A vanity metric is data collected about a company or its users that do not help a business grow. These metrics serve no purpose other than to make the business owner feel good. App “downloads” is a vanity metric.

According to Localytics, one in four mobile apps once downloaded is never used again. The Localytics study found that many apps are downloaded, tried once and then discarded.

In 2013, the average user downloaded 60 apps per device. Research by Mobilewalla revealed that users eventually delete 90 percent of all downloaded apps.

Tracking downloads is often a first step to gauging an app’s success, but download stats often provide an incomplete and inflated view. High download numbers always feel great, but if those customers never open the app or abandon it after just a few uses, those high download numbers are really part of a high churn rate.

A recent article in Mashable outlines the key metrics that are most important to monitor for your business app including usage, active users and retention rate. See all 9 metrics here.

More than just downloads

While it’s important to keep track of  your app’s total number of downloads, you’ll really be missing out on the key statistics if that’s the only number you care about. The real goal of any app (or website, for that matter) should be user engagement. Are people actually using your app and interacting with you or your business through it?