App Terminology 101

A guide to app terms and acronyms...

Note: many of these concepts have been simplified for quick and easy reference.

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Ad Integration
The process of placing advertisements in an app to be shown to the user.

Ad Network
A company that aggregates available ad space to sell to an advertiser.

Ad Revenue
The revenue that comes from advertisements placed in your app.

The process of analysing the performance of your app. You may track downloads and their source, revenue, rankings, reviews, ratings, or monitor your competitor’s activity.

Conversion tracking also enables you to measure which of your marketing efforts and campaigns have been the most effective in terms of revenue and app installs.

A smart phone operating system (OS) and software platform created by Google. Multiple manufacturers produce phones that run Android. As a software platform, Android allows apps (software) written for Android to run on all Android-based phones, regardless of manufacturer.
 Most Android phones operate in a similar way, however Android does permit greater customization (by carriers and manufacturers) than most other platforms, so there can still be significant interface differences between various Android-based phones.

Abbreviation for application. An app can run on the internet, your computer, phone or other electronic devices.

App Store Optimization (ASO)
The process of improving the visibility of an app in the App Store by custom¬izing certain elements of the app’s listing to determine the app’s ranking.

App Store Search Algorithm
The calculation used to determine an app’s ranking within the App Store. As each app store’s algorithm is not public knowledge, these calculations are speculative, but generally relate to app title, name, description, reviews, rating, keywords, screenshots, inbound links, inbound traffic and out-of-store “buzz”.

Augmented Reality (AR)
An enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information (markers, graphics, audio, images or video) onto an image being viewed through a device (typically a smart phone camera, but may also be wearable glasses).

Average Revenue Per Daily Active User (ARPDAU)
The amount of revenue you are bringing in per daily active user.

Average Revenue Per Monthly Active User (ARPMAU)
The amount of revenue you are bringing in per monthly active user.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
Calculated as your monthly revenue/monthly active users.


Early version software that is considered to be at preview stage. Users are encouraged to use the Beta version to help developers fix errors and enhance the software before a more final version of the software is released.

A line of smart phone devices developed and designed by Research In Motion (RIM). Popular models include BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry Q10, BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Torch and , BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry Playbook (tablet).

Short for web browser, a software application used to surf and display content on the web. Most popular browsers include Chrome (by Google), Safari (by Apple), Internet Explorer (by Microsoft) and Firefox (by Mozilla).


Check in
A “Places” button or tab displays a list of nearby places where a user may check in (signalling they have entered the place). Once a user has checked in, they may have the option to share their location with friends on Twitte r or Facebook or may receive a reward or discount from a retailer or venue.

Churn Rate (or Attrition Rate)
A value derived by subtracting 100 from the Retention percentage. Exam¬ple 100%-Retention Rate = Churn Rate. If you have 70% of your users retaining in your app or game from month 1 to month 2, then your Churn rate would be 30%.

Content Management System (CMS)
Logging into a Content Management System (CMS) allows publishing, editing and modifying content from a central web interface. The content of an app may be managed and updated by a CMS, enabling changes to be
instantly reflected in an app.

Conversion Rate
The number of free users being converted to paid users. This is calculated by taking the number of current paid users and dividing them by the total user base over a entire lifetime. For example if you have 1,000,000 users, but only 10,000 of them are users that have made in-app purchases, you have a conversion rate of 1%.

Cost Per Action (CPA)
The cost of advertising based on a user taking a particular action (such as a pur¬chase, download, or sign up) in response to an ad.

Cost Per Click (CPC)
The cost of advertising based on the number of clicks your ad receives.
Cost per click is the most basic way that ad spending is measured.

Cost Per Install (CPI)
The cost of advertising based on the number of app installs that result from the audi¬ence who have viewed your ad.

You only pay for installations you receive no matter how many clicks and impressions.

Cost Per Mille (CPM) or Cost Per Thousand (CPT)
The cost associated with 1,000 views of your ad. For example, if a publisher charges a $10 CPM and there were 10,000 views, the cost of your ad is $100.

Cross Promotion
A form of marketing where customers of one product or service pro¬mote a related, but not competing product or service.


Daily Active Users (DAU)
The number of users actually using your app. For example if you have 1,000 users who have installed your app, and 100 of them on average use your app every day, then your DAU is 100.

The estimated time you can expect a user to stay in your game or app before leaving. You can calculate this by taking 100 and dividing it by the churn percentage. If you have a churn rate of 30% then 100/30 = 3.33 which means that your user would potentially be retained for 3.33 months before they leave your app or game.


A feed is a continually updating stream of content that populates your app. Feeds can be pulled in from most continually updated social networks such YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or a blog.

Flat Design
A flat design is typically devoid of any design dimensions; bevelled edges, gradients, shadows, reflections or textures.

The opposite of flat design is skeuomorphism, the use of details and ornamentation to make a digital element resemble an item the physical world (for example, a bookshelf to display iBooks, a spiral page to display notes, a microphone to denote audio recording etc).

Free To Play (F2P)
An app that is free to download and play.

A freemium model allows a customer to check out the basics of an app or game for free, with upgrades or enhanced features available for a price.


Google Play
Google Play is the digital distribution platform for Android, developed and maintained by Google. The service allows users to browse and download music, magazines, books, movies, television programs, and apps published through Google Play website.

Stands for Graphical User Interface (usually pronounced \’gooey\’). It is the interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices through graphical icons and visual indicators.


HTML5 is a mark-up language for structuring and presenting content for the web. It is the fifth revision of the HTML standard.


The app icon is the image that appears on the user’s device amongst their other apps. A tab icon is an image within your app that represents different sections or function within the app.

In App Purchase (IAP)
Purchases made from within a mobile app. In game apps users typically make an in-app pur¬chase to access special content or features such as power-ups, restricted levels, virtual money, special characters or boosts, etc.

News stand apps may provide in app purchase of individual magazines or subscriptions.
The purchasing process is completed directly from within the app and is seamless to the user in most cases, with the mobile platform provider facilitating the purchase and tak¬ing a share of the money.

Interstitial Ad
A full screen advertisement shown between two screens in an app.

iOS is Apple\’s mobile operating system used to run iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. The iOS versions are referenced in the format X.X.X. For example, an iPhone might be running on iOS 5.0.1. The latest version, IOS 7, is due for launch in September 2013.

A media player program designed by Apple for playing, downloading and organizing media files. You can manually manage your iOS apps on your device by syncing it with iTunes.

iTunes Connect
A website provided by Apple where developers manage their developer accounts and upload apps for review.

iTunes Store
An online digital media store owned by Apple, containing music, videos, applications and ebooks. The App Store, in iTunes, is where iOS apps may be downloaded by the public.


K Factor
The viral growth of an app or game.


Life Time Value (LTV)
The amount of revenue you can expect from a user from the time they in¬stall your app or game, to the time they un-install it.


Users who spend a small amount of money in a game or app. Minnows usually spend around $10 or less per month and can easily turn into Whales. Figuring out how to convert a Min¬now to a Whale can help increase the overall life time value (LTV) of a user.

Mobile optimized or Mobile Website
A mobile optimized version of a website. It runs inside the mobile browser of your smart phone but cannot access the device hardware or be distributed via an App Store.

Monetization Method
The strategy for making money with an app. This may include showing ads, offering in-app purchases, selling virtual goods or subscriptions.

Monthly Active Users (MAU)
The number of users actually using your app in a month. For example, if 1,000 users have installed your app, but only 500 people actually used it in January, then your January MAU would be 500.


Native app
An app developed for a single operating system or platform (iOS, Android etc). In order to be download and utilized on mobile devices it has to be published via an app store.


Objective C
The primary programming language used when writing software for iOS.


Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay-per-click marketing, also known as “paid search” enables businesses or individuals to bid on keywords used in searches.

Refers to the mobile device(s) and operating system you’re developing an app for. For example, if you’re developing for iPhone, iPad or iPad the platform is iOS.

Premium App
A common term for a paid app; an app you need to purchase in order to download to use or play.

The process of submitting an app to be distributed via an app store.

Push Notifications
Push notifications allow an app to notify you of new messages or events without the need to actually open the application. They display in a similar way to text messages, with a pop up on your screen.


QR code
A QR code or Quick Response Code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a white background. Pointing a camera-enabled mobile at the QR code, will fire up its browser and go straight to that URL.


The term resolution in the world of mobile phone displays generally refers to the number of columns and rows of pixels.

Retina display
A term used by Apple to define displays that are of sufficiently high resolution that any additional increase in resolution would not be perceptible to the human eye in normal use conditions.

Stands for “Really simple syndication”. A feed format used to publish frequently updated content – such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video. The RSS feed also lets you pick up feeds from social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc, media or photo channels such as YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram and Pinterest.


Software Development Kit (SDK)
A set of tools provided by Apple allowing developers to create apps compatible with the iPhone or iPad. Other companies may also offer SDKs that can be used to add more functionality to an app.


A tab within an app representing different screens a user may switch between, in a similar manner to a menu item.


Unique Device Identifier (UDID)
An identification number assigned to each iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Universal App
A universal app is an identical version of an app that runs on both the iPhone/iPod Touch and the iPad.
The address that appears in the main field in your browser, starting with “http”.

User Experience (UX)
Stands for User Experience and involves a person\’s emotions about using a particular product, system or service. Additionally, it may also include a person’s perceptions of the practical aspects such as utility, ease of use and efficiency of the system.


A user who spends around $100/month in your app or game. This value varies per company and can be as low as $20/month.

A wireframe, also known as a page schematic or screen blueprint, is a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of an app. The wireframe usually lacks typographic style, colour, or graphics, since the main focus lies in functionality, behaviour and the prioritisation of content.

Xcode is an integrated development environment containing a suite of tools developed by Apple for developing software iOS.