Metrics are the backbone of all product decision-making. Without looking at how our metrics fluctuate over time, we have no way of knowing whether or not our mobile product is a success outside of educated guessing—and with the endless amounts of data product managers are able to capture, there’s no room for guessing anymore!

However, endless amounts of data may lead to confusion around where to start when selecting metrics to track for your new mobile product. Rather than jumping right into data options you can collect, it’s best to look at the problems your product is attempting to solve and how you’ll use your data learnings over time.

There are four steps to selecting the right metrics for your mobile product dashboard. Let’s dive into each!

First, think about what questions you’re trying to answer.

At the end of the day, your product exists to try to help your company solve a business problem. Business problems typically arise out of questions your company has yet to answer, which is the best place to start when you’re thinking about a new product/feature. Begin this exercise by looking at the BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) your company has set out to solve, and build out the questions your new product/feature is answering on top of it.

Figure out your BHAG

You’ll have more success in ensuring your new mobile product stays on-track when you look at how it fits into your greater business. Understanding the acute questions your product will help your company answer will help you cut unnecessary features and minimize scope, which will help your team bring the product to fruition in a timely manner.

Second, brainstorm metrics that will help you find answers to those questions.

Once you know the question(s) your mobile product will help you answer, it’s time to select the metrics that will tell you whether or not you’ve hit your goals. There are many different metrics to choose from, but regardless of what you pick, I urge you to remember one important point about metrics: Success looks different for everyone, and so will the metrics that define it.

Feel free to model your metrics after what other companies have done in the past, but don’t let their experience cloud your judgement. If you feel like a standard metric has no place in the success of your new mobile product, explore your hunch and present your findings accordingly.

To help start your brainstorm, check out the comprehensive list of metrics we put together, or take a look through the list below:

  • Downloads
  • Monthly Active Users (MAU)
  • Daily Active Users (DAU)
  • Session length
  • Session interval
  • Time spent in-app
  • Conversion rate
  • Churn rate
  • Retention (28 day or otherwise)
  • In-app revenue
  • Customer lifetime value

Third, decide what types of visuals will best display the data from the metrics you track.

Great data matters, but the way you present the data is equally important. Depending on your product, you may even have multiple groups you’re presenting data to who will digest it differently. It’s important for mobile product managers to remember their audience as they put together visuals to help display their data. Data exists to help you tell a story, and the number one rule in storytelling is to read your audience before you begin. Be sure you’re telling the story in the most compelling way to the audience it’s being delivered to. If the audience isn’t hooked by the way the story is presented, you may as well have not given the presentation at all.

For example, this is a bad way to visualize data. If your data visualizations look like this, time to go back to the drawing board.

Bad data visualization
Source: Gizmodo

There are endless options when it comes to data visualization and presentation, so it’s a good idea to start planning early and to consider all options before you select a delivery method. For example, is your data better shown in a graph, chart, scatter plot, interactive element, snapshot into a deeper dashboard, or something else entirely? Check out this list of 38 tools that help with data visualization for some inspiration before you begin.

Fourth, consider how you’ll instrument new data into your existing process.

Now that you have your data, how can you act on it? The best new products are presented with a plan for instrumenting their data and learnings into a company’s existing process, and this holds as true for mobile as it does for any other type of software. It can be easy to get wrapped up with your products “shiny new object” feel, but it’s imperative that you look at your starting point before you get carried away with the new learnings your product will bring.

Begin by considering how your data flow is currently set up, and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who needs access to this data?
  • Is this data presented in a way that is meaningful to all parties?
  • Do I need to combine this new data with existing data? If so, what’s the best way? Who needs to be involved?

Once you consider the variables that already exist, it will help you understand where your mobile product dashboard data needs to be linked and who needs access to it.

Wrapping it up

There are tons of metrics and data mobile product managers can gather to help gauge success, but not all deserve a place on your mobile product dashboard. Choose your metrics carefully in the planning phase of your dashboard setup process, and you’ll be on the right track to clear through clutter and understand exactly how your mobile product is performing.

I hope the four tips above will help you on our dashboard setup journey. See you in the app stores!