Whenever any business starts a software project — whether it’s a mobile app, web application, e-commerce, or website — the goal is for the project to be successful. Unless you have some sort of weird desire to burn money and effort, but who are we to judge?
Still, not every business takes the time to consider what that project’s success will actually look like.
In the end, success shouldn’t be determined by how innovative or creative a mobile app or web application is. Success should be measured by how well it engages customers, drives revenue, or builds efficiency.
So if you want your custom software project to be successful, you need to decide in advance what to measure. Ask questions like: What does success look like? What goals does your business have for the project, and how will you know when you’ve reached them?
These goals will help you measure the return on investment for your project, and will ultimately determine how effective your software is at launch and beyond.
So let’s get specific. What measurements will help you calculate ROI? Here are a few major categories from which your goals may come:
Increasing revenue is usually a key goal of any public-facing piece of software. Whether it’s an e-commerce system designed to engage and delight customers or a mobile app driven by in-app purchases, revenue matters.
Key Metric: Sales
If revenue is the goal, then sales are the key number to measure. This ratio is a clear indicator about whether your web or mobile app is successful, or whether your business needs to iterate.
Sometimes sales aren’t the best way to measure success, because your business’s website or mobile app aims further up the marketing funnel. In this case, the goal isn’t sales but leads — connections that your business can develop into future customers.
Of course, it’s important to know what kind of leads you’re measuring. Are you measuring total leads, or sales qualified leads? Do you want to collect as many leads as possible, or does your website need to filter out customers who obviously aren’t a fit for your products or services? Either approach can be beneficial, but it’s good to get your entire business to agree on which side of the coin is your goal before you start your software build.
Key Metric: Pipeline
If lead generation is the goal, then your sales pipeline is a great way to measure effectiveness. By measuring potential sales in the pipeline, you’ll know whether your website or web app is building your business or slowing it down. These are the principles measured in a CRO strategy.
Another thing that can be important for businesses to measure is engagement. How many visitors are using your website or mobile app? How much time are they spending on it? These raw numbers can show that your business got it right when it comes to connecting with its audiences.
Often, this engagement can provide additional benefits such as revenue from ads or partnerships.
Key Metric: Traffic
If engagement is the goal, then traffic is the measurement. Watching the number of visits and unique users on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis provides insight into how your website or mobile app is doing. These are the goals of a solid SEO strategy.
Not every goal for a web app or mobile app should be public-facing. Sometimes, the goal is to reduce the bottom line by increasing efficiency for employees.
What to Measure: Productivity
If efficiency is the goal, look for a way to measure it through employee productivity. Are your team members able to process more forms per hour? Do they avoid a certain number of unproductive phone calls or emails per week? By identifying your productivity goal, you can point to the kind of metric that will help you evaluate success.