The variations in mobile apps range from shopping, to reading, to gaming, and the list goes on. Many apps don’t offer products or services available to purchase in-app, and the apps that do often provide value beyond their purchasing features. Companies with mobile apps are able to interact with and engage their customers on levels more personal than previously attainable, and yet, they are still trying to figure out the best way to measure the success of their apps. With the high volume of customers using apps for features other than purchasing, measuring success solely based on in-app revenue becomes nearsighted. Understanding what customers are using the app for gives companies a more precise look at what measures of success should be considered, and how they should be weighted. Without understanding where customers are finding value in the app, companies are at risk of using false measures of success.

In lieu of in-app revenue, here are a few additional benchmarks companies should pay attention to when gauging the success of their app: positive ratings and reviews, healthy retention rate, and increasing the number of monthly active users (MAU).

Ratings and Reviews                         

Ratings and reviews are a strong indication of the value customers are receiving from mobile apps. If ratings and reviews are largely negative, it’s a safe bet customers aren’t getting what they came for in the app. By reading the feedback customers leave in reviews, companies should be able to glean an idea of what the app is lacking.

On the other hand, if ratings and reviews are largely positive, companies can sleep soundly at night knowing they’re delivering what their customers want in their mobile app. Positive ratings and reviews are useful in showing companies if they’re on the right track, and they’re also powerful in driving more organic downloads. The app stores use ratings and reviews as a ranking mechanism to determine the best apps to display. Apps with high ratings and reviews are awarded better visibility, which leads to increased organic downloads. Win-win.

Healthy Retention Rate

Only 40% of customers continue to use an app a month after they’ve downloaded it, according to our research. This number falls to a dismal 4% after the first year. It’s a well-known fact that acquiring new customers is more costly than retaining the customers companies already have. The deeper companies understand their customers, the more capable they’ll be of keeping retention rates healthy by delivering what their customers want.

Increasing retention is not only an effective measure of an app’s success, it’s also a way to cut costs. App installs are getting more expensive, particularly loyal mobile customer installs. The average CPLU has increased by 39% in the last year alone, according to Fiksu’s Cost Per Loyal User (CPLU) Index. This places heightened importance on boosting retention rates to mitigate the increasing costs of installs.

Increasing Number of Monthly Active Users (MAU)

Monthly Active Users, or MAU, are a great indication of an app’s success. If customers are using an app monthly, or even daily, it’s a strong signal that they’re are getting value from the app. Something is keeping customers coming back, which is a telling sign the company is doing something right.

Gathering, and listening to customer feedback is key to increasing MAU. By implementing new features based on direct customer feedback, the app will more closely align with the customers wants and needs, drawing customers to use the app more regularly, and become loyal to the app.


Customers who use mobile apps don’t necessarily use them to make in-app purchases, which is why assessing a mobile app’s success solely on in-app revenue displays a narrow view of a much wider picture. Companies must take into account why their customers use their mobile app in order to determine which measurements will show them the big picture in terms of success. 

Ratings and reviews, retention rates, and MAU are a good place to start when trying to see the whole picture of the success of a mobile app.