Understanding and tracking analytics is essential for the success of your app. Analytics can provide insight into how users engage with your app, where they drop off, and much more.

Analytics are powerful and valuable, but can be dangerous as well.

Analytics can become dangerous in that, with hundreds of potential app metrics to track, it can be easy to put too much focus on the metrics themselves, rather than the actual insight and action that can be gleaned from them.

Without keeping in mind the whys of analytics tracking, it’s easy to get lost amidst mountains of data and lose focus.

You don’t want to get into the habit of tracking analytics for analytics’ sake. Instead, how you view your analytics data should always be influenced by the core purpose and goal of your app.

1. With Analytics, More Isn’t Always Merrier

More information is always a good thing, right? Anyone who has suffered from analysis paralysis knows that’s not entirely true.

While analytics data is extremely valuable, looking at too many different metrics often makes it easy to lose sight of your goals.


Getting too entrenched in the minutia of metrics can lead to teams focusing too much on metrics that are not actionable or getting engrossed in simple vanity metrics that lack real usefulness. App installs is one example of a vanity metric, as it can easily be manipulated and isn’t a true indicator of improvement (number of sessions or active users are much better indicators of app engagement than installs, since a user can install an app but never open it even once).

In other cases, teams may be tracking valuable metrics, but they are not metrics that directly relate to your app’s core purpose, causing confusion and wasting energy.

2. Find Your Most Relevant Metrics

Instead of tracking everything and digging through data in hopes of stumbling upon golden nuggets of insight, many businesses instead choose to focus on a few core metrics.

These core metrics are the ones that are most closely aligned with the purpose of your app and can help influence your marketing strategies to create smarter, more insightful campaigns.

But how do you find this handful of valuable, glistening metrics in a sea of data points?

There are a few different ideas to consider in finding your essential core metrics:

  • Industry. Your industry will always affect what metrics you should be focusing on. Media apps may be interested in time in app, since their goal is to have users engaging with their content for longer app sessions. Utility apps, on the other hand, will likely be more focused on session launches. They want users to interact with their app frequently, but not necessarily for long periods of time. 
  • Growth Stage. Your key metrics can also change based on the stage of your company growth. Growing apps may focus on app sessions or subscribers, while established apps may be more concerned with retention and upselling.
  • Don’t Just Choose What Others Use. Don’t simply choose a metric just because other mobile apps use it. Your app (hopefully) has a unique offering and purpose, and your core metrics should reflect that.
  • Don’t Use the Same Metrics As You Would for Web. Don’t simply apply your most valuable web metrics to mobile – this is another mistake, as goals and behaviors often change across devices. Pageviews may be vital for web marketers, but it’s a meaningless metric for mobile apps (who instead focus on sessions).
  • App Purpose. What is the main purpose of your app? What will users get out of downloading it in the app store? These questions should help lead you to your core metrics. Your app’s purpose will also dictate which in-app behaviors are most valuable to you. Some apps will be concerned with the number of items added to cart, while others will care more about the number of articles read. Different apps will have different high-value actions they want to focus on. It’s also important to consider how your app connects with your business’s other properties. For example, is your app complementing brick and mortar activity, or serving as a shopping substitute?

Whatever metrics you choose, it’s essential that you narrow your focus to the metrics that are important, relevant, and provide real value for your app.

3. Develop A Marketing Strategy to Improve Your Core Metrics

When measuring and analyzing every possible app metric at your disposal, it’s easy to encounter noise that will ultimately bury and blur your focus.

Instead of over-analyzing every metric at your disposal, focus on your core metrics and what avenues you need to take boost success.

For example, let’s say your company has a goal – to hit 1,000 new active users. You’ll want to orient yourself around that metric and start to analyze how you’ll hit that goal.

In this scenario, you’d want to identify the ad acquisition channels that bring in the most engaged users. What’s key is to look past the number of downloads (which is often used as a vanity metric) and instead hone in on tracking the engagement and retention of users that come from various campaigns.

Suppose, after choosing to focus on your goal of 1,000 new active users, you then ran a mobile app acquisition campaign with Facebook and only got 30 new installs in the past month. At first that number may seem a bit dire, and without digging deeper into core metrics, you might be tempted to write Facebook off the books. However, if you find that users brought in from Facebook were more likely to return to your app 3 or more times, you’d want to keep up your advertising with Facebook. Remember, your goal is active users, not just downloads.

Looking at purpose-driven analytics, rather than vague vanity metrics, ensures that you’re making meaningful impacts and improving where it counts.

4. Use App Analytics to Create Smarter Marketing Strategies

Understanding which metrics correspond with the purpose of your app provides insight and clarity, which can then be used for smarter app marketing.

Analytics are essential for successful app marketing. Why? Analytics allow you to target specific audiences for push messages, ensuring that you send users relevant messages that connect to their unique needs.


Practicing app marketing without intelligent analytics is not just wasteful – it can be detrimental to your efforts. An ill-timed broadcast push message, targeting relevant and irrelevant audiences alike, could easily encourage users to uninstall your app.

It’s essential that you make purposeful use of your analytics by using the valuable info gathered from your data to influence your larger app marketing strategy.

Choose Analytics Powered By Your App’s Purpose

Getting swamped with mountains of data encourages you to pick and choose which metrics to use based on which metrics imply growth and success. These feel-good metrics are false, and can easily lead you down a dead end path.

Instead, keep the intent of your app in mind when developing your marketing and analytics approach. Think about your app’s core purpose and choose a few powerful metrics to examine that align with your app.

Those are the metrics that will help your app grow and succeed – others will simply muddy the water.

Which metrics do you measure for your app? Share your favorites in the comments below!