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App Development
4 minutes read

The Secret Behind Every Successful App

By Jonathan Tarud
By Jonathan Tarud
App Development
4 minutes read

As more and more apps become available for smartphones and tablets, it will become harder for a new app to stand out. According to Nielsen, the average smartphone user has about 25-30 apps on their phone. In fact, studies show the number of apps used on a regular basis hovers around just nine, and app usage frequency varies based on the nature of the app.

What separates the haves from the have-nots in the app world is fairly straightforward. There are many things to consider when building an application (besides price) that can affect how successful the app could eventually become.

If you follow these key performance indicators during your application development and marketing process, it will definitely position you on a path to building a successful mobile app.

Retention Rate

Here’s a startling fact: 22% of apps are only opened one time, and then they are abandoned forever.

It’s pretty tricky to make a profit off of users in that narrow window of time, so the most important thing for you to figure out is how to make a useful app that keeps users coming back. Measuring your retention rate is a good overall bellwether to tell you how well your app is giving users what they want.


It’s critical to get to know as much about your users as you can. Who they are, what kind of phone or tablet they’re on, what operating system they’re using, and how they use it. This will let you optimize your app to get more users, and also better users – people who will stick around longer, make more purchases, refer their friends, and click on ads.

That’s why the next metric is so important.

Active Users

The number of active users is closely related to retention rate, and its increase will be a strong signal that you’re on the right track with your app. These are the users that every app provider craves – they stick around, they spend money or click on ads, and they give you lots and lots of valuable information in the process.

This data can build upon itself to help you find more active users and build a real growth engine for your app, but it takes a critical mass of users to give you enough data to make that happen.

Conversion Rate

It’s great to have a bunch of users, but if they’re not making you any money, they’re not worth much to the business. As a result, tracking what percentage of your users are taking actions that make you money is key to building a successful app.

Once you know your conversation rate, you can begin experimenting to perfect the process to convert more users into customers by making offers or showing ads at the right place in the app.


ARPU is an acronym for your Average Revenue Per User. This is closely tied to conversion rate, but instead of measuring how many of users turn into customers, this helps you measure what they spend.

Jay Abraham famously said that the only three ways of growing your business were increasing the number leads, increasing the number of leads who turned into sales, and increasing the amount each one of them spent.

This metric will allow you to do two very powerful things – experiment with ways to increase the amount of money the average person spends, but also identify which users are willing to spend good amounts of money in your app so that you can target more of them.

All of this will help you to increase the last KPI we’ll recommend today, which is…

Lifetime Value

Your LTV is the average amount of money that each user will bring your business in the time they’re using your app, whether that’s through a purchase, ad click, or referral. This number is essential for making marketing decisions, and closely tracks with a combination of your retention rate, conversion, and user activity.

If your LTV is going up, you know you’re doing something right. If it’s going down, you’d better dig into the details and figure out why.

If you track these metrics, you won’t have to look far to figure things out. You’ll have a much stronger picture of your progress than if you were just tracking downloads or revenue, and gaining valuable, specific insights into your app’s performance that will be key to making it a success.

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