By Tobin Harris, February 3, 2022

Managing Director at Pocketworks, app development specialists.

Planning Your App 

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A hugely useful thing to do at the start of your app development journey is to establish KPIs that define what success looks like. Aligning your app with business KPIs helps you measure progress and invest your energy in the right places. Your app needs to get results, so use KPIs to frame them in a meaningful way.

What are KPIs?

KPIs are just the numbers that you want to see improve as a result of building your app. Here are some examples.

A taxi rank wants to increase its automated bookings from 40% to 60% to reduce strain on the call centre. The KPI here is "% Automation Bookings". 

An online merchant wants to increase the number of customers who order more than once so it doesn't have to spend so much on Google ads to sell its products. The KPI here might be "% of repeat bookings"

This article is mostly concerned with business KPIs. It's worth noting that each app should have a set of product KPIs (bounce rate, retention etc) which I'll talk about separately. 

So, where do you start when finding the business KPIs that underpin your mobile app?

Where to start

KPIs are there to steer you toward your goals. So, what changes do want to make in your business?

  • Do you want to attract more customers?
  • Or perhaps you want to attract a different type of customer?
  • Do you want to reduce the load on your call centre?
  • Do you want to encourage more repeat business?
  • Do you want to create a new offering with its own revenue stream?

If you have one, your current business or departmental strategy should make it fairly easy to decide the kind of impact you want an app to have. The KPIs are simply measurements of these outcomes.

An example KPI

Now that you know your important goals, it's good to pull out some KPIs and stick a number on them if you haven't already. A target is good too, we like to start ambitious yet realistic. 

For example:

  • KPI: % Repeat Orders
  • Target: We aim for our app to generate a 10% uplift in repeat orders, from 13% to 23% over 6 months.

Now you know what you're shooting for, how will you measure how much your app will move the needle?

Measuring your KPIs

Measuring KPIs starts with data. Once you know what your KPIs are, you need to make sure you capture clean data that gives visibility of what is happening. Then you can use that to observe if you are on track toward your KPI.

If your mobile app is connected to your key business systems, then you'll probably already have something in place to report on your KPIs. It might be your eCommerce system or Tableau or similar.

The main thing is to make sure your app sends data in such a way that your systems can trace results to your app development effort. If making a taxi app, you'd want to distinguish an app order from an online/phone one.

If you don't have systems in place for telling you this stuff, you can use systems such as Amplitude or Google Analytics to capture and report on these KPIs.

Visualising your KPIs

This is going to depend on the systems you use to capture the data and measure. Things like Tableau will give you an option to send daily or weekly emails containing your KPIs. And of course, you can see them on the dashboards too. Some companies put them on a big TV screen on the wall. 

One recommendation is that you make them available to your product development team so they can see the impact of the work they are having. 

Also, bring the data to your regular product planning and roadmap review meetings. This way you can decide what to do next based on your progress toward your goals.

Using your KPIs during app design

KPIs help app designers create better apps. This is because they can design for business outcomes alongside customer outcomes.

For example "We've made customer registration optional to prevent losing 60% of our new customers before they even get into the app".

This is what "outcomes over output" is all about.

Communicating KPIs to help maintain focus 

You should communicate your KPIs often. It helps your digital product development team stay focused. Many decisions can be evaluated against the KPIs. For example, "We need to pick some good marketing tech because we know user retention is key here."

That's it for now. Find me on Linked In or give us a call if you'd like to chat more about using KPIs and data to drive your digital product development.

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About Pocketworks

Pocketworks is a mobile-first software company that helps organisations improve their customer experience with mobile technology. We enable our clients use research and data to find the right solution and deliver apps and digital products that increase customer satisfaction and retention.
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