Editor’s note: this is a sponsored post written for adjust.

The logical answer to ‘you can’t improve what you don’t measure’ would be ‘measure everything’, but a problem arises when you actually do measure everything: you can spend too much time looking at vanity numbers instead of focusing on what matters. It’s one thing to track metrics just for the sake of it, and another is to use metrics in a way that drives your business forward.

Thankfully there are people who know a lot about metrics. We sat down with Simon Kendall, Head of Communications at adjust to come up with some practical tips on how to view metrics when you are just starting out. adjust focuses on mobile app metrics and have clients from the Nordics like Grand Cru, Seriously, MAG Interactive, and Soundcloud, so it is fair to say that they know their stuff when it comes to numbers.

Together, we came up with five tips to understand and use metrics better:

#1 Understand Your Goals
Before you can even begin, you need to understand what your goals are on at least two different levels.

First, what is your business model all about and where you do derive revenue from? Second, what are the exact actions inside your app that the users need to take in order for that business model to work?

Write those down. This is the basis for building the structure and designing how you will use your metrics.

#2 Focus on key conversion points instead of cookie cutter metrics
Every business & every app varies a lot. They have different goals, the apps work in dissimilar ways and they all monetize in a multitude of ways. So creating a “one fits them all” approach just can’t work.

So according to Simon, instead of focusing on specific metrics you should look at the whole process while still taking the end-game that you designed in step one into consideration.

“Lets say we have a mobile game. We know that we have an entry point. For instance, the user goes for the tutorial and they might try out a few different game modes after that. What is the typical path before they will either drop out or become a dedicated user. What are the key points in that process? What are the break-off points? People who are really successful focus on the conversion points where users become engaged.”

#3 Choose four-five key metrics to look at everyday.
It is easy to get overburdened by metrics or even to get addicted to them. As Simon commented: “Wanting to do everything at the same time is not exactly the approach you need. ”

Instead, you should only pick four or five highly calibrated metrics and focus on those for your day-to-day activities.

At the same time, you naturally need to be tracking a lot more things in the background. This is because once your key metrics start telling a story, you will want to dig in.

Naturally, you should try to stay away from vanity metrics, that might make you feel good – but do not provide any value or actionable points for the business. As Simon comments, “[Vanity metrics are just nice, which is a normal human interaction. I habitually watch the page loads on my website, I know that they are not that important. I just like looking how many people come. So it is fine to watch them from time to time, but you need to be reasonable.”

#4 The metrics you use and the stage of your business go hand-in-hand. Plan accordingly.
There’s a right time and place for metrics. For instance if you start looking at the lifetime value of your customer, when you only have a couple of downloads a day – your sample size will be too small to make any real deductions.

Moreover, you probably have not figured out your conversion numbers yet, nor did you have the chance to optimize the process. Again, there is no single rule for this. But broadly speaking, at the very early stage, you should be focusing on conversion, on-boarding and figuring out social interactions that work.

Once you figure that out and the numbers look good, you can start focusing on acquisition. Finally, when things are looking up and you have successfully proven both your hypothesis and acquisition approach, you can start diving very deeply into retention metrics.

#5 Metrics is a work in progress. Always keep a trial and error attitude.
As is everything with startups, metrics is a fluid process. Your app develops, your hypothesis might change and thus you always need to experiment with getting the most out of the data that is available to you.

Once you have set everything up and it has been running for a little bit – go back. Reanalyze your hypothesis vs. the business model vs. the data that you have. Is your set-up ideal? Never stop thinking about ways of improving your key metrics.


About adjust
adjust is a mobile attribution and analytics company that provides app marketers with a comprehensive business intelligence platform. adjust combines attribution for advertising sources with advanced analytics and store statistics such as rankings, ratings and reviews.

Attribution enables mobile app marketers to identify where a user came from and when they installed the app. In the analytics department, adjust offers cohort analysis in addition to deliverable analytics that count sales, events, sessions, installs and clicks. Marketers can group users together by common criteria, such as the install time. KPIs can then be normalized over the lifetime of the user. Additional product features include: app store statistics like global rankings displayed in the dashboard, deep-linking fallback and reattribution for re-engagement campaigns.