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The #1 metric for any mobile app

Why you should choose only one metric

When diving into the world of mobile analytics, you'll often hear about the North Star Metric. This concept focuses on having a single primary metric that keeps things simple and ensures you remain concentrated on what truly matters. The chosen metric should quantify the value your mobile app delivers to users because, at the end of the day, you want to build something people want.

Now, if you turn to Google for help, you'll likely get lost in the endless sea of potential metrics, such as retention, session length, impressions, and NPS. So what should you choose? In 95% of cases, it's best to pick revenue. Why? Because nothing speaks more to the value you're providing than people willingly handing over their hard-earned cash. And even better, opt for revenue that keeps rolling in over time, like monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

Revenue or active users

For the remaining 5% of apps, active users can be the primary metric. This choice makes sense when building a large audience is essential for monetization, like with advertising-based business models (e.g., Facebook) or when strong network effects are present (e.g., LinkedIn).

Secondary metrics

Once you've nailed down your primary metric, it's time to consider secondary metrics. In most cases, these also reflect the value of your app. You can go with standard metrics, such as retention rates, conversion rates, or customer acquisition costs (CAC), or you can select metrics unique to your app.

To get you started, here are ten more mobile app examples with 2-3 individual secondary metrics. Here are some examples:

  1. Airbnb: nights booked, average booking value
  2. Uber: rides completed, average ride fare, driver ratings
  3. Instagram: daily active users, photo uploads per day, average time spent in-app
  4. Duolingo: lessons completed, streaks maintained, language proficiency levels achieved
  5. Spotify: tracks streamed, playlist follows, premium subscriptions
  6. Calm: meditation sessions completed, user-submitted mood ratings, in-app purchases
  7. Strava: activities logged, segments completed, athlete interactions
  8. Etsy: items sold, average order value, seller ratings
  9. Tinder: matches made, messages exchanged, premium subscriptions

You can track these secondary metrics by monitoring custom events within your mobile app. Remember, the key is to keep your focus on the primary metric while using secondary metrics to provide additional insight and context.

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