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There is an app for everything. In this day and age, from silly games to apps that monitor your heart rate, consolidate your to-do lists and even help you spy on your spouse. Tablets and smartphones are overtaking computers; many have their first experience of using the web on a smartphone instead of a computer.

As a result, people who are operating an online business today must consider having an app for a mobile device. As an app maker, one is never satisfied with the number of downloads. How do you know what a good number is for downloads or if your app is a winner or a loser depending on downloads?

This fundamental question can be answered based on the reason why you want an app and the kind of app you are planning to make.

Possibly, you have an objective for creating an app, but you do not have a clear idea about how you will measure and if you have made the criteria to meet success.

To sum up, there are some objectives that developers tend to measure success or failure for an app.

Objective 1: Revenue from in-app Purchases

If your key reason is to originate revenue from in-app purchases, then the success of an app is based on the number of downloads you will need on the average transaction value of your in-app purchases. There’s no hard and fast way to propose a standard that x number of downloads will be a sufficient figure for this objective, but there is a way you can make a good estimate by setting a target revenue number you need to operate to keep it sustainable.

If you have launched an app, you know the first four days of your launch are the most crucial. App launch typically works like a bell curve. It is most likely to receive low downloads on its first day. This could be because of various reasons, play store processing your app, or even the time of day it was published. Don’t lose hope. The next day or two you usually see a better and higher download number. It could be X2 or maybe X50, but it is more or less always higher. These are typically the convincing download numbers you can presume to receive moving ahead. If you are at 47 downloads, it doesn’t really mean your app is dead. If it is a paid app at $2.99, then you are profiting $140 a day.

Objective 2: Drive Engagement on Mobile


If your key objective is to drive engagement on mobile through your app, then you should measure downloads in a comparative manner.

For this case, you may measure success by observing if a percentage of your total users installed the app is at large. If you have this objective in mind then, it is recommended to use social media, blogging, and email marketing to increase the number of downloads of your app, instead of counting on your app store solely.

The objective is to grow profits through amplified usage of the service largely. You could measure this either by revenue per customer or an average transaction price.

Objective 3: Test a feature set you plan to monetize later

If you are launching an app to test a feature set that you plan to monetize later, then you possibly will be measuring your success in terms of total downloads, in addition to a few other key aspects such as average rate of use of the app and average session time, despite the fact that you may be measuring your success in downloads.

However, success is still to be defined in terms of your expectations for the number of users you can transfigure to paying customers after you set the payment options. The average transaction value you forecast, and the amount of revenue you will need to generate to have a sustainable business.

Objective 4: App for Fun


If you are making an app for fun, perhaps you are making an app for you or for your friends to use. If your objective is to simply have fun, then no need to focus on bench marking and forecasting.

Just enjoy the experience of creating an app and having various users downloading it. For you, any number of download is a success for you.

After what is said and done, people want to see a high number of downloads for their apps. Ranking of an app matters in an app store, review on quality and quantity are also the key factors for an application to be considered as a success.

You need to read those reviews and analyze those reviews, and if things are not going as you have hoped and planned, your users will be leaving you clues in respect of what and where it needs improvement.

About the Author:

Ian Naylor is the Founder and CEO of AppInstitute, a DIY app builder platform for small businesses. He’s responsible for strategy, business development and product leadership.

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