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Ultimate Guide

The Expert Guide to Mobile App Optimization for Enterprise Digital Teams

Welcome to your go-to guide to for mobile app optimization! From mastering leading best practices to learning expert tactics behind the latest digital tools, this guide lays out a clear-cut 4-step process for delivering best-in-class mobile app experiences at the enterprise level.

Why mobile app optimization matters

Delivering a beautifully designed and well-functioning mobile app has become all but mandatory. As more consumers adopt a digital-first mindset and mobile device usage skyrockets, the state of your mobile app will become a tipping point for driving more engagements, sales, and loyalty.

The average user spends 3.7 hours consuming mobile content and 51% of users check their mobile apps 1-10 times per day. These consumer trends place a heightened emphasis on optimizing and improving mobile apps, which can lead to superior experiences generating 1.6 times higher customer satisfaction rates and 5.7 times more revenue.

customer experience stats

When it comes down to perfecting mobile app experiences, it takes masterful optimization built on a rock-solid methodology.

You’ll need to leverage actionable analytics and experience data, insightful investigative tools, and calculated tactics across multiple departments to get to the bottom of pesky mobile app issues. And with mobile app skills and resources typically limited amongst many digital teams, your optimization process must be built on prioritization and efficiency.

To what extent is your organization set up to roll out masterful mobile app experience fixes and improvements?

Well, no matter where you currently sit, implementing the following 4-phase process will set you on the right path to deliver a near perfect mobile app experience for every user.

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Step 1: Establish a core metric to evaluate user experiences on your mobile app

Before diving into the weeds of experience optimization, your digital teams must identify and align on a universal key performance indicator (KPI), or else your optimization efforts will be aimless.

Tallwave CEO and business-thought leader Jeff Pruit emphasizes that “visibility into the right KPIs will make it clear whether your team is bought in and understands the direction.” However, you can’t choose any digital metric at random – you need a KPI that definitively quantifies experiences on your mobile app.

Partnering with Econsultancy, we surveyed over 300 companies to determine popular metrics digital teams use to measure online experiences. Combining our survey data insights with recommendations from our product experts, we’ve selected the most relevant mobile app metrics and laid out their strengths and weaknesses for you to consider for your own KPI:

mobile app metrics

While these metrics enable your digital team to measure optimization progress, none of the above perfectly measure the quality of the specific experiences affecting each metric. As a more modern alternative for digital teams, here at Decibel we’ve purpose-built the Digital Experience Score (DXS), a holistic, universal metric that measures app experiences automatically, used by enterprises like Adidas, AllState Insurance, and British Airways.

As an AI-powered metric, DXS crunches billions of data points around user navigation, frustration, engagement, as well as form and technical experiences, to provide a score between 0 to 10 for every user session. Proven to predict conversion for, DXS takes the guesswork out of managing, measuring, and improving digital experiences.

website optimization stats 

Regardless of the experience metric your organization decides to use, it takes more than just a KPI to sync your different teams – you’ll need clear responsibilities. Setting guidelines that provide objectives for each practitioner enables multi-team efforts to move the needle on the collective digital experience KPI you’ve chosen: 

mobile app team

Your own digital team structure may look a bit different, but this divide and conquer approach is foundational for effective and thorough optimization efforts. With a core KPI and team-wide responsibilities in place you’ll establish the foundation set for a successful mobile app optimization program.

 

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Step 2: Measure user experience quality across your mobile app

With your primary KPI selected, it’s time to measure its performance across every single journey on your app. This view is foundational for effective optimization, with 80% of CX professionals believing a journey-based strategy drives overall business success, customer satisfaction, customer retention, and customer lifetime value.

Daniel Taylor from Digital Marketing World Forum believes the “days of linear conversion paths and funnels are long gone – and brands need to stop seeing the path to conversion as a journey.” You can no longer afford to view these journeys through a transactional and conversion-centric lens. Taylor emphasizes that your “customer is never on a predetermined course – they are unpredictable.”

With that in mind, shaping the ‘perfect’ user journey means optimizing experiences across every possible touchpoint. To do this effectively, you’ll need to evaluate your current end-to-end mobile app performance using one of the following methodologies:

 

Method (A)

Establish an existing view of every major user journey using mobile app analytics tools, like Firebase Crashlytics by Google or Adobe’s Mobile App Analytics. Measure user traffic patterns across screens to identify key user journey flows – from product listings to checkout screens – or any other common user journeys. Then, turn to problem-finding crash analytics solutions to uncover specific breakdowns in the user journey like loading errors or app crashes.

From here you’ll map your selected KPI across these journeys to determine the performance of those user experiences. While generally effective, this method involves time-consuming data correlation between multiple data sources, which leads to more frequent discrepancies and inaccuracies.

 

Method (B)

While you should still rely on mobile app analytics and crash analytics to contextualize user journey performance, other digital tools offer a simplified yet more accurate approach to measure UX quality.

Utilize user journey and segmentation tools in digital experience analytics solutions like Decibel, which visualize every user journey across your site. Using DXS as your universal KPI, it automatically scores the quality of ever user experience from user reading your blogs to prospects filling out contact forms.

Eliminating tedious and error-prone data mapping, DXS allows you to visualize and score digital journeys immediately, ultimately streamlining how you measure your website performance.

user journey segmentation

Overall, both methods provide must-have insights into the quality of mobile app user experiences and reveal the performance behind each user journey. Having this information will act as the foundation for meticulous UX issue investigations and optimization efforts in the next phases.

 

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Step 3: Investigate mediocre user experiences and pinpoint optimization opportunities

With a clear understanding of how experiences are faring across your mobile app, now you can investigate any bottlenecks or low scores reflected by your KPI results. Success here often hinges on one factor: access to the right digital tools.

Given that mobile-specific factors like operating systems, device types, screen sizes, touch-based user behaviors, and more require special attention, the right tools will prove crucial for fine-tuning those minor details, which can have a major impact on the user experience.

In fact, brands effectively using available data and analytic insights are proven to be 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result.

website optimization stats

To see similar success, there are four fundamental resources your team needs to use properly in order to diagnose and resolve the issues plaguing user experiences and derailing mobile app journeys.

 

Behavior detection

Behavior detection is deemed effective by 96% of optimizers, as it shares highly nuanced data surrounding user intent. Customer experience thought leader, Kerry Bodine highlights that “to get the full picture, [you’ll] need to understand actual customer behavior” measured by digital experience analytics like Decibel.

Behavior detection tracks and measures digital body language to understand how your app’s experiences affect the user state of mind. Mobile app behavioral data accounts for every touch, scroll, and swipe, along with tracking the speed and direction of those actions. With this level of intelligence, you can clearly identify frustration, confusion, or engagement by tracking key digital behaviors:

    • Multi-touch refers to when a user rapidly taps on an on-screen element on a mobile app, denoting a frustrated user experience.
    • Scroll engagement refers to when a user scrolls down the mobile app screen in a smooth, regular rhythm, signifying the consumption of content.
    • Select & copy refers to when a user selects text from a mobile app screen and copies it, indicating engagement, comparison research, or even fraud.
    • Device rotation refers to when a user rotates their tablet or mobile device, from portrait to landscape mode or vice versa. This behavior can reflect either engagement or frustration.
    • Pinching refers to when a user intentionally zooms in or out on a device to enlarge or shrink the screen size for clearer content consumption.

Session replays

Rated as effective by 95% of practitioners, session replays offer you powerful firsthand insights by playing back user sessions exactly as they occurred. You’ll want to review session replays to understand how users actually engage on a case-by-case level, and to identify issues clearly provoking user frustration like a confusing navigation menu or a clunky contact form.

mobile app session replay

However, some session replay tools can be incredibly time-consuming, especially for enterprises with millions of monthly user sessions. It’s critical to streamline this investigative process by prioritizing session replays with modern features like those that Decibel offers:

    • Automated analysis to pinpoint the most important sessions,
    • Segmentation between high-quality and low-quality experiences
    • Detailed user journey mapping between devices and channels
    • Heatmap integrations to contextualize user sessions
    • Filtering and commenting for team collaboration
    • Tech-stack integrations to pair external data with related session replays

Heatmaps

Similar to session replays, 95% of end-users say heatmaps are effective for measuring and optimizing app experiences. Visualizing user session data in aggregate, heatmaps illustrate user journey trends and patterns. Displaying touch data, heatmaps enable you to determine whether a newly implemented call-to-action button has driven more conversions, or if a change in your app’s home-screen interface increases abandonment.

website heatmaps

While incredibly useful, traditional versions of heatmaps present limitations with how you can review user data. You’ll want to leverage modern versions, featured in solutions like Decibel, which bring new capabilities to this standby investigative tool:

    • Aggregated user session data from pages with similar layouts
    • Behavioral heatmaps highlighting instances of engagements, frustrations, or confusion
    • Integrations with analytics tools to correlate business data with heatmaps insights
    • Automatic on-screen tracking removing manual tagging
    • Overlay toggling to compare interface design updates
    • Session replay integrations to link patterns with specific user sessions

Form analytics

Forms are the gateways to conversion on apps. Unfortunately, just 49% of users add details to an online form after viewing it, and only 16.5% actually complete it.

By taking advantage of form analytics, you can reverse those trends by measuring data like error rate, completion rate, completion time, and behaviors linked to those outcomes. While Decibel boasts this must-have functionality, not all digital experience analytics solutions do.

These screen-specific insights enable you to fine-tune often tricky mobile app forms into true conversion magnets instead of user journey bottlenecks. But to take form analysis a step further, teams leverage digital experience analytics with form experience data baked in – like Decibel’s Form Experience Score – to instantly quantify the quality of experiences across any and all of your forms.

website form analytics

Moving forward, consider form analytics as your go-to tool for investigating and fixing UX issues across mobile app screens like in-app checkout or account registration – especially valuable to ecommerce, restaurant, and financial services brands.

However, not all form analytics are created equal, so ensure you’re relying on a tool – like Decibeloffering must-have capabilities like: 

  • Automated alerts identifying the most problematic forms and fields
  • A Form Experience Score to instantly quantify the quality of submission-based screens 
  • Unique and comprehensive form performance dashboards to quickly diagnose errors 
  • Segmentation to narrow analysis by specific form and user attributes

Access to the right tools is foundational for your optimization program’s success, as 90% of executives whose teams use data analytics properly report better ability to deliver a great experience. With these analytics and investigative tools in place, you’ll be poised to identify user experience issues with ease and turn them into opportunities.

Once you’ve got your optimization opportunities fully scoped, it’s time to plan and roll out your fixes.

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Step 4: Resolve poor user experiences and track the impacts on your mobile app

By now, you’ve established the issues undermining user experiences and sabotaging mobile app journeys – and worked across departments to develop fixes for them.

Whether you’ve recognized slow loading product images causing a drop-off in potential repeat buyers or identified errors tracking rewards program points causing a spike in customer support requests, optimization efforts must be thorough and united to be truly effective.

website optimization team

If executed properly, revamped app experiences can create a 400% increase in conversion rates, but it takes a strategic approach to implementing optimizations to get there. In order to roll out successful optimizations, your app team should follow these three steps:

Plan your priorities

Prioritize your fixes based on their potential impact and difficulty. Ensure your teams address low-hanging fruit like broken button links quickly, while being methodical and thorough regarding larger projects like an interface re-design. Next, manage tasks and deliverables for each project and assign them to the appropriate teams.

Calculate progress with benchmarks

Constantly measure progress by comparing post-optimization KPI results with your initial KPI benchmark. This will act as your digital team’s measuring stick for optimization, allowing you to identify projects which succeeded, failed, or need further work.

Consistently monitor and improve

The difference between your website generating high-performing versus low-performing experiences will depend on your persistence. Optimization is an on-going function, which requires digital teams to continually monitor performance, optimize issues, and repeat this process.

Now that you have a systemic approach to optimization, your team can methodically implement user experience improvements with ease. It’s just a matter of time before sales and loyalty picks up momentum as you quickly chip away at the issues plaguing your mobile app.

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RecapFollow your expert step-by-step optimization process

When putting your 4-step process to work, you’ll want to think of each phase as a link in a chain – if one link breaks, the whole completely loses its value. To recap, the process should unfold like this:

    • Step 1: Define the primary KPI your team will use to measure mobile app performance, and clearly determine different teams’ responsibilities and deliverables to move the needle on that KPI.
    • Step 2: Use your selected KPI, like CSAT or Decibel’s DXS, to measure the current performance of your mobile app. With a metric like CSAT you’ll want to map out user journeys and evaluate their quality accordingly, whereas DXS will quantify every user journey automatically for your team.
    • Step 3: Investigate low performing areas and develop optimizations. To do so, use behavior detection session replay, heatmaps, and form analytics to pinpoint specific optimization opportunities and collaborate across teams to create fixes.
    • Step 4: Implement your optimizations. This takes organized planning and prioritization of optimization efforts, benchmarking the progress of your mobile app improvements, and constant re-evaluation to perfect digital experiences.

With your optimization program now operating at full speed, all that remains is to demonstrate the business value and return on investment (ROI) of your experience optimizations to decision-makers and stakeholders.

 

Use Decibel’s Digital Experience Score (DXS®) to measure the ROI of your mobile app optimizations

Business leaders high up in your organization often have the final say in the direction and resources behind digital optimization strategies, from budget allocation to project approval. This reality makes linking revenue and optimizations critical for securing leadership buy-in.

DXS mobile app

Conversion optimization Alex Harris confirms that digital teams need to “start by prioritizing website and app improvements by ROI and customer satisfaction.” But 50% of CX teams are unsatisfied with their ability to quantify the impact of customer experience on business KPIs like customer lifetime value and revenue.

With Decibel’s Digital Experience Score (DXS), your digital team can definitively link UX changes with new revenue. Top brands worldwide harness the AI-powered experience metric to predict revenue behind digital optimizations with ease. In fact, travel booking leader TUI measured a 1-point increase in their DXS leads to $30M in annual revenue.

TUI website optimization ROI

How exactly can you achieve similar successes within your own optimization program?

Decibel’s digital experience analytics pairs its proprietary DXS metric with journey segmentation tools, session replays and heatmaps, along with versatile analytics integrations for extensive digital intelligence. Forrester’s Test of Economic Impact Study of Decibel reveals major global enterprises deploying Decibel’s AI across their digital properties see staggering results:

      • 449% ROI
      • 3-month payback period with $9M in benefits
      • 20,000 hours saved in end-user productivity

Schedule a demo to learn how Decibel makes mobile app optimization simple, scalable, and lucrative for enterprises looking to take engagements, sales, and loyalty to the next level.

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