Understanding Mobile Engagement: Measurement Beyond the Download
2. Track events. Tracking installs and stopping there really doesn't tell you much about how a mobile app is actually performing. This means you may very well be wasting money if you're paying publishers for downloads. To measure app engagement and understand how it impacts the performance of your mobile marketing spend, you need to be able to track in-app "events" such as log-ins, game plays, clicks, social media shares, purchases and other actions taken within the app.
This can be done by installing a software development kit from a reputable tracking platform into your app that can capture every meaningful user action. Doing this allows you to slice and dice these metrics at a very granular level. Got a lot of installs where nobody ever logs in again? Time to look at what's going on. Is it a cumbersome log-in user interface or is the app itself just plain boring? Are people using your music app a ton but not opting to upgrade to your paid subscription packages? Maybe your app is giving too much away for free. Analyzing what happens after the download is the key to optimizing the performance (and eventually the profitability) of your app.
3. Find the right balance. While it's critical to move beyond counting downloads to get an accurate assessment of mobile app performance, at the end of the day there still needs to be a balance between quality and quantity. A highly engaging app with only 100 users still only has 100 users. At the same time, however, an app with billions of downloads and not much engagement simply means that you're really good at driving installs, but not so good at actually monetizing your app and getting any value out of all the effort that went into getting users in the first place. The best performing apps strike the right balance between quantity (downloads) and quality (attracting top-notch users that are engaged enough to share, sign up, subscribe and spend).