Mobile App Usage: What to Measure and Why It Matters

Metrics are invaluable for measuring the success – meaning adoption and usage – of enterprise mobile apps. But just because something can be measured doesn’t mean that the measurement delivers real insight. Individual metrics don’t tell the whole story.

To better evaluate success for enterprise mobile apps and mobility strategies, mobility professionals need a range of data in order to make good decisions. These professionals include enterprise line of business owners, IT teams, and those individuals charged with leading mobility initiatives.

Regardless of individual titles, there are five critical mobile attributes that should be captured and measured in order to develop useful metrics, and they must be correlated in meaningful ways to transform them into knowledge.

Only then can you gain truly useful insight for ongoing mobile app development, tuning, and deployment.

Attribute 1: App Downloads

How many apps, and which ones, are users downloading daily, weekly, and monthly? This attribute tells you if you’re building the apps that they want to use. You want to see steady growth in downloads over time, even if adoption is slow. Downloads also provide you with unique user identifiers for building profiles and correlating other types of user behaviour and app usage.

Attribute 2: App Usage

By measuring app usage, you know how often people use each app daily, weekly, or monthly and how much time they spend with the app. It tells you the top users and those who use it the least. It provides insight into how specific groups of employees use the app—and gives clues into how well the app meets their needs.

Usage data also indicates the quality of the user experience. For example, do users access your CRM app more heavily at the end of the quarter, as you would expect? If not, perhaps the app delivers a poor user experience and should be revisited. With this attribute, you can compare apps and usage by type of app, user groups, location, and other factors to better discern the business value that each app is delivering.

Attribute 3: Connection Data

How many connections do users or groups initiate to each app? Your most transformative apps should receive the lion’s share of connections. Long connection times can help you identify power users—or they can point to trouble spots that slow task completion for users. For example, are there points in the app where users typically exit without completing transactions?

Session interval data also helps you understand usage frequency and longevity, providing useful data for properly sizing and scaling your infrastructure. For example, understanding how long users stay in the mobile app enables you to establish suitable per-app VPN tunnels or charge app usage back to the right business unit. Failed logins can indicate anomalous behaviour. A lack of connections can illustrate that many users have not yet gone mobile. Multiple frequent connection attempts can indicate a problem with the app, device, or network, leading to additional troubleshooting and analysis to identify the cause. When correlated with app usage and device data, connection data offers vital insight for ongoing enterprise app development and optimisation.

Attribute 4: Device Types

By capturing the device types and identifiers used to access an enterprise mobile app, you gain better understanding of users’ preferred form factors for mobile use. You can measure users by devices that are managed or unmanaged. You can see how many users are using jail-broken devices and are a potential security risk.

You gain a better picture of the average device age and software currency levels. Device type data gives you a window into user device preferences for a specific app, so that you can iterate the app experience accordingly. It can also expose potential security gaps that should be addressed quickly.

Attribute 5: Location Data

Measure location data to identify the typical locations from which users access apps. Do app usage maps correspond with customer locations? Are users in certain areas of the country using the app rarely or not at all? Are there unusual locations where apps are accessed? For example, is there usage in US locations where you don’t have facilities or specific customers? Location data is best correlated with other data to give you clearer visibility into anomalous behaviour, sales activity, or potential localization needs.

Get Insight Beyond the Obvious

Measuring the obvious activities delivers data, but not necessarily insight. For example, simply capturing mobile sales user data is interesting. But correlating that with date, time, location, and connection times can tell you if the sales team uses CRM data at key times and whether or not they are in front of customers.

Identifying and measuring these five critical enterprise mobile app attributes gives you the information you need to begin building more successful enterprise mobile apps. More successful apps help drive wider enterprise mobile app adoption, which in turn lets you fine-tune mobile strategies and begin unlocking the full potential of mobility.