you deliver the best experience to your users. As a business you want your app to run smoothly and fast as sluggish apps equal to losing customers. Aim for lightning-fast load times to avoid customers abandoning your app.

Crash Rates

Nothing would kill a customer’s loyalty faster than frequent crashes. Ensure to monitor this closely to pinpoint technical issues in need of a quick fix.


Not to confuse it with load time. Latency measures responsiveness of how your app responds to user interactions. Lag or delays in actions create a clunky user experience and can significantly impact engagement. To avoid this aim to optimise your app to respond in less than 2 seconds.

Now it’s one thing to cover the essential metrics and another thing to know how to translate those numbers into your app design. To help you understand we will share how we interpreted app performance metrics to improve our clients app design.


Smoov is a mobile app designed to help couples manage their finances together, both their Co-Living and shared Expenses. 

They were spending a huge amount on advertising and putting their app out there. But all their attempt were fruitless. They came to us stating their challenge: their app boasted low user engagement, indicated by short session durations and high drop-off rates during the onboarding process.

We immediately figured this meant users were abandoning the app shortly after installing it, suggesting a confusing onboarding experience. We knew we needed to leverage data to streamline Smoov’s onboarding flow and turn those frustrated users into happy, engaged couples managing their finances together.

Read the full Smoov case study here

Problem 1: Low session duration, high drop-off rates during onboarding

Data Analysis: Using analytics tools like Mixpanel and Google Analytics, we pinpoint specific steps where Smoov users abandoned the onboarding process. It highlighted confusing forms, excessive information in the signup process, long load times, or buggy navigation during onboarding.

Design Solution: 

We streamlined the onboarding experience for Smoov. Solutions included:

  • Reducing the number of fields in the signup form
  • Adding progress indicators to show completion progress during onboarding
  • Optimizing loading speeds to reduce friction points

Problem 2: Low usage of the expense tracking feature within the app

Data-driven Analysis: We investigated how users discovered the expense tracking feature. Were Smoov users guided towards it in the app’s interface? We checked user flow paths and heatmaps for clues on where users dropped off during the onboarding process for the expense tracking feature.

Design Solutions:

  • Improve discoverability of the expense tracking feature. We retouched its placement within the navigation of the Smoov app.
  • We added in-app walkthroughs designed to introduce Smoov users to the expense tracking feature.
  • Then finally we enhanced the design of the expense tracking feature itself, we made it more visually appealing for Smoov users.


Track, analyze, adjust, and repeat

Data-driven design is an ongoing conversation between you, your design, and your users. Track, analyze, adjust, and repeat with the goal being to establish a feedback loop that fuels continuous improvement and helps you build an app that exceeds expectations.

So if you seek to transform your app into a user engagement powerhouse start by identifying the most critical app metric for your business.

Testimony from Tucker CEO Smoov App

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Mark Stone

COO Insights LTD

“Tellus leo quis tincidunt quam felis ullamcorper dictum pellentesque. Tortor ultricies nisl sed tortor dictum. Mi convallis ut nulla felis. “

Mark Stone

COO Insights LTD

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