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KPIs for apps – optimise your Mcommerce Apps and Mobile UX

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 20 Apr, 2018
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Which KPIs will help retailers optimise their mobile apps?

Well, you've finally launched your app and like other app makers in the retail space, you are looking to increase engagement with your users and generate income. You are monitoring your downloads and sources, but is that really enough to understand your users and discover what makes them stick? Will you be able to fully optimise your app based on this information alone?Applications and KPIS

The answer is a pretty firm NO. You might be monitoring certain elements or metrics of your app, but is it really giving you the info you need? Going one step further, you need to be monitoring the right KPIs under those metrics. Because when it comes right down to it, KPIs are where the clues are at - these will guide you in optimising your app and increasing conversions.

In this post, I will focus on how you can optimise your Mcommerce apps by diving into some KPIs that matter most.

If you were a retailer, you'd want to be monitoring the metrics under Acquisition, Engagement and Outcome.

Breaking it down even further, there are scores of KPIs you can identify under each one of those umbrella metrics. Apps for retailers are a one of a kind opportunity to engage their audience and the ones that succeed have the sticky factor and deliver experiences to users that are full of value. When it comes down to it, app makers, and this applies to all verticals, need to realize that their apps are in the palms of their users every waking hour, and this opportunity must not be wasted.

This further underscores the need to be monitoring the key metrics and is a great start, to go beyond and identify those KPIs that will be provide you with the opportunity to learn how your audience engages with your app, and to refine as needed.

One powerful way of doing this is via the use of Visual App Analytics, as Appsee provides, which empowers you to take a deep dive into the user experience and behavior to not only understand the what, but also the why behind the KPIs.

Useful KPIs to optimise your App and mobile user experience

Let's take a look at the KPIs that I feel would help retailers optimize their apps and maximize the overall mobile user experience:


The acquisition of new users and how many is a metric of vital importance. By monitoring a few important KPIs in this area, you will have the information you need to optimize the process of User Acquisition. There's no doubt that a mcommerce app maker wants to acquire as many users as possible, but more importantly an app needs to gain users who are actively engaged and use your app. That being said, let's take a look at some KPIs to monitor under this important metric.

  • % of users that converted into active users

The major challenge of app makers everywhere is identifying the number of users that are considered high quality and will provide you with a solid Lifetime Value (LTV-LINK). When all is said and done, it is these users that will bring your app a constant stream of revenue, the key factor in a retailer's survival.

By monitoring the channels (such as referral, social, ad campaign, etc.) where most active users came from, you will also learn what channels you need to focus on and optimize so you can gain more active users and allocate your budget accordingly. You might want to re-target your users with other supporting ads on Facebook with discounts and other offers. The channels you identify as weak, you should consider cutting, and focus elsewhere.

The Onboarding experience is just one way which you can increase the % of active users, since it allows the app to show value and helps users understand how to use the app efficiently.

For example, you do not want to overload your first time users with too much information. Just show them what they need to get to the next step. You can see more best practices for onboarding in this article.

  • Cost per customer acquisition (CAC) of each channel

By monitoring this KPI, retailers can gauge how much they are spending to acquire each customer and allocate their marketing budget to the profitable channels. Decreasing the cost of acquiring customers while maintaining a high level of user activity is also paramount to having a successful app.

In a nutshell, it appears that LTV (Life Time Value) should be about 3 times CAC for a recurring revenue model.  All costs involved in acquiring a customer and converting them should be taken into account. For the CAC calculation, please read this post. 


Engagement covers metrics that will tell you what percentage of users stick with your app after downloading, user flow, how much time they spend on each screen, and what actions they take, among others. Below are a few KPIs you should focus on:

  • User Retention -  By Monitoring retention rates, you can determine which groups of users are being retained band can optimize your app accordingly. One way to do this is by personalizing their user experience (UX) to increase engagement.For example, you might see that active users in a group are being retained after delivering more international sporting event related news. You can use those findings to personalize their experience even further by delivering content that is more global and sports related, hence increasing your app's retention rate. When it comes down to it, retaining users will drive more purchases. 
  • Session length - Monitoring session lengths is of vital importance, as you can determine the engagement levels and the interest of your users. If you see active users are converting when being taken to a specific checkout process, after spending a great deal of time on certain screens of your app, then you will want to optimize your app to include the same types of screens on the way to checkout.


These are the areas where users convert in your app. This is where you are actually earning money and includes elements that make an economic impact on your business such as ad revenue, in-app purchases, sign ups or subscriptions. Two KPIs under the outcome metric worth mentioning are:

  • 1. In-app purchases – Say, for example you see a certain group of users from an area of the United States abandoning their carts. You realize that you are delivering a checkout process that requires too much interaction, or if you realize there is a technical problem when adding certain groups of items. You go ahead with optimizing your app, so that it only takes a few steps, while offering a number of different payment methods. You also need to address any technical issues that may be negatively affecting your conversion rates.
  • 2. Average sale for user - Different users have different purchasing patterns, some may buy a lot of low ticket items, some just a few and others might purchase expensive items, a few times a year.By monitoring the average sale per user, you will be able to personalize different offerings to different users. For example, for high ticket purchasers, you might want to offer complementary items for free over a certain purchase prices, or a discounted bulk rate for smaller ticket items. Consequently, by doing so, you will increase the average sale of the user.

Putting it all together

By drilling down into KPIs beyond the key metrics, you will learn more about your audience's...well just about everything. From what they like to buy on Sundays during winter to what type of content they consume around holiday time.

By choosing the right KPI mix for your business and optimizing as needed, you'll find your app always only a stone's throw away from peak success. I say always because app optimization is a constant recurring process that with the right tools should ultimately become a well-oiled optimization machine.

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