updated icon November 20 2017

The iOS11 is here to change the way apps and games are being marketed. But what no one expected, was how drastically the update will change user engagement. With features like ‘Offload Unused Apps’ getting introduced, developers and marketers have a new challenge on hand to grow their apps – user engagement.

It isn’t just important to analyze the user’s journey closely, but also measure the key metrics that define how engaged a user is. While these metrics may vary from app to app and game to game, based on the in-app journey to a conversion, there are a few numbers that should have your utmost attention.

User engagement metrics you absolutely need to measure in 2018

1. Your daily, weekly and monthly active users (DAU, WAU, MAU)  

The first and foremost metric that you need to keep a close eye on, is how engaged your users are from the point of acquisition. You need to measure how active they are on your app, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to truly understand how they ‘intend’ on using your app. Then, of course, you can use the data to ensure you keep them hooked with personalized campaigns.

But first, you need to define what an ‘active user’ is.

While measuring how many times a user is ‘signed in’ to your app might seem like a good metric to measure, it is nothing but a vanity metric. Instead, associate a user’s activity with the desired outcome – it could be how many times they have used a certain feature in your app, explored a screen you want them to, made an in-app purchase, invited friends or more.

This will keep you from losing out on those users that are actually engaged with your app, instead of trying to save those who are going to churn either way. That’s where stickiness, the next metric comes into play.

2. Your app’s stickiness (DAU/MAU)

Stickiness is whether your app is able to become a part of the user’s break time or not. It is calculated as the ratio of your daily active users to your monthly active users. The metric is an insight into the average number of times a user is using your app in a month.

For instance, the stickiness ratio of your app is about 40%. This means that users are using your app approximately 12 days in a month and there are 18 days for them to explore what other options they have in the market apart from your app.

Using this data, you can also further creating user cohorts based on their in-app activities and stickiness to engage them better. For example, users in cohort one could be engaging with your app 10 days in a month. So sending them engaging push notifications about their friend’s activity in the app could be a great way to pull them back.

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3. Your app’s retention rate over 1, 7 and 30 days  

Another metric that you should be measuring is your app’s retention rate right from day 1 of user acquisition. Most apps lose almost 70% of their users by day 30. This could be due to multiple reasons: the user wasn’t onboarded well, he didn’t see any value in your app, you didn’t have a re-engagement strategy in place or the user’s in-app experience just wasn’t good.

Week 1 plays an important role in determining your app’s engagement and retention rate. This is the time when you need to ensure personalized onboarding, but also hooking them to the app. A great way to do so is to bring all their social circle on the app using a robust referral marketing campaign.

Simply put, the bigger their community is in your app, the longer they will stay. So while you’re measuring the retention rate, work towards driving them towards inviting their friends to the app in week 1 itself.

Doomsday Clicker follows this strategy and has achieved 39% higher D1 retention. See case study here.

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4. Your user’s in-app journey and milestones

A typical smartphone user will abandon your app if he can’t see the value in it, almost instantly. That’s where you need to identify the users who are slipping away and engage with them at the right point, before a churn. The two things you want to monitor here are the session lengths and the screens viewed – especially for your early users.

You created an app for a reason and if the user totally misses exploring the feature, you’ve already lost the battle. If the session lengths are shorter and the user somehow never viewed a screen (ideal milestone) during the first few sessions, reach out immediately.

You could do this using an in-app chat, a push notification or an email that simply lets him know how to make the most out of the app. Offering help could save you a churn!

5. Your app crashes

This might not come across as a user engagement metric, but the number of times your app refuses to work, you’re losing out a session. Imagine an app you’re excited about, not working at all!

Keeping a tab on this number helps you identify the technical barriers that are compromising the user’s experience and its ability to engage them. You’ll also be able to build a better app over time by measuring this metric.

6. Your in-app conversions

Getting the user to download your app and login is just the first step to hooking them. If you don’t want them abandoning your app when games like PokemonGo take the world by storm, you need them to convert in-app. Yes, we’re talking about them making an in-app purchase and turning into a paying user.

Introducing in-app purchases during onboarding and creating a community of your users is a monetization strategy that is proven to work. The number of in-app conversions also indicate the level at which your users are committed to your app.

The higher the in-app conversions, lower is the churn rate.

The new updates to iOS11 are all focused on enhancing the user’s experience and are directly proportional to how engaged you can keep a user.

The only way to improve your user engagement? Measuring your metrics consistently and optimizing your strategy.

What other metrics do you think should be measured to analyze your user engagement?