Tracking installs used to be the standard measurement of success for mobile app advertisers. But as anyone with an array of barely touched apps on their mobile device can attest, installation doesn’t equate to engagement. In other words, a million downloads are meaningless to marketers and app developers if users aren’t coming back and creating value, either through in-app purchases, display ad monetisation or even brand recognition.
As the mobile channel evolves, advertisers are quickly recognising that engagement is the new mantra for the most successful and profitable mobile app advertisers. And engagement isn’t only the solution for user monetisation, but also determines an app’s rank in the mobile ecosystem. Consider Apple’s stance on engagement: Last fall it was reported that the company was modifying its App Store rankings algorithm in a move to take usage and positive reviews into account when determining an app’s position on the Top Charts list. This decision directly correlated to an explosion of buggy and subpar apps dominating the App Store charts because of a shift to incentivised download campaigns. While this corrected the general malaise within the App Store rankings, it left unsophisticated advertisers searching for options to maximise their return on marketing investment.
Here are some key best practices for moving beyond downloads to measure and understand the most important factor for mobile marketing success: engagement.
- Define what successful engagement means. At its most basic level, “engagement” refers to how consumers are interacting with an app. Good apps have higher levels of engagement, which means that people actually use them. But depending on the type of app your brand is marketing — Is it a game? Cooking app? A personal productivity app? — engagement might be measured according to different criteria.