Mobile UA Analytics – Cracking the Code

Image shows a lock that symbolised the complexity of user acquisition in mobile apps

As you may or may not know, user acquisition (UA) refers to attracting loyal and valuable customers that will download your app and continue using it. As the ultimate goal of any app publisher, UA plays an important role in the dynamic and growing mobile app industry, so it is paramount to stay on top of it at all times. This can be done with the help of mobile user acquisition analytics.

Importance of Proper UA Analytics

Mobile user acquisition analytics helps you keep a close eye on what your users are doing. That way, you could gain valuable insights on how to optimize your mobile user acquisition strategies and attract new customers, as well as retaining the old ones.

According to statistics, as many as 82% of users do not care to look beyond the top 25 search results in app stores. Furthermore, 30% will download the highest ranking app in a category. The second best app will get 17% of users, while the third one will get 12%.

The chances diminish to almost 0% if your app is below #10. User data analytics can be used directly to help you optimize your ranking in the app store and win more customers.


UA Terminology

Let’s take a look at the few important terms in user acquisition analytics:

  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Used for measuring an app’s performance over time, KPIs are important to your business’ efforts as they ensure the goals are aligned with the overall business objectives. KPIs include metrics such as install rate, conversion rate, retention rate, cost per install, cost per action, etc. (we’ll get to this later).

  • Cohort

This term refers to groups of users segmented by certain pre-defined criteria for the purpose of tracking the gameplay and revenue performance. A cohort shares common characteristics or experiences, usually within a specified time-span.

  • A/B Testing

This is the process of applying and running multiple features and comparing them against each other to see which one works better than the other. The two almost identical versions with a single variation are tested with similar users. The one that performed better will be chosen as a definite solution.

For all the other terms you need to know in mobile advertising, check out our Complete Mobile Advertising Glossary.


As briefly mentioned above, KPIs refer to metrics used in analyzing performance with a focus on specific goals. There are countless KPIs and it could take days to describe each and every one of them, so in this article, we will devote our attention to the most common of them, which include:

1. Install rate (IR)

Refers to the percentage of the users who downloaded an app after clicking/tapping an ad. It is calculated by dividing the number of installs by the number of clicks/taps.

2. Conversion rate (CVR)

The percentage of the number of users that downloaded a game over the impressions. CVR is calculated by dividing the number of installs by the number of impressions.

3. Retention rate/stickiness

Referring to the number of users that come back to your app after a certain period of time has passed, an app’s retention rate is calculated by dividing monthly active users by monthly installs.

4. Cost per install (CPI)

CPI is the fixed or bid price paid by the app advertiser every time a user installs their app via their ads. It is calculated by dividing the cost of ad spend with a total number of installs during a set time period.

5. Cost per acquisition/action (CPA)

The cost of acquiring a paying customer or getting them to perform a specific action is calculated by dividing the cost with the conversion. In other words, CPA measures the price of converting a visitor into a customer.

6. Cost per mille (CPM)

Also called “cost per thousand”, CPM is the fixed price paid by the advertiser for every 1,000 clicks or views of their ad. Divide the cost of an ad with a total number of impressions, then multiply the result by 1,000 and you will get your CPM.

7. Effective cost per mille (eCPM)

Used to measure the cost of every 1,000th ad impression, regardless of the buying method, eCPM is calculated by dividing the total revenue with the total number of impressions and then multiplying the result by 1,000. Unlike CPM, eCPM is variable.

8. Lifetime value (LTV)

Often averaged across a cohort, LTV refers to the total value of a user if given enough time to fully exhaust all opportunities to pay or watch ads in the app. Most publishers try to create models for future prediction of LTV on the basis of early activity (first few days) to help them make better and quicker decisions marketing-wise.


UA Analytics Platforms

The list of platforms that offer services of user acquisition analytics is extremely long. Here are just a few worth mentioning, while you can find the rest at currently the most exhaustive list:

And of course, last but not least – SOOMLA. We’d love to show you how SOOMLA can help you measure advertising revenue per user, cohort, and traffic source so feel free to request a demo to get a taste of the action.

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