Mobile app engagement benchmarks & trends for 2024

One of the biggest mistakes a product team can make after launching a new app is growing complacent. It’s easy to assume that after the product is out there, it’s just a matter of maintenance. The truth is that launching the product is just the beginning of a long process of refining, optimizing, and improving your app.

To maintain a favorable position against competitors, every business must have a good benchmarking strategy. For digital products, this means tracking stats like engagement, which is one of the most indicative metrics of a successful app.

As the new year rolls around, new trends will emerge that change the way you look at these metrics and possibly require you to change your course of action. In this article, we’re going to discuss these changes coming to the market in 2023 and what they mean for your existing benchmarking strategy.

What is benchmarking and why should I care?

Benchmarking is when you compare the key statistics of your products with your competitors. This is done to see the performance of your products and how they are performing in relation to others in the same category.

Without good benchmarking, any direction you take or decision you make for your app is just a gamble. Leaving things to chance is not an effective or sustainable way to ensure long-term growth.

Understanding crucial engagement metrics

Engagement metrics such as session length, daily active users (DAU), monthly active users (MAU), and churn rates indicate user behavior, summarizing how they interact with your app. These numbers tell a company a lot of things about the app, from current performance to anticipated growth. They can even indicate which aspects are performing better than others and which need to be improved.

Since there are so many ways to evaluate app engagement, we won’t discuss them all in one article. Rather, let’s focus on defining a few key metrics relevant to the trends we’ll be discussing later on.

Conversion rate: The percentage of users that complete a conversion event.

Average session length: The amount of time users spend on your app per session on average.

Daily/monthly active users (DAU/MAU): The number of people who launch an app on a daily/monthly basis.

Retention rate: The ability for your app to retain the same users over a period of time (usually calculated for both the short-term of 1–7 days and the long-term of 28 days or more).

Screen per visit: The number of screens or pages a user browses per session.

Social shares: The number of times an app is shared, recommended, or suggested on social media. 

Now that we have a basic understanding of some mobile app engagement metrics, let’s take a closer look at how they might be affected by 2023 app trends. Keep in mind that when you know what the numbers indicate, it’s easier to decide where to dedicate resources for sustainable growth.

Key engagement trends in 2023

Much like most businesses in the world, the goal of any app is to make it sticky, meaning to acquire new users and keep them coming back for as long as possible. The strategy to go about acquiring and retaining new users will depend on the type of your app and the direction and sentiments of the market.

These market trends come and go in a cycle, with engagement metrics reflecting these trends as they happen. If there’s a global event that affects how long people spend on their phones, these metrics will reflect it.

By comparing these data to historical data or studying a rising movement in the world, you can utilize predictive analysis to implement preemptive changes.

With that said, let’s dive into the three market trends that will change how users engage with your app and how you should benchmark them:

The AI uprising: A major increase in AI integration

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a major buzzword in recent years, as more and more businesses integrate machine learning and automation into their operations.

While AI was initially limited to areas such as data analysis and management, we are seeing more of it in other fields recently. AI arts, animation, music, and Internet of things (IoT) are just some of the rising trends that have grown exponentially in the last two years.

It is without a doubt that AI will become a major part of the app market in one way or another. 

Engagement metrics that will reflect effective AI integration are:

  • Shorter session lengths for convenience and service-based apps that focus on speed
  • Longer session lengths for entertainment apps that focus on personalization and accessibility
  • Higher conversion and retention rates in general

The integration of AI technology will help improve the efficiency and personalization factor of many apps, which will result in better search engine recommendations. Features such as voice commands will also become more accurate as the system familiarizes itself with each user’s speech.

Apps that focus on convenience and services may see shorter session lengths, which is a good thing. It means your users are finishing what they need to do more quickly. With entertainment apps and similar products that aim to capture users’ attention, enhanced suggestion features and accessibility should help keep them around for longer periods of time

To accommodate these changes in user behavior, you should:

  • A/B test your AI elements
  • Keep those elements low-profile to maintain a “human touch”
  • Make calls-to-action as accessible as possible

Hybrid work will dominate the market

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has largely subsided, it’s undeniable that its effects are still visible in people’s lifestyles. One area that was most affected by the virus was employment and work hours, as many people found themselves working from home for prolonged periods of time.

Many organizations have found that the hybrid work model—with a set number of designated office hours and the rest spent working from home—works very well for them.

Engagement metrics that will reflect hybrid work schedules are:

  • Higher screens per visit
  • Erratic session lengths
  • Less time from acquisition to conversion/churn

This trend has created a change in users' behaviors, as the time they spend on apps become more erratic. It might also increase the amount of time people spend on apps on the go, as they will commute to work or complete errands at irregular intervals.

According to a 2019 study, commuters are 3 times more likely to redeem coupons compared to when they are at home. This gives you the opportunity to use geo-location to your advantage and send out push notifications while they are on the go.

To accommodate these changes in user behavior, you should:

Super apps will become the norm

Super apps are apps that integrate multiple functionalities together in one package. Some prominent examples include LINE (originally made to be just a chat app, now used to make payments, play games, read news, and even stream shows) and Uber (first launched as a ride-sharing app, but now aiming to be a one-stop service for all logistic needs, from food and small packages to large-scale freight truck services.)

Keep in mind that super apps are not the same as cross-platform apps that run on multiple OS

You can expect to see more of these multipurpose apps in 2023, as they act as the access hub for any and all services that a company provides. This makes super apps a natural choice for growing businesses that are looking to expand their services.

Engagement metrics to expect from super apps schedules are

  • Increase in long-term retention (9-28 days) 
  • Increased social shares
  • More DAU/MAU on average

Super apps are supposed to increase retention due to the all-encompassing nature of the product. People will have more reasons to come back to your app than before. As your list of services grows, so should your user base. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that your system can handle the increased workload from the influx of users.

To accommodate these changes in user behavior, you should:

  • Improve the onboarding process to prepare users for more complex features and functions
  • Monitor user interactions with the app to make sure they’re finding what they’re looking for
  • Ensure every function and feature is working as intended

Set yourself up for success with a strong benchmarking strategy

At the end of the day, there’s no one size fits all strategy for benchmarking your app’s performance. What metrics you should look at and what you should do with that data ultimately depends on your product. 

There are always standards set by big players that smaller brands can aim to replicate and adapt to their business model, basing their benchmarking against their performance. An effective benchmarking strategy will act as a beacon that will help new players navigate the turbulent nature of the market.

The key is to maintain patience, exercise consideration towards users, and stay committed to laying good groundwork while constantly checking and comparing your progress along the way. With all that, you can begin setting yourself up for a bright future in the industry.


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