The mobile app industry has witnessed explosive growth over the past 10 years and mobile apps have now become ubiquitous and an integral part of our lives. User expectations for performance have increased with their reliance on mobile apps—the average mobile user today has very low tolerance for poor app performance and stability. And that is highly justified since mobile apps are no longer a novelty we amuse ourselves with, but a critical tool that we depend on for our personal and professional day-to-day lives.
This article is a companion to our Droidcon 2022 presentation: Beyond the Basics: Performance Monitoring and User Experience for Mobile App Growth. In this post, we will take a look at the science behind app performance, the app performance monitoring benchmarks you should target, the impact of app performance on your app’s success, and a quick overview of app performance management principles.
The science of app performance standards
Research shows that mobile app performance expectations aren’t just user demands—they’re neurologically hardwired. Human-computer interaction (HCI) studies since the 1960s have demonstrated that humans are most comfortable, efficient, and productive with computer response times of less than 2 seconds.
Waiting more than 2 seconds forces users to concentrate up to 50% harder to retain their attention. The 2-second threshold impacts user satisfaction, stress levels, and conversions.
User expectations and perception of mobile app performance
Impact of app performance on business metrics
- Slow performance has twice the impact on revenue as downtime.
- 66% of consumers would avoid trying a brand known for delivering a poor digital experience.
- What causes the most frustration for mobile users?
- 55%: slow load times and responsiveness
- 40%: low availability
- 32%: low functionality
- How do users respond to slow app performance?
- 48% uninstall
- 33% stop using it
- 32% look for a replacement
- A 1% lower stability rating can lead to a 1-star drop in ratings.
The higher the percentage of users experiencing crashes, the higher the drop in ratings that can be expected. A 2-star drop in ratings typically results in a 50% lower user acquisition rate. Acquiring new customers can cost 6-10 times more than retaining existing customers.
- A 1-second improvement in loading time can lead to a 27% conversion rate increase.
- In a study, every 1 second of improvement to load time increased Walmart’s conversion rate by 2%. Every 100 milliseconds of improvement increased their incremental revenue by up to 1%.
- 50% of consumers will spend more with a company if its digital services are better than a competitor’s
- Even a small increase in retention can have a significant impact on customer lifetime value. Businesses that boost customer retention by as much as just 5% can see increases in profits ranging from 25%-95%.
App Performance Management Principles
Use Apdex scores
Apdex scores can be more useful than traditional KPIs like response times because they represent a more holistic view of app quality and can be calibrated to your use case. Apdex is a comprehensive metric that assesses the quality of the overall experience
Collect user feedback
Find product-market and drive 5-star reviews by sending in-app surveys and routing promoters to leave app store reviews, and detractors to your private inbox.
Monitoring & alerts
Understand your app’s performance as perceived by your users with client-side app performance monitoring and mobile-specific metrics. Set performance thresholds and alerts to help you immediately catch and fix issues before they impact revenue, engagement, or retention.
App performance KPIs
All apps have different needs and standards for performance. These are average benchmarks for satisfactory performance:
- Apdex score: ≥ 0.90 means your app’s performance is
- Excellent Stability: Crash-free users >99 %
- Crash-free sessions >99.9 %
- App launch:
- Cold: 2-4 seconds
- Warm: <2 seconds
- Hot: 1-1.5 seconds
- Screen loading: <0.5 seconds
- Network response: <1 second
- Key App traces: <2 seconds
- UI performance: <250ms
Crash reporting is an app’s first line of defense against uninstalls. Crashes are the worst-case scenario for users and a 1% drop in stability rating can lead to a 1-star drop in app-store rating. 53% of users uninstall apps that crash, and 80% of users will give a problematic app less than three tries.
The top-grossing apps in the Google Play store update on average every 9 days. Aim for frequent incremental changes and optimizations and balance between new features and performance improvements.
Optimize your workflow for team collaboration and efficiency. App quality tools with code ownership features allow you to stay on top of the issues relevant to you and eliminate the noise of issues irrelevant to your team, improving visibility and drastically decreasing time spent on triaging and assigning issues.
App performance resources:
- APM KPIs: Mobile App Performance Monitoring Metrics and Targets
- Mobile App Network Performance Monitoring and Debugging Guide
- App Launch Optimization: How to Resolve Slow Startup Times
- What is a Cold Start? Mobile App Launches Explained
- How Often Should You Update Your Free Mobile App?
From our Engineering team:
- SDK Development Stories: Interviews With Our Developers
- How We Migrated Our Front-End While Scaling at Instabug
- Why We Automated Our Front-End Testing at Instabug
- How We Migrated Our Massive Crashes Database
Instabug’s triple threat of APM, Crash Reporting, and Bug Reporting tools will empower you to optimize your app’s performance and deliver the high-quality experience your users expect and deserve.