How to Measure Your App’s Success

smartphone with floating globe

So, your dealership’s launched an app, but you don’t know how to tell if it’s actually getting the results you want. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, follow these best practices from DMEautomotive’s groundbreaking eBook, The Pocket Revolution: The Complete Guide to a Killer Mobile App, to find out if you’re setting the right performance benchmarks when measuring your app’s success.

The number of downloads is the single most important initial metric when it comes to the measuring your app’s success. This is because out of the gate, your goal must be to build your database of users.

To start, set a reasonable “annual downloads” goal using this formula:

  • Take the number of VIN records in your DMS (your number of customers) and multiply it by 0.75 (the average dealership’s percentage of DMS/customer records that are “good” and actionable, according to DMEautomotive’s 2013 Strategy and Analytics Research).
  • Multiply that figure by 0.67 (the average dealer’s number of “good” records in their DMS of customers who have actually done business with them in the last 24 months).
  • Multiply that number by 0.40, to get a current estimate for the percentage of current customers who are app users with a smartphone. (The percentage of dealer customers who use mobile apps is actually 49 percent, but lets use this number to err on the side of safety.)

So what’s your answer? The resulting number is what your achievable, reasonable, and targeted 12-month download objective should be. Break that number down even more to find out how many downloads you need to drive each day. The download targets will vary greatly according to the size of each store’s DMS, but according to DMEautomotive research, the average dealer needs to hit about 12 downloads per day over the period of a year to be healthy.

Your next and equal focus should be on the number of customer accounts created in your app. Encourage each customer to establish an account, entering their personal and vehicle information upon download, so they don’t have to enter this information every time they schedule service or submit a dealer inquiry. At least 50 percent of your customers who downloaded the app should establish a personal account.

The various metrics that reveal how, and with what intensity, your customers are engaging with your app are also of utmost importance. Measure the amount of time spent per customer visit. Our research shows that a good benchmark is a range of 10 to 24 minutes; roughly four times more than the time spent on your dealer website.

Measure the average pages viewed per visit. Successful dealer apps should drive an average of 10-15 page views per app visit, or roughly twice as many page views as your dealer website. This is the part of the app that requires you to give users a good reason to come back or stick around. Otherwise, your customers will fail to engage with your app.

What app areas are you customers engaging with the most? You want your vehicle management and inventory pages to stay in the top five because they’re critical to driving more business. And, as far as repeat visitors, roughly 60–85 percent of your visitors should be returning users. Of course, in the first few months after launching your app, your percentage of new users will be nearly 100 percent. But after roughly three months, you will want repeat visitors to make up at least 60 percent of total visits. Another great indicator of app success is how many times a month your customers turn to your app. Aim for an average of three to six visits per unique user over a 90 day period.

Finally, you should be taking the time to constantly improve your app. When the time comes to update, you will want roughly 75 percent of original users to reinstall the app when that update notice pops up. If less than 67 percent of consumers re-install your app, it’s yet another sign your app is failing the use-value test—or that they were never properly shown how to use it.

You need to have some patience, as it typically takes about a year for customers to really build up “muscle memory” around an app. In the long run, however, if it is built right, and it makes the consumer’s life easier, you can expect your data to reflect the retention you want.

Mike Martinez is chief marketing officer of DMEautomotive, an industry leader in science-based, results-driven automotive marketing that provides a range of marketing services to the biggest and most innovative automotive organizations in the industry. For more information, email

Michael Bowen


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