Must-Know KPIs for Measuring Your Mobile App’s Performance
Must-Know KPIs for Measuring Your Mobile App’s Performance
As a marketer, it’s part of your role to accurately measure the performance of your app throughout each phase of its market address, and there are countless key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you do so. But they don’t all apply in every scenario, and not every metric is created equal.

As a marketer, it’s part of your role to accurately measure the performance of your app throughout each phase of its market address, and there are countless key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you do so. But they don’t all apply in every scenario, and not every metric is created equal.

Mobile gaming apps in particular are a different breed. Competing for user attention in the discovery phase is difficult when there are so many options. Being able to provide the best user experience and engagement to optimal levels is important.

Monetization—via in-app purchases, advertising, subscriptions, and upgrades—is where a lot of app marketers spend most of their time, sometimes at the expense of deeper analysis like which users are worth retaining.

To help you do a better job of marketing your mobile game, here are some thoughts on the must-know KPIs you need to track in order to optimize:

  • Discovery and acquisition
  • Experience and engagement
  • Monetization and valuation
  • Churn and retention

Common KPIs for discovery and acquisition

2020 changed and accelerated the growth of the mobile app industry, with global spend on mobile apps reaching $112 billion in 2020. Gaming was the biggest mobile vertical, taking up 33 percent of all downloaded mobile apps. With gaming the most popular category of apps, just getting your game noticed can be challenging. Convincing users to install, register, and grant permissions for your app to function in its intended way is even harder.

That said, attributing each install to the correct omni-channel source and tracking the associated revenue and payouts isn’t optional, so you must master discovery and acquisition metrics. Here’s what you need to look out for.

App store optimization (ASO) and attribution

The process of how users discover and decide whether or not to download your game (AKA user acquisition or UA) is a subject of deep focus for most marketers. While your strategy behind app store optimization (ASO)—including management of your app’s product page—is important, there are other KPIs to track:

  • Number of views to install: How many times a user views or interacts with your brand before installing (a good measurement of ad and brand performance).
  • Attribution for install source: The originating source(s) that referred the user to your app, leading to the install.

Takeaway: It’s extremely important to measure attribution correctly so you can increase marketing emphasis on high-performing sources of referral and reduce, or eliminate, focus on low-performing channels, thereby decreasing overall Cost Per Acquisition, or CPA (see below).

Download, installation, registration, permissions, and upgrades

The total number of downloads is an obvious metric you need to track, but downloads are really just the tip of the iceberg. In order to actually use your app, users also have to install it. Because of this, one thing you should track is what percentage of users fail to complete this process and why.

The user may also need to register your app, which requires turning over personal data, granting permissions (e.g. access to photos or contacts), and/or subscribing to ongoing content or other updates you offer.

Takeaway: In each case, it’s very important that marketers diligently track not only “failures to complete” at each of these points, but also how long it takes the user to complete an action (e.g. 2 minutes to install, 2 hours to register, 2 days to subscribe).


Measuring the specific expense of onboarding a user for your app can be approached in a few ways. In the cost per install (CPI) model, you’re measuring the cost of one user installing your app based on your expense for creating that action (e.g. a $9,000 ad produces 6,000 installs for a $1.50 CPI).

In the CPA model, you approach that expense in a more holistic way by looking at the total expense (e.g. a campaign with a net cost of $50,000 produces 25,000 new users for a CPA of $2.00).

An even more granular KPI, customer acquisition cost (CAC), seeks to include non-paid methods of discovery and measure the impact of areas of operation on the periphery of marketing: inbound call center requests, sales attributable to special events, etc.

Takeaway: Marketers should measure CPI, CPA, and CAC in order to get a holistic view of their marketing campaigns. This will allow them to optimize their campaigns, ensuring efficient use of resources.

Alternative KPIs for experience and engagement

Data-driven marketing that focuses on publishers analyzing user behaviors to create compelling experiences in-app and otherwise is all the rage in gaming apps marketing for a reason: it works.

The insights gleaned through cross-channel behavioral indicators are a window into what your users want, and they should be tracked and studied. Here are the most important user behaviors you should be tracking.


Many marketers don’t track in-app performance data the same way they do things like taps, or responsiveness to ads, and that’s a mistake. Understanding in-app performance data gives context to user behaviors that ultimately affect your bottom line.

Must-read: See how this game studio improved their testing and ROI.

This means you should track a user’s session, which is the combined interactions a player has with your game in a given period of time (e.g. completing a level, buying upgrades, a performance slowdown). Specific session KPIs you want to track include:

  • Number of sessions generated: Usually, the more the better.
  • Length of sessions: Longer is generally better unless your game is about the user doing things as quickly as possible.
  • Interval between sessions: How much time passes between sessions.
  • Depth of session: How far users go within the session (Level 1 to Level 4, from browsing to buying, etc.)