CTIA App Strategy Report: Engagement, not Downloads, for Mobile App Measurement

How are you measuring the success of your app?

Many people are measuring success by looking at their download count. Although this is a useful metric, this data point alone could be leading you to a misinformed conclusion. At CTIA this week, the focus was on repeat engagement, getting people back into apps after the initial download. As mobile marketing has become more important, so has the need to measure success with informative data.

Mobile Marketer has a good round-up from the show:

“Download numbers are pretty deceptive… We’re looking at active and repeat users – those drive the ad impression and monetization.” Michael Scogin, vice president of mobile at MTV, New York

“We want to be one of those 10 applications that you go into and utilize and see value from overall use.” Beth Jacobs, general manager of mobile at The Washington Post, Washington

Ryan Kim over at GigaOm also brought up the deceptiveness of app downloads in his column today. ” Instead of flashy numbers, show me user loyalty. Everything else is churn. By sticking with download numbers, I wonder how many are masking the fact that most of their users don’t come back at all.” He points to data results from Localytics that show the most loyal app users (those who come back 10+ times per month) are—despite being the smaller number—are “more impressive over time and more lucrative.”

Our take:
We could not agree more that engagement is the key tenet of mobile app success. Engagement drives monetization as well as brand identification. Companies that can create great in-app experiences and can get audiences back into their app will win in the next generation of app development.

One of the most effective solutions to the challenge of reengaging audiences is push notifications. There’s no trickery in this strategy: companies that use push effectively will get more users re-engaged with an app. No use of push = less engagement and poor use of push = annoyed users who opt out and / or delete the app entirely. With the right balance, push notifications remind users why they downloaded the app in the first place, offering them a reason to open it again, and creating a feedback loop with the brand behind it.