App Growth Metrics

3min read

App Growth Metrics

Can you think of one universal aspect of every single app in the store? The answer to that question would be one word, growth. Whenever an app developer conceives an app idea he begins (or really should) to think about how the idea is going to grow and how to measure that growth. I recently stumbled across John Egan’s post about how the Pinterest team measures its growth and I thought that this may be of interest to app developers as a good model to approximate their app. John has worked on the Pinterest growth team since 2013 and is responsible for the platform growth and engagement level increase. According to John, Pinterest has 27 metrics to measure its growth. Let’s take a look at these metrics below.


MAU stands for Monthly Active Users. These are the people who use your app regularly. These are the people you have created your app for. You aren’t in the mobile app business to get a minimal amount of downloads for your app and be happy with that number, you need regular users for your app. For Pinterest MAU, the metric splits into 6 different versions including general, forecast, by app, by gender, by country and accounting. The latest version is an extremely important one. It shows how different factors contribute to overall MAU growth. Essentially this metric will show what specific features help your app to grow and get more and more regular users.


Any app user goes through this first stage. The Pinterest team measures total sign ups, sign ups per app (iOS vs. Android), by referrals and several others that deal with the social sharing including invitations sent, unique invite senders, invite sign ups. As you can see, all these metrics show how well the system grows in terms of number of users. In regards to your app the analogs can be a number of new users, sign ups for a service you may offer inside your app for people to sign up, or any other actions you’re expecting your app users to take.


Pinterest is a big visual discovery, collection, and storage tool with more than 70 million users. Because of its scale there are some metrics that are specific to Pinterest but can still be applied to a broad range of mobile apps as well. Pinterest engineers measure a number of users who come back to Pinterest after a one week period, splitting this number by gender, site vs. mobile app, and the number of people who become MAU after being WAU (weekly active users).


To measure Pinterest engagement levels John suggests calculating ratios between DAU, WAU and MAU. All these ratios will give you a good picture of how well you manage to keep your app users engaged. If after several months of having your app on the market you see that the bulk of people who are active daily continue to be active weekly and then monthly, it means that you’re hitting a sweet spot with your app users but that is not a reason to relax and just enjoy the ride. People get bored, even with the most engaging apps. It’s human nature to crave for novelty. It was said many times before but I’m going to repeat it – having a roadmap of features for your app is a must. Keep delighting your app users in order to keep them constantly engaged.


This is an interesting word choice on behalf of Pinterest but it simply means that they measure how many people come back onto Pinterest after abandoning it for a while. I think this metric is universal and can be applied to any app category so you need to measure it. All of the metrics listed above require user behavior SDK installation inside your app. Otherwise it is a blind-fly. To measure these crucial metrics for your app growth we suggest solutions like Mixpanel, Localytics and GameAnalytics. If you have any questions about this topic, here at ComboApp we are always open to help. Send us a message via the contact form.

Build great apps and measure their growth intelligently!

Art Dogtiev, Head of Branded Content