startupThere’s data that helps you make day-to-day execution decisions, and then there’s the data that represents important trends and showcases real traction to your board. Gathering the right metrics to shed light on your successes or failures becomes especially important in terms of calculating ROI and understanding where and how to grow your startup.

But there’s a fundamental difference between mobile and web metrics and reporting – so sticking with the norm isn’t going to get you far. Instead, you need to hone in on the app-specific metrics that actually showcase progress, and accurately reflect how your users are behaving in-app. In this post, we outline the four reporting categories you need to cover, as well as some sample metrics to include.

1. Acquisition Costs

Your app users come to you from a host of different channels – paid and organic. This means doubling down on App Store optimization and advertising channels, for both the pull and push (respectively) of awareness and new user acquisition. In order to create a long-term plan that helps you attain and retain the right customers, you need a system with appropriately low ROI and high engagement rates.

When you’re a startup, you also get a bit of a “two-fer” out of running paid campaigns – they help you learn, quickly, where your audience is and where your traction is. So yes, you’re spending to acquire users, but you’re also acquiring knowledge about your market much faster than you would if you did purely organic – which is why reporting on the right paid metrics is a must for your board.

Some metrics to include: Total spend, spend per campaign, cost per user

2. Growth Numbers

In a startup, you can show growth in a number of ways: number of new employees, increases in revenue, and other major milestones. Your app is no different – it’s an essential platform for growth, especially when you consider the sheer number of consumers who use apps regularly to interact with brands.

The most important thing to showcase here is app stickiness. Meaning, does your app continue to engage users over time, and are you seeing a constant increase in retention and user LTV? Proving and improving retention is the key to growing your app and creating brand positivity.

Some metrics to include: Number of new users, user retention over time, change in LTV

3. Engagement Numbers

Retention is a function of engagement, which is to say when your users are engaged, they’re more likely to return again and again. Engaging users should be the ultimate goal of your app, because it means they’re gaining value from its usage. Tracking how your app is used, for how long and how users are converting in-app on key actions will signal engagement.

Some metrics to include: Time in app, session interval, feature usage, conversion rate

4. Revenue Results

Your board is going to want to know how and why your users find your app valuable – but really, they want to know what that means for the bottom line. Reporting on revenue numbers relative to your app can be the ultimate proof of concept. Not only is that where your audience is actively spending
their time, but it’s also a huge channel for setting up your brand.

Some metrics to include: Total app revenue, in-app purchases, total user LTV

We outline all of the 27 metrics to include in your report in our latest eBook, The Startup Guide to App Analytics & Marketing. Grab your free copy today, and learn how to pull together the reports that matter most to your investors, plus how to track app user behavior and ways to improve initial retention.