There’s a long process to getting your app launched. We’ve talked in-depth about that process on a number of occasions, in fact, it’s kind of what we do. But let’s fast-forward this time. Let’s say your app has been released to the world. Now we’re talking about measuring your app’s success.

It would make sense to look at the number of downloads. The more downloads, the better your app is doing, right? Well there’s actually a bit more to it than that, and defining your success by your number of downloads is actually one of the mobile app myths that could ultimately hurt your real gains.

Of course, downloads do matter. Without them no one is using your app at all, but what really matters is the user base that is actively using your application, not those that have left it resting idly among a hundred others.

Many users may download your app and never even open it again. There could be a fatal flaw that turns them off immediately. You’re celebrating the download while they have already cast it aside. Because of this downloads are a bit of an empty factor is determining actual success. Actual success is retaining that active user base.

Getting an app sold or downloaded is one thing, but user happiness is what’s truly important when considering the long-term viability of your app, and you should always be thinking long-term.

So what you’re actually wanting to measure instead of downloads is how much time your users actually spend on your app. When this is your focus you may actually find that even if your download numbers aren’t as big as you expected, you might not actually be failing. In fact, you could actually be succeeding more than others apps with larger numbers.

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CEO and Co-founder of Neon Roots Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Neon Roots, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.