Metrics don’t tell the full story; however, they tell a very important part. The performance of traditional communication channels has often been difficult to measure.
Gathering use metrics for digital communications tools is comparatively easy. These modern tools generally have analytics suites built into their offering. The difficulty then becomes this: What should you be measuring, and what should you be aiming for?
Often companies will mention adoption statistics of 90-100 percent, which might mean only that 90-100 percent of employees downloaded and registered in the app—once. It doesn’t mean they’re actively using it.
To establish the health of your network, you must dig a little deeper. Below are five key metrics you should analyze to establish the health of an employee app network:
1. Active users. You should analyze this metric on a regular basis. Check how many employees logged into the app during a given day, week or month.
What the metrics can tell you: If you have a user group of 500 employees and you see 380 are using it daily, 420 weekly and 500 monthly, then you can deduce the following: You have a dedicated employee user group of 380 who access the app each day, another 40 who access it weekly and 80 more who access it only monthly.
2. Sessions per user. A session is each time a user goes into the app. An employee can have multiple sessions per day—one each in the morning, at midday and in the evening. Think about how you use your favorite apps; you’re likely to use them multiple times a day.
What the metrics can tell you: The more sessions per employee, the stickier your app is. The more employees are using the app, the more you can assume it is adding value for them. Aim to get employees using the app at least once per day; over a month you would expect to see about 20 sessions per employee.
3. Session duration. This will tell you how long your employees spend on the app, each time they go into it. By multiplying the session per user figure by the session duration you can calculate the time an average employee spends on the app daily, weekly or monthly.
What the metrics can tell you: The duration will depend heavily on the app content. It’s likely that at launch that the session volume and duration figures will be high, as employees explore the app and its content. If over time the content dwindles, so will your use metrics. Regularly posting new content is crucial. Enabling user-generated content will help, but don’t rely on it in the first few months. It might take employees time to get used to the app and to start posting opinions, especially if they have never before been given that opportunity.
4. Screens per session. This number shows how many screens employees are looking at during each session. For example, employees could be going into the app, spending five minutes in there each session. This figure doesn’t mean much if we don’t know what they’re looking at, ideally you can also see details of what the top content is.
What the metrics can tell you: If employees are viewing eight screens in a minute or less, then they’re just skimming the content. If they’re viewing five screens over three minutes or longer, they’re likely to be reading several posts or articles. Seeing what users are viewing and engaging with most will help you make better content decisions and know where to post the important announcements and communications.
5. Push opens. Push notifications are an important engagement feature of mobile apps. They enable you, as an administrator, to send out quick messages to your users. You can link the notification to content in the app or send it as a standalone message. When users receive the push, it displays on their phone home screen; then they tap on the message, and it opens the app.
What the metrics can tell you: Being able to see metrics regarding how many people opened it, versus how many dismissed it, will help you know whether it’s useful. You should also check, on the days you send out a push, whether there is an uptick in active users and any other metrics. Know this: Employees can switch off notifications; every app gives users that option, and you can’t override it. Some push notification services capture how many employees have enabled them and therefore disabled them.
There are many more metrics that are useful for assessing the health of an employee app network. Which others do you use? Are there metrics or behaviors you wish you could measure but currently can’t?