Why Metrics Matter in Custom Application Development

A laptop with charts and graphs on the screen

Some people view metrics as the necessary numeric evil to project analysis.

Numbers, charts, and graphs take all the joy out of the hi-fives given after the launch of a new project or process! Metrics are boring and we should all just be excited that we were able to get past the finish line, right?

No way! At 303 Software, we’ve learned to love metrics and help our clients understand the benefit and excitement that key performance indicators, analytics, and retrospectives can bring to your team!

20/20 Project Vision through Metrics Management 

It’s important to understand the real reason why your team is choosing to develop new software, or update your website. Are you trying to increase revenue from a new application iteration? Does your sales team want more conversions from your marketing site to build out their pipeline? These questions not only validate the reason why you are spending your hard earned cash on new technology, but help your project and development teams understand your full end goal for this project. If anything, by taking the time to determine what metrics are going to work for your site, you will help solidify the vision for the solution to the problem you are trying to solve.

The right metrics, for the right project. 

Conversion Rates, Daily Active Users, and Average Revenue Per User are just meaningless business buzzwords if you’re not actually measuring the success of your tool after a go-live. Conversion Rates can help determine the success of a contact form you just added to your CMS. Daily Active Users is incredibly relative information for the valuation of a new application that your organization just launched. Average Revenue Per Users allows you to analyze how many more users you’ll need in order to hit to your next revenue quota for the quarter.

While these are all valuable bits of information, they all cover a different measurement of success for different kinds of software. These success metrics can shared internally with your team to celebrate all their hard work, or externally with prospective clients to demonstrate the value your organization can bring.

Metrics = Trust

Telling your customers, prospective investors, or even your friends and family, how great or useful your new application or website is really won’t get you far if they don’t believe what you’re promising. If you just built an app that is going to eliminate world hunger, or maybe you’re claiming that new marketing site you just launched is going to bring world peace, no one is going to believe you unless you have the data to back it up!

Metrics are there to validate your promises and show to the world that you absolutely can accomplish what you’re hoping to deliver. “62% of people who use this work-out application are logging that they’ve lost 30 pounds within the first 6 months after completing our program!” is fantastic news to your neighbor who’s been looking to finally lose that weight they’ve been holding on to for the last couple years. “80% of our users promote our application through social media during their first two weeks of use” is something that will perk up investors faster that you can say “Data Driven Decision Making”.

Metrics can eliminate perceived customer risk if communicated effectively and be the final push for a client to sign that contract if they’ve been hovering over that dotted line.

Before and After

Metrics work even better when you have some previous data to compare against. Are you still using a marketing site that your college roommate’s nephew made for you back in 2005? Grab some of your existing data pertaining to site speed, bounce rates, and conversion rates from a contact form and buckle up. Now, get ready to feel validated on all that money you spent to have your new updated site with all the latest trends, slick rebranding, and a incredibly convenient WYSIWG content entry area in the back end (so that blog you’ve been wanting to start is even easier to maintain…stop putting it off…seriously).

While you might see a slow downtick once you launch your new CMS, you’ll become addicted to checking your site analytics daily to see how many new unique visits you now have (since you’ve finally started posting new content to the site again), how fast the pages are loading (now that people aren’t leaving so quickly), and how  everyone can actually fill out that “contact us” form since you (hopefully) had some skilled web ninjas build your site so that everything (actually) works this time.

Sit back, relax, and feel comfortable sharing that URL to everyone you’ve ever met now that you know you’ve got a site that is working the way you wanted to. 

Let’s wrap this up, I’m ready to go check this out…

All jokes aside, metrics are what are going to take your site or software from good to great. This isn’t because metrics magically bring you new users or revenue, but because you are finally able to make some well-informed, data-driven decisions on content and functionality. Now get out there, take a hard look at your software, and maybe, just maybe, start taking metrics seriously!


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