How to Prove the Value of Your Mobile App

How to Prove the Value of Your Mobile App
How to Prove the Value of Your Mobile App

You’ve put blood, sweat and tears into plan­ning the launch of your first mobile app. It’s going to be a fea­ture-rich, (most­ly) bug-free appli­ca­tion that you believe cus­tomers will love and adds val­ue to your busi­ness. You have a robust go to mar­ket strat­e­gy includ­ing thou­sands of planned dol­lars towards mar­ket­ing the app as soon as it’s released on the Apple & Google Play stores. But how do you know it’s suc­cess­ful, post-launch? How can you prove that it enhances the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly dri­ves toward your company’s goals? If you can con­tin­u­al­ly prove your app’s val­ue to inter­nal deci­sion-mak­ers via cold, hard KPIs and met­rics, it makes: 

  • Mak­ing dif­fi­cult prod­uct enhance­ment deci­sions easier 
  • Sell­ing to poten­tial clients easier 
  • Secur­ing more bud­get for your mobile app easier

If you fol­low the below 4 steps, you will be able to answer this one sim­ple ques­tion: Is my company’s mobile app successful?” 

Define Your Business Objectives

#1: Define Your Busi­ness Objec­tives

Notice we said busi­ness objec­tives and not mobile app objec­tives. As always, there are some excep­tions, but in most cas­es, the goals for each of your dig­i­tal chan­nels (mobile app, web, social, etc) should fun­nel up into com­pa­ny-wide busi­ness objec­tives. These can man­i­fest in the form of OKRs, OGSMs or what­ev­er oth­er acronym you wish to choose. We don’t want to get into the art of writ­ing these goals (there’s a great arti­cle on how to do that here), but what­ev­er you choose should be the pri­ma­ry dri­ver of your dai­ly oper­a­tions.

Let’s look at some exam­ple OKRs from some well-known cor­po­ra­tions as well as star­tups, orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished on what​mat​ters​.com:

How to Prove Value Data Table

Assum­ing you’ve put some real thought and reflec­tion into defin­ing these objec­tives, let’s talk about how we can use this frame­work to track the right met­rics for our mobile app that will help you reach your goals.

Drive Toward Your Objectives

#2: Iden­ti­fy KPIs That Dri­ve Toward Your Objec­tives

Pic­ture this: It’s been one month since you released your app and it’s been down­loaded 100,000 times, over dou­ble your tar­get. That sounds like a great met­ric, but there have been few­er than a hun­dred accounts cre­at­ed (a 0.1% Reg­is­tra­tion Rate) and only a cou­ple hun­dred dol­lars in rev­enue has flowed through the app, mak­ing up only .0001% of your dig­i­tal rev­enue. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the only KPI you decid­ed to keep a pulse on was down­loads and some oth­er basic metrics. 

Bud­get­ing sea­son (aka the time to ask for more bud­get) rolls around and after more dig­ging and man­u­al data pulling, you dis­cov­er these appalling data points. Not only did these poor per­form­ing met­rics result in lost cus­tomer engage­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties and missed rev­enue, but they could also impact the fate of your mobile app. If only track­ing the impor­tant KPIs to your busi­ness was decid­ed before­hand, your team’s focus could have piv­ot­ed into improv­ing those num­bers ear­li­er. When you not only have high-per­form­ing met­rics to show, but you can direct­ly tie those num­bers to the com­pa­ny goals, you’ve proven val­ue.

Sad­ly, most com­pa­nies don’t put thought­ful effort into defin­ing what mobile suc­cess looks like to them, and what met­rics real­ly speak to it. Choose what­ev­er makes sense to you and pri­or­i­tize the work so that you track what mat­ters. If one of your com­pa­ny objec­tives was around enhanc­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, how can the mobile app dri­ve towards this goal? Maybe you can keep an eye on things like app reten­tion rate, net pro­mot­er score, and var­i­ous engage­ment met­rics.

If your com­pa­ny is using OKRs, these KPIs could be key results them­selves, or objec­tives for the mobile app chan­nel that feed into the high­er lev­el OKRs. Be sure to think a lit­tle more out­side-the-box when defin­ing these met­rics as well. Here are just a few mean­ing­ful KPIs that the team focused on our guest expe­ri­ence man­age­ment plat­form here at acces­so keeps an eye on:

  • Usage Pen­e­tra­tion Rate (total app users in venue / total attendance) 
  • Reg­is­tra­tion Rate 
  • App Rat­ing Trends 
  • Month­ly Active Users 
  • App Users in Venue 
  • Dig­i­tal Rev­enue Dis­tri­b­u­tion (food & bev­er­age vs. cam­paign vs. organ­ic vs. vir­tu­al queuing) 
  • App Stick­i­ness” (Dai­ly Active Users / Month­ly Active Users) 
  • Cus­tomer Life­time Value 
  • Cam­paign to Total Rev­enue Rate 
  • Cam­paign Order to View Rate 
How to Prove Value

#3: Make it Visu­al

For the sake of this arti­cle, we’re going to assume your devel­op­ment team has imple­ment­ed track­ing of said met­rics and accu­rate data is appear­ing in the cor­re­spond­ing sys­tems. In the case of most mobile apps, the data will be sur­faced on mul­ti­ple plat­forms such as Fire­base, Google Ana­lyt­ics, Google Play & Apple stores.

We rec­om­mend join­ing these dif­fer­ent data sources in a busi­ness intel­li­gence tool such as Tableau or Microsoft Pow­er BI. While hav­ing mul­ti­ple sources of truth can actu­al­ly be a pos­i­tive thing, we rec­om­mend automat­ing as much of this data as pos­si­ble. Hav­ing a data ana­lyst man­u­al­ly export 99 reports from 99 dif­fer­ent sys­tems and man­u­al­ly import into a tool on a recur­ring basis is not very ide­al (notice I used the word man­u­al­ly’ sev­er­al times). Ide­al­ly you want a prod­uct man­ag­er, exec or the sales team to be deliv­ered rel­e­vant, valu­able auto­mat­ed reports on a cadence (week­ly, month­ly, etc.) and/​or have self-ser­vice dash­boards avail­able that include real-time/n­ear real-time data.

The goal when design­ing these reports and dash­boards should be to cre­ate the quick­est path to view­ing valu­able insights. Don’t try to throw all KPIs and met­rics into one report; dif­fer­ent reports should serve dif­fer­ent pur­pos­es. Pri­or­i­tize your met­rics and KPIs for each report and reflect that visu­al­ly. What is valu­able to the sales team may not be valu­able to the prod­uct man­ag­er. That being said, don’t cre­ate two-dozen dash­boards that your ana­lyt­ics team needs to main­tain — keep it as stream­lined as pos­si­ble. Remem­ber: the short­er the time it takes to mea­sure per­for­mance and extract valu­able insights, the quick­er impor­tant busi­ness deci­sions can be made — result­ing in a bet­ter prod­uct and mon­ey saved.

#4: Dri­ving Mobile App Suc­cess

When valu­able met­rics & insights are social­ized through­out the com­pa­ny, you raise aware­ness and give con­text to indi­vid­u­als as to how what they do impacts and mat­ters to the busi­ness. Whether it’s set­ting up strate­gic app per­for­mance reviews on a bi-week­ly, month­ly, or quar­ter­ly basis or empow­er­ing cer­tain teams to own” a KPI, we rec­om­mend review­ing the lat­est per­for­mance data and trends on a recur­ring basis. After enough time, bench­marks will be estab­lished and you’ll be able to do YoY & sea­son­al com­par­isons and look back at your mobile app’s progress from the moment of fruition.

To recap, you’ve set ambi­tious but achiev­able busi­ness objec­tives. You’ve defined KPIs for your mobile app. You’ve built out robust dash­boards that keep a con­stant pulse on per­for­mance. Whether you exceed cer­tain goals or fall short on oth­ers, we hope fol­low­ing these steps will lead to valu­able dis­cov­er­ies about your audi­ence and mak­ing the right enhance­ments to a prod­uct your cus­tomers will love.

At accesso, we pro­vide solu­tions that empow­er our clients to cre­ate con­nect­ed guest expe­ri­ences that dri­ve rev­enue. To see how we can help you move your busi­ness for­ward, con­tact us today. 

Michael Smart – Mar­ket­ing Cam­paign Man­ag­er, Guest Experience

Michael Smart is a Mar­ket­ing Cam­paign Man­ag­er for the acces­so guest expe­ri­ence solu­tion. He lives in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia and enjoys cre­at­ing music, learn­ing about astron­o­my, and any­thing Oprah-related.