5 Key Mobile Metrics to Make Your App Profitable

When you get an app idea, it’s natural to want to get started on it as soon as possible. While the idea could be the most unique and exciting, developing a mobile application is not cheap—and the harsh reality is that the majority of apps fail. So, before diving in and developing an app, it’s critical to plan out how to make it profitable.

If you have an app idea, or if you’ve already released your product to the App Store, this blog will help you learn how you can use a few metrics to help you build something that makes more money than it costs to build.

1. Acquisition

Downloads: The number of new downloads in a given period (daily, weekly, or monthly)

Download Attribution: The sources of your new users. Utilize this information to optimize marketing spend and increase ROI/customer LTV.

Where do your visitors come from? This is especially important if you are running advertisements or spending money to acquire new users.

You should track downloads daily to gain a better understanding of the impact of your marketing campaigns. Knowing where your users are coming from allows you to direct your marketing resources to increase new user growth.

2. Activations

Activation Rate: The percentage of downloads that resulted in the app being launched.

  • Metric Range: You’re doing well if your activation rate is 85 percent or higher. Anything less necessitates a more in-depth investigation to understand and resolve the problem.
  • Metric Range: For most rapidly growing mobile apps, the ratio of the first-time app launches to total app launches over a rolling 30-day period ranges between 5% and 15%.

You might be surprised at how many people download your app but never use it.

Many seemingly insignificant factors can trigger this decline – from UI typos to lengthy user registrations, but this is the first aspect that you should explore.

3. Retention

The longer you retain users, the more valuable they become to your company. In a nutshell, retention equals revenue. The issue is that the average person has between 60 and 90 apps installed on their phone, but only 10% of them are used daily. With so many other apps vying for your users’ time and attention, how do you break into the top 10%?

By tracking user retention metrics and determining where people are leaving the user journey. Calculating retention based on first logins will reflect the effectiveness of your app’s messaging, onboarding, and UX in keeping people around. 

For example – Day 3 and Day 7 retention after first app launch:

Metric Range: 24% of apps are uninstalled (or not used again) after just one launch.*

Weekly (and monthly) retention cohorts:

Use first-time app launches to create acquisition cohorts. You can then track how long each cohort stays active in your app and find out which in-app behaviors have a positive or negative effect on retention.

4. Engagement

Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU): The number of app users who are active on a given day or month.

Average Session Length & Frequency: The frequency with which users launch your app, as well as the length of an average session.

How often do users return to your app, and how much time do they spend on it? It is an important factor because not all apps are intended to be used daily. You’ll need to define what an “active user” means for your app. Does this imply launching the app, logging in, or performing a specific action?

These metrics can help you understand the effectiveness of your engagement campaigns, as well as the overall quality of your user experience.

5. Uninstalls

Number of Uninstalls: How many people uninstall your app on a daily or weekly basis?

Churn Rate: Users at the beginning of the period – Users at the end of the period – Users at the beginning of the period / Users at the beginning of the period.

To calculate the net result of your mobile app growth, compare the number of daily uninstalls to the number of daily downloads and daily activations.

If you discover that you have a significant churn problem, examine the performance of your app to rule out bugs, crashes, or latency issues. After only a few uses, 80 percent of users abandon slow-loading apps.


Now that you’ve got these metrics, you’ll want to keep measuring and testing to improve these numbers. One of the most important things you can do is keep these numbers in front of you and your team at all times. See how many different tests you can run in a single month and track that as you would any other metric.

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