Flipkart & Hike messenger recently announced that they crossed 50M downloads, kudos to them, it is indeed a massive achievement. Not to take anything away from them, but downloads are pure vanity metrics, specially if your app is more than an year or so old as the initial traction has already been achieved.
Let’s look at another app. Let’s call it App X for now. App X has more than 100M Downloads, close to 2.3M ratings, an average of 3.9 ratings. All the numbers are impressive. Still wondering which app is this? This is WhatsApp Wallpapers. The interesting point is that the app has not been updated since 2011 and is still pushing up on the App Ranking ladder. If you were to believe AppAnnie, it got featured by Google Play on the 22nd of March this year. It also ranks #120 in all Apps in India beating apps like Colour Switch, Redbus, Oyo Rooms, Yep Me and more. So all the metrics we listed above are vanity metrics, the useful metric would be the number of installs the App still has, which only Google & Facebook know. Now, do you think App Rank is also a vanity metric? Do comment below.
Vanity metrics are metrics which are rarely actionable and almost always show the wrong insights. Page views, Downloads, Time Spent on Page/App, bounce rate are some of them. Vanity metrics can easily be manipulated to get the desired outcome and in most cases don’t have a predictable co-relation with most other metrics. Downloads & Page views can easily be increased by increasing your marketing spend, but in most cases all other metrics will not have the same growth, in some cases you actually see a decline in other actionable metrics, when your acquisition are up your revenue might actually be down.
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