by Ty McDowell, on Monday September 14, 2015

What App Metrics are Important and What Do They Mean?

Some of the metrics that you may initially be curious about when you’ve launched your new app, may not be the ones that are really critical to identifying how your app is impacting your business.You may wonder how many times the app has been downloaded and even how many unique users have downloaded it. These metrics show how interested your parents may have been in looking at your app, however, the metrics that are truly valuable to you are ones that reveal what these parents are doing via your app. There’s a lot to learn from your app metrics individually or when combined with other organization metrics to report increases, denote trends or alert you to needs. Metrics can be starting points for making important tweaks to your app or to your business. These metrics do more than show you how your app is affecting your revenue. They give you a window into the experience your families have with your organization.

Can my app increase my revenues?

Yes! Most organizations experience increases in several areas including revenues. Your app enables you to send offers using “Push Notifications” to parents at specific times. You may choose to provide this weekend’s open gym registration to parents who may be waiting in the school pick-up line or at the bus stop and inspire a spontaneous opt-in that wouldn’t happen if they had to check their email or an event calendar to learn about the event. Because of the convenience and simplicity of your app, clients may more quickly pay for events and reduce your need to chase down fees. Parents are able to click on the push notification and go straight to the registration page for the event.

Special events are especially popular via mobile apps and can increase revenues anywhere from 5%-10%for organizations. Single digit increases don’t seem significant but it can be – representing additions to revenue in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“We saw a 4.5% increase in revenues for special events after implementing the app. We love to see incremental increases in specific areas especially when we see that we can sustain those increases across the year,” notes Scott Barron, Barron Gymnastics.

Cal Elite Kids was elated with their increase in unique users after pushing out just one notification. The increase was an impressive 1138.46%, going from 26 unique users to 322. Across five events that they promoted using push notifications, Cal Elite Kids had an average unique user increase of 494.84%.

Additionally, Cal Elite Kids has increased total enrollments by adding 731 through their mobile app. And of course, a revenue increase accompanies the enrollment increase.

Push Notifications give parents more opportunities to enroll. And more opportunities to buy translate into more revenue.

Stars & Stripes Kids enjoys an exponential increase in app-driven revenues. Today’s parents are last minute shoppers. The mobile app gives them a something at their disposal opening up complete access to the information they need to easily and rapidly make buying decisions.

“Our parents love it that they can even enroll their kid and pay for a hand spring clinic just an hour before it starts. Enrollment in our one-off activities has had the most obvious impact from this. We give the more, easier, up-to-the-minute opportunities to buy from their phones – and they’re doing it.” Brian Foster, Stars & Stripes Kids

How many unique visitors do you have via the app?

This question inspires thoughts that will have you gathering comparison metrics that will help you fully understand what is happening for your business through your app. Comparing unique visitors to active clients to see how many clients are using the app is definitely valuable to know. Hopefully, this percentage is high. Your goal – or one of your goals – is to provide the app as an enhancement to customer service for your clients. A low percentage of actual active clients who are users may indicate that you should change where you offer the app for download or what information is required to download it.

It’s also good to look at daily usage to understand the pace at which your users are visiting your app. You can even see use trends in the days of the week or weeks of the month. Averaging daily use over the course of each month also gives you an idea of what times of the year your app gets the heaviest use. This information is valuable for tailoring marketing/promotion campaigns or tweaking your customer service hours or actions to accommodate identified trends and alerting your staff to the most common needs among your users.

How can the app reduce the front desk load?

After implementing your app, you’re sure to notice a reduction in front desk traffic as users find answers to questions on their own – via the app. This is a great bonus benefit that can help your front office staff spend more time building relationships instead of answering enrollment, payment or scheduling questions.

How many enrollments are you getting through your mobile app?

This number alone may be valuable to you because you have a relative sense of how this number alone fits in with your other statistics. But using your total enrollment numbers with your in-app enrollments to figure out what percentage of your enrollment is coming through your app can be valuable when you need to share metrics in a more general way with staff members or those in your professional peer group.

The breakdown of special events enrollment vs. instructional class enrollment is also an important metric. This information comes in handy when making promotional decisions or for deciding the appropriate time for adding new events. These metrics provide insight into your areas of strength and alert you to areas where you have gaps. This data may even help you focus on ways that you can weed out events that aren’t adding value or tweak event days/times to make them more palatable to families.

How many responses do you get to push notifications?

This metric – and breakdowns of it – are very valuable in keeping a pulse on your clients’ preferences.

Push notifications are a beautiful thing because they’re a direct communication method into your parents’ pockets. They’ve chosen to get the notifications, so they have no basis for complaining about them. You also won’t get dinged for sending too much email. Push notifications are also easy to track.

What impact to your unique user numbers do push notifications actually have? It’s likely that sending out push notifications will tremendously increase the use of your mobile app among your active clients. Because of this fact, push notifications can be an effective way to promote your app.

BarronGraph forMetricPost

Each peak represents a surge in enrollments immediately after sending a push notification. (Example courtesy of Barron Gymnastics)

Whether it’s delivering critical information, providing an easier service option or offering enrollment in specific events, push notifications add value by:

  • Delivering up-to-the-minute information.
  • Bringing in more money.
  • Inspiring more spontaneous purchases.
  • Reducing hassles for parents and staff.

It’s important to see the breakdown of specific notifications: what you sent to whom and when. Knowing what notifications parents are reading most often helps you send more useful information at the times that parents prefer to get it.

We’ve seen clients experience app user growth at as much as 600% after pushing out one notification for a given event.

What are parents getting in push notifications?

You may be delivering critical facility closing or change information, or offering enrollment to specific events or classes. Perhaps you’re even offering early enrollment or mobile make-up requests as an enticement to download the app.

Using the app for these activities can save you money if your cost to perform these services is reduced because of the use of the app and increase your revenue if parents are acting on spontaneity and purchasing via push notifications.

"Push notifications are a revenue booster because they give us the ability to deliver notifications directly to parents at a moment’s notice. We can promote the activities that are lagging behind in enrollments and move them up the popularity and revenue generating scale.” Brian Foster, Stars & Stripes Kids

Don’t misunderstand this. Revenue increases aren’t the only way to judge your app’s success.

Revenue increases are one of the most obvious identifiers of your app’s success. But trying to calculate your return on investment may not be your focus. Many of the benefits of the app are soft returns instead of the hard returns that factor in on an ROI calculation.

If your existing customers are adopting your app, then your app is making their experience better. You are providing them with the methods and platforms that they prefer for doing business with you. The customer happiness factor is a more subliminal identifier of success than revenue generation but it’s no doubt that it makes your business better. And success with that factor, in itself, is actually priceless.

“My goal in creating a mobile app was never revenue generation. Our goal was to create a customer service tool and to provide another way to communicate with parents. We’re offering them multiple ways to register, check event dates and times and confirm information. It helps to cut down on questions to our front desk because parents easily find their own answers.” Scott Barron, Barron Gymnastics

How important are your app’s metrics?

Scott Barron believes the ability to track what is happening with the app is critical to its existence.

“If I didn’t have metrics, I’d think twice about even having the app. We don’t do marketing we can’t track and the app is definitely part of our marketing strategy. We’re simply enhancing our services to our families which is what we should always be focused on doing. Our mobile app has worked wonders for us without causing disruptions or issues. I never hear that it’s not working correctly. It’s simply awesome.” Scott Barron, Barron Gymnastics

There’s no doubt that reading and understanding your mobile app metrics helps you to understand which app features are most valuable to your business, but gaining this understand is also important because it helps you understand which features are the most valuable to your families.

  • Parents may constantly hit your calendar to confirm dates and times instead of calling your front desk folks.
  • They may request and get confirmation on a make-up date without ever dialing your facility number.
  • They may totally blow up enrollment for particular special events.

Whatever parents do the most, your ability to understanding it helps you to figure out new ways to use your app or to tweak the features you have so that they drive even more value to your business and derive an even better experience from your gym.