6 Mobile App Myths That Should Be Retired Immediately

Mobile may no longer be new, but it’s still uncharted territory for many people, filled with persistent myths and misconceptions. Complicating these unknowns is the fact that mobile behaviors are evolving, so previously held beliefs are also being challenged.

Which assumptions should you steer clear of when creating, launching and optimizing your mobile solution?

1. Downloads are the most important metric for measuring success

Downloads are important, but they tend to be a superficial metric because they signal one-time users, not repeat ones. Companies typically judge the effectiveness of an acquisition campaign on downloads alone, but not all downloads generate actual users. There is not a one-to-one correlation between people who download your app and people who use your app. Downloads alone can't show the long-term value of mobile users to your business.

2. Measuring Monthly Active Users (MAUs) is not important

No two users are going to have the same recurring usage pattern, so you need to know as much as possible about your users to improve your app. The measurement of MAUs is an important growth benchmark to know if your users are returning month after monthHaving a readily available metric that represents how many active users you have means that you can realistically plan your mobile-growth strategy. 

3. Mobile requires a stand-alone strategy

Mobile penetration and usage is ubiquitous enough that it warrants its own metrics, user experience and growth strategies, but that doesn't mean your mobile app or site should be built as a stand-alone channel. The success of mobile-first companies, such as Runkeeper and VSCO, and Web-centric companies like ESPN that have made mobile the cornerstone of their strategies, demonstrates why you can (and should) leverage your mobile channel as part of your larger strategy.

4. Revenue is the only measure of Lifetime Value (LTV)

Even if your business model doesn't include in-app purchases, you can still identify quantifiable value for each user and define their ROI. Non-monetary measures, such as articles read, social shares, friends or followers, or screens viewed, can all be measures of LTV. The value you derive from your users should align with your mobile goals and your overall business plan. Media publishers will have inherently different goals than e-commerce companies, so identify the value that best fits your needs.

5. Analytics aren't worth the investment

Businesses often shortchange themselves when it comes to analytics to quickly get to the action: the marketing. However, tracking and analyzing key engagement metrics is your best bet in continuously optimizing your app marketing. Without an analytics foundation that enables you to create highly actionable insights from, for example, rich segments and retroactive funnels, you are marketing blind.

6. Web marketing tools will work for mobile marketing

Web analytics and marketing platforms are everywhere, and rightfully so. They fulfill a real need that Web marketers have today. But they are not adequate solutions for mobile analytics and marketing because users act differently on mobile, and the insights gained during those sessions vary greatly. Mobile metrics like session length and app stickiness are important because they're direct ways of measuring behavior that is specific to the mobile app channel. Using these insights, companies can then create highly targeted and personalized marketing campaigns through in-app messaging to convert users while they're in the mobile moment or with push messages to re-engage with latent users outside of the app. Companies need tools created specifically for mobile marketing to meet their mobile-specific needs.

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