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Once you make an app, it isn’t always simple to actually judge whether you succeeded or not. There are a few outliers which are definitely successful; no one would claim that Angry Birds or Candy Crush are not successes, but for most apps, it isn’t so straightforward to make a judgment. The main issue is that success means different things to everyone. The only true measure of success is whether you managed to accomplish what you set out to accomplish. If your goals are met then you have succeeded. Here are some ways to judge your level of success:

Downloads

This one seems obvious. If your app is downloaded by a lot of people, it must be a success, right? This isn’t always true though. If you set out to earn money and you only get thousands of downloads and nothing else then you haven’t succeeded. The number of people who download your app is always a useful metric; you should always be working to increase this number and you should be concerned if this number starts decreasing. At the same time, it is possible to earn a lot (through IAP) with a few users and it is also possible to not earn anything even when you have thousands of downloads.

Usage

For us, usage is a much more important factor than downloads and a much more telling one as well. When someone downloads your app, you only know that your marketing was successful. There are many people who will download your app, use it for a few minutes, hours, or days, and then delete it. These users are generally not a positive addition to your bottom line. The number of people actually using your app and how long they use it gives you a much more realistic estimate of your success

Earnings

This is the simplest and most blunt way to measure success; did you earn enough money through it? We wouldn’t recommend shutting down your app if it doesn’t satisfy this metric though. If you have stable users and downloads but low earnings it means you are on to a good thing. You just need to figure out better monetization methods. Do not expect initial earnings to represent feature earnings; most apps have a burst of users in the beginning and then they slowly start losing users and earnings.

Ranking

As great as ranking seems, it can be useless at times. If you are in a niche category then being in the top 100 might not mean a lot. These are fantastic for marketing purposes; if downloads are low but your ranking is high then it just means that you do not have enough competition. On the other hand, if downloads are high but the ranking is low then you have nothing to worry about. If you manage to get a top position in the rankings but don’t see much revenue, look at it not as a success but as a great way to market your app.

Some people make apps to make a quick buck, some people make apps with a long term plan in mind, while others make apps just for marketing purposes. Is your app a success or not? Well that depends on if it accomplished its original goal or not.