What Are App Analytics?
App Analytics record data related to how users interact and engage with a mobile application. By analysing metrics such as downloads, sessions, active users and devices, educated changes can be executed to improve the retention of an app.
The app market is crowded and competitive. With attention spans shrinking all the time, it’s harder than ever to get users to engage with your mobile app. This is where mobile app analytics are needed to provide the valuable insights absolutely necessary to improve an apps growth.
What Are App Analytic Tools?
App analytic tools are designed to record the valuable data relating to how users interact with a mobile app. The metrics you’ll most commonly want to track include downloads, session times, and the number of daily and monthly users.
Many apps also require the reporting of data specific to its unique functions. For example, an app like Airbnb (which helps users find accommodation) may find it useful to track the duration it takes for users to make their first booking.
By having this data readily available, an app development team can make informed decisions likely to improve an apps performance and growth.
Researching app analytics can be time-consuming as there are hundreds of tools out there, so in this article, we’re going to break down what to track and how to track it.
But first, let’s take a brief look at some of the different analytics to track and elaborate further on the importance of recording them. If you wish to skip straight to the best free and paid app analytic tools, click here
Do You Really Need to Track App Analytics?
In the previous year, the Apple Store and Google Play Store witnessed a 35% rise in revenue. With this trend showing no sign of slowing down, it’s worth making all the effort you can to get your slice of the lucrative mobile app pie.
Whether you’re creating an app for Android, iOS, or multiple platforms, the need for app analytics doesn’t change. Without access to data, an app developer simply doesn’t know how users are interacting with their application. Essentially, without analytics, an app developer is operating and allocating resources blindly.
To run a successful app business you need to know how to improve your users’ experience from onboarding right through to activation, monetization, and finally, referral. If your app fails to please your audience at just one of these stages, your bottom line can be significantly affected.
Using the metrics collected from app analytics tools, you’ll be able to streamline your app and provide a higher level of customer satisfaction. You can monitor exactly where users are dropping off from your app, when they’re most engaged and therefore likely to pay for premium features or even simply, continue to use your app until you are able to monetize in the future.
The Three Types of Mobile App Analytics
Not all mobile app analytics tools measure the same data, so the needs of your app will dictate which types you choose to use. The three primary categories of app analytics include mobile app marketing, mobile app performance and in-app analytics.
Mobile App Marketing Analytics:
It’s important to remember that almost all large businesses now have an app. Even 42% of small businesses have an app too, so it’s increasingly difficult to stand out among the 2.1+ million apps currently available. It’s not enough to merely create an app anymore. If you want it to truly succeed, you need to market it properly.
Mobile app marketing analytic tools examine data relating to events such as where your users find and download your app, the characteristics of these users, the amount of money they spend in your app and the likelihood of sharing your app with others.
Analysing these metrics help an app developer monetize an app, attract quality users and increase return on investment.
Common Mobile App Marketing Metrics Include:
CPM (cost per mille) – CPM is used to calculate the cost of 1,000 ad impressions. This is the most commonly used metric to price web ads.
Click through rate – CTR is a percentage calculated from the number of users who click through to an app or landing page from marketing collateral. A high or low CTR helps to determine whether marketing collateral is effective or not.
Traffic source – this metric tracks how users find an app. Marketers use this metric to determine which platform performs best.
Number of downloads – the most simple way of tracking the success of a marketing campaign is to track the amount of app downloads.
User demographics – understanding the psychographics of app users is extremely useful for improving the return on investment for marketing expenditure.
Cost Per Install – this metric is worked out by dividing your total marketing expenditure by total app installs. According to data from February 2017, the global average cost per install for iOS apps was $0.44 and $0.86 for Android apps.
Devices – which devices are the majority of downloads coming from? Are they via Android, iOS, Blackberry or tablets? This knowledge can be useful for improved targeting of an app’s customer base and planning future iterations.
Free to paid conversion percentage – the percentage of users who convert from free to paid users. Slack converts an impressive 30% of customers from a free to paid subscription.
Purchase time frame – this refers to the duration of time it takes to convert users into paying customers. This is particularly helpful when an app is frequently used but the conversion percentage is particularly low. Using this data can assist in strategically placing calls to actions, promotions and special offers to increase conversions.
App rating – a rating out of five stars on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. A high rating provides the social proof necessary for potential users to consider downloading an app.
App review – users can leave a review of an app after downloading it. App reviews provide qualitative recounts of user experiences, suggestions and problems. Most app users read reviews before deciding to download an app.
Social shares – this metric records the amount of times your app is shared across social media sites. Typically, the more shares on social media, the more opportunities to organically acquire more users.
An app’s marketing funnel is complex, but it’s imperative to set up to achieve long-term success. Finding the top performing marketing campaigns is a mix between strategic research, creativity and experimentation.
Recording the data within an app’s marketing funnel will allow you to constantly refine your app’s marketing communications through data-backed insights. A good marketing campaign should always be adapting to the most efficient methods over time – you won’t be able to do this without the right statistics.
For a comprehensive guide on how to market an app and the measurables for each stage in your user’s journey, click here.
Mobile App Performance Analytics:
Mobile App Performance metrics delve into the robustness of an app. These metrics are purely focused on how the machine itself is actually running. It’s not concerned with the acquisition and behaviour of the user or the profitability of the business.
These analytics identify screens within an app which frequently crash, devices which struggle to run the app and the overall reliability of its servers and code.
Although these metrics are a little boring, it’s important to track them so actions can be made to keep users happy and engaged. After all, if your app crashes every time it’s opened on a Samsung Galaxy Note, no marketing collateral in the world will convince Samsung users not to uninstall your app. Tracking the following metrics will help you avoid crashes and unreliability.
Common Mobile App Performance Metrics Include:
Real-time alerts – a notification every time your app is offline. With this alert, an app developer can take the necessary steps to fix the problem as quickly as possible. Users are quick to uninstall an app if it’s constantly unresponsive. Any issues need to be fixed immediately.
Crashes/Errors – the amount of times an app experiences a major error that causes the service to become unavailable. An app developers aim is to minimize crashes. Recording crashes helps developers identify the actions which cause apps to mysteriously crash. The more data the developer has on bugs and crashes, the higher the likelihood of ironing it out. Crashes frustrate users and inspire them to uninstall apps in favour of competitors.
Exceptions – these are essentially safety nets for errors. If an error occurs, an exception will be triggered which will attempt to fix the issue, but if it’s unsuccessful the entire app will shut down. Tracking the success and failure of exceptions allows developers to improve exceptions so the app closes less frequently.
Carrier latency – latency refers to the amount of time it takes for the data to be sent from the sender (internet service provider) to the recipient (mobile device). If the latency speed is too slow, your developer might need to look at how they can improve this. After all, people don’t like to wait!
Uptime – uptime is the amount of time an app is performing at 100% functionality. Ideally, an app developer wants this percentage to be as close to 100% as possible. If uptime figures are low, it’s sensible to place more resources into fixing the issues causing downtime.
API latency – application programming interfaces (API’s) are basically the building blocks of computer programs which include communication protocols, subroutine definitions, among other aspects. Mobile app developers use APIs to speed up the app-building process, as they can weave together functionalities rather than building the entire app from scratch. Whether an app uses one API or dozens, they should be tracked to ensure acceptable latency.
Tracking mobile app performance metrics can be a little dull, but it’s an action that must be taken to avoid losing customers to crashes, bugs and slow performance. It’s important to note the amount of mobile applications on the market which are competing for your users; if you can’t offer users a reliable and robust experience, somebody else will.
In-app analytics track the behaviour of users inside a mobile application. With In-App analytic tools, an app developer can track the average usage duration, popular features, common pathways (travelling from one screen to another) and more.
These metrics illustrate common drop off points, unused features and unusual pathways which can be corrected or improved to increase user retention.
As of June 2018, the average uninstall rate was 28% after 30 days. This is quite an intimidating figure. In-App analytic tools are an appreneurs frontline defence against high uninstall percentages.
Additionally, to further develop an app business, in-app analytics are important to determine which features funds should be allocated to. After all, it’s unwise to allocate thousands of dollars of work into an unwanted or unused features.
Common In-App Performance Metrics Include:
Device – are users opening the app on iPhones, Samsungs, Blackberry devices, or tablets? If the data shows the majority of users have HTC phones, it’s a smart move to prioritize compatibility with that specific device.
Operating system – similarly, which operating system are they using? Is it iOS or Android devices, or an alternative? This metric is useful for prioritizing development budgets.
Pathways – how are users navigate through the app? This metric tracks where app users are clicking, scrolling and the tasks they complete. Patterns can be found by collecting as much data as possible to then be used to understand what is most important to your users.
Location – demographics on where the users are based. This is important to optimize marketing expenditure, but also to create region specific information and functionality.
Time of use – the time of day, week or month your application is most regularly used. This helps the app developer determine the ideal times to create push notifications to increase user retention or to create time specific features such as night mode.
Session duration – how long the user engages with an app in a single session. If an app’s users are using the app for 30 seconds before uninstalling the application, it’s worth considering adding or strengthening the onboarding process. Furthermore, this data is critical for advertisers if adverts are part of an app’s monetization strategy.
Most used screens – knowing which screens users constantly return to is powerful information to have. If a feature or function is most used, it may be worthwhile to reduce the number of screens required to arrive to that feature. This can improve the overall user experience and retention.
App closes – Finally, it’s important to know when users are closing an app. Common patterns provide insight into the events which cause users to be bored, frustrated or give up on a product. These events can then be counteracted with optimized navigation, tutorials or even new features
The Best Mobile App Analytics Tools for 2018
The aim of in-app metrics is to create and facilitate long-lasting relationships with mobile app users. Ultimately, it’s a waste of money to acquire users when the actual mobile application fails to deliver the promised functionality and value. By using in-app analytic tools, a talented analyst can will recognize patterns in the data and determine ways to optimize your product and its retention.
Countly describes itself as the best analytics platform to understand and enhance customer journeys. Used by the likes of Microsoft and Verizon, it’s a fantastic real-time, open source tool which will drill down into your mobile analytics and marketing platform.
- Increase loyalty and engagement with push notifications.
- Track by session frequency, custom events, geography, devices, and individual users.
- Record crash reporting for all mobile platforms.
- Drill deep into data without running any fancy SQL queries.
Countly can be self-hosted in your own infrastructure. The Community Edition is available on a free forever model which is great for smaller operating budgets. As it’s open source you can create your own plugins for tailor-made tools that suit your product.
Google Mobile App Analytics
Google Analytics for Mobile Apps is a superb tool for measuring and optimizing user acquisition and engagement. By default, you’ll receive information on operating systems and devices, user count and demographics.
Google’s tools also allow you to do the following:
- Understand the number of users in an app and their demographics.
- Measure user actions.
- Measure in-app revenue and payments.
- Create customized reports specific to an app.
- Visualize user navigation paths and patterns.
- Analyze data to understand different user groups’ behavior.
Using this tool will give you answers to questions such as whether users are completing your app objectives, how long a different tasks take to complete, and typical user navigation pathways.
You can implement Google App Analytics using an SDK, and all reports are easy to use and designed with developers in mind.
Apple App Analytics
Apple’s analytics tool provides information on app trends and financial performance. Being an Apple product, Apple App Analytics can give you exclusive data on your iOS and tvOS apps which no third party tool can deliver. A huge perk of this tool is that it tracks and counts users by Apple ID instead of by device type or other assigned IDs, so user data is incredibly precise.
In addition, once you’ve created a developer account you can:
- Discover which marketing channels have the highest impact.
- See how many times your app’s icon has been viewed on the App Store.
- Calculate the effectiveness of your App Store product page.
- Track crashes and bugs by OS, platform, and app version.
Localytics is one of the best tools for understanding your target audience. The tool offers comprehensive data on app sessions and usage. Localytics will enable you to dig deep into the users who are using your product. It also gives you industry benchmarking so you can see how your app is performing against the competition.
Use Localytics to:
- Discover detailed data on app users.
- Track conversion rates and frequency of sessions.
- Create targeted messaging based on cross-data connections.
- Increase customer retention by improving engagement.
Localytics uses raw, real-time data to run customer analysis. Source: localytics.com
Flurry Analytics is a Yahoo-based tool which allows you to measure user activity in your app for free. This tool is especially handy for developers with more than one app, as you can track multiple products across both iOS and Android platforms to see how they’re doing in comparison to one another.
Other features include:
- Tracking in-app actions and usage trends.
- Splitting users by app version, usage, install data and other data points.
- Calculate bounce rates and churn rates.
- Create push notifications based on relevant data.
AppClix gives you access to data in its rawest form, so you can organize it however it suits you. This is great for people who are extremely data-driven, as the product will potentially allow you to get much more from your metrics than you can with any other service.
Key features include:
- Advanced mobile analytical software for data-driven analysts
- Monthly leases on the product, which is preferable for start-ups with lower budgets.
AppClix is recommended to any appreneur who requires a completely customizable analytic solution which can be adapted with the growth of your app.
App Clix is a data-lover’s dream. Source: mobileappdaily.com
What was once separated out between Amazon Mobile Analytics and Amazon Pinpoint is now included in one super-tool which allows you to measure app usage and revenue, as well as data to compare new and returning customers.
- Collect user information and run campaigns to improve user engagement.
- Communicate with global customers in over 200 countries around the world.
- Export raw data into Amazon S3 and Amazon Redshift for analysis.
Amazon Pinpoint’s most basic package can be used for free and covers up to 100 million app events per month. This version also allows you to target 1,000 customers and send 1 million push notifications.
App Annie is a super tool for tracking app performance based on usage, revenue, downloads, and spending. Data is broken down between countries and app stores, and best of all, it’s all for free. App Annie works across all major mobile operating systems and you can access reports via their web dashboard, apps, emails, and CSV reports.
Other trackable metrics and tools include:
- Ad campaign performance based on ROI, CPI, and the total active installs.
- Support with your localization strategy via geographical user information.
- The impact that app updates have had on downloads and usage.
CleverTap is a great tool for marketers who are looking to create powerful engagement strategies.
One of its key features is the impressive suite of segmentation tools. You can assign multiple segments and set triggers to have them move to other segments based on behavioral conditions of your choosing. This gives a dynamic representation of your audience that is invaluable to marketers.
You can do lots with CleverTap:
- Find out how many people are using an app in real time.
- Determine how many users are new and how many are returning.
- Trigger push notifications and emails to improve engagement.
- Set up funnels and custom events to track in-app user behavior.
CleverTap offers a free trial, so it’s definitely worth giving it a go.
Appfigures is a popular tool which businesses like Slack and Snapchat trust, and with good reason. It’s excellent for monitoring and optimizing downloads and revenue. This tool is easy to set up and the real-time alert functionality makes it effortless to keep track of app’s performance.
- View hourly rankings to keep on top of app performance against the competition.
- Read and reply to App Store reviews.
- Easily create flexible reports that let you hone in on the numbers you need.
Matomo is another free tool with great customization options. This open source tool is attractive because it allows you to keep your user data private instead of channeling it through third-party services. Although it can take some time to master Matomo, it’s worth the effort, and once you’re up and running there’s a lot that you can do with it. It can be hosted on your own infrastructure or in the tool’s cloud and offers SDKs for Android, iOS, and Titanium.
Here’s what you can do with Matomo:
- Track user numbers, demographics, and device information.
- Monitor the performance of an app, including errors and loading times.
- Analyze the user experience and optimize each step of their journey.
- Drive your SEO strategy with search engine referrer metrics.
Appsee is a superb qualitative app analytics platform which offers great tools such as heat mapping and user recordings. It’s one of the best options available to get an in-depth analysis of your users’ behavior, which gives you the tools you need to improve the customer journey through your app.
Pros of Appsee:
- Watch user actions to understand exactly how they interact with your product.
- Track gestures with heatmaps to see which navigation and interaction tools are used the most.
- Receive real-time video reports on app crashes to help fix them quickly.
- Pre-define events and receive insightful analytics.
Mixpanel can be used by mobile app developers to gather events-based analytics. It’s simple to use: just install their SDK and start creating custom events so you can track data from within your app.
With Mixpanel you can do the following:
- Look into the user demographics of the people downloading your app.
- Discover why people are uninstalling or abandoning it.
- Use push notifications and emails to engage with customers.
- Run A/B testing on your messages.
Mixpanel has a small footprint, and their smart algorithm optimizes the data you receive to keep performance snappy. It also won’t misreport if your app is offline, giving you data that you can trust.
Firebase is a Google-acquired tool that delivers comprehensive app analytics as well as providing a growth platform. This free service gives you a huge range of analytical insight without any troublesome sampling, quotas, or paid tiers.
Use this tool to:
- Receive reporting on up to 500 events.
- Discover popular features that engage users and find out which push notifications are working.
- Integrate your data with BigQuery to run your own analysis and create custom dashboards.
- Use the Firebase SDK to gain insight into events, user properties, and more.
Amplitude is the tool you need if you want to discover what makes your users tick. It’s designed to help you release better products that will help you grow your audience and your business, and is trusted by the likes of PayPal and Capital One.
Growth is the name of the game with Amplitude, and you can:
- Track product data and use behavioral reporting to see why users return to your app.
- Find out what’s not working so you can eliminate issues and improve retention.
- Increase user engagement by benchmarking the stickiness of new features against old ones.
- Discover new demographics in your customer base so you can effectively target them.
Keen is all about user-facing metrics that are easy to get up and running. With just a couple of lines of code, you can seamlessly integrate your data analytics in an attractive and simple to use interface that mirror’s your app’s look. The tool was built with developers in mind, and its focus on qualitative data can be very useful for growing an app that keeps users happy.
There’s plenty you can do with it:
- Track events and see what’s working for your app (and what isn’t).
- Gather real-time analytics for valuable metrics that can help you grow.
- Gain actionable insight into how users behave in your app.
DevMate is a comprehensive distribution and app management platform. It gives you in-depth marketing metrics, analytics, and real-time conversion ratios that you can use to grow your app and increase retention.
It uses three main types of metrics – visits, sales and downloads – to deliver the following information:
- Conversion rates among your users.
- Details on which marketing campaigns are achieving the highest traffic.
- Revenue reports, including any refunds.
- Funnel performance so you can see which areas of your app are working hardest.
Fabric was originally built by Twitter and then acquired by Google. Fabric is a comprehensive suite of developer tools designed for demographic understanding and mobile app growth.
Using Fabric can:
- Provide real-time data on crash reporting and analytics.
- Give you alerts on app issues which can affect the user experience.
- Track active users and gather insight in any way you want.
- Use live social content that can boost your user engagement.
Fabric is free to start with, so is worth a try to see if it works for your business.
Crashlytics is linked to Fabric and is the most powerful and lightweight crash reporting solution currently available. Crashlytics gives app developers great insights into what’s going wrong within mobile apps. This tool helps you find and fix crashes quickly so they don’t cost you users.
- Show you exactly which line of code your app crashed on.
- Improve growth and retention by providing a better user journey.
- Provide clear and concise analytics that don’t take too much time to analyze.
Applink touts itself as making data helpful by providing clearer insights. Applink the only app software platform that provides insight into users and products through a combination of analytics, engagement, and performance metrics.
The aim of Applink is to:
- Achieve higher engagement by creating meaningful interactions with users.
- Gain clarity on your app’s performance and its user experience.
- Save time by collating data and allowing fixes in the same dashboard.
- Attract new users, increase retention, and drive revenue.
AppsFlyer boasts analytical marketing features and allows you to track app installs back to every marketing campaign and media source that your team has utilized. Using measurable data, AppsFlyer aims to grow your business and make the most of your marketing budget.
With AppsFlyer you can:
- Review impressions and click data to see the ROI for your marketing campaigns.
- Measure the impact of mobile marketing to discover the LTV of new app users on a channel by channel basis.
- Collate raw data to run an offline analysis.
- Get real-time reporting on marketing campaigns, so you can quickly tweak communications.
AppsFlyer offers a 30-day trial and is then priced based on a pay-per-use model.
Bango is used for enabling online payments for internet giants such as Google and Amazon, as well as many other smaller mobile apps. Their technology allows for various payment methods to be offered, ensuring that no potential customer is restricted from purchasing through your app.
The perks of Bango include:
- It’s a single integration that allows for hundreds of worldwide payment providers.
- Bango Grid reaches the maximum number of paying customers faster than any other method.
- Bango Dashboard provides real-time insights into your customers’ spending.
TrafficGuard serves a different purpose, in that it provides some of the best mobile ad fraud protection available. This smart tool blocks fraud before it hits your advertising budget. They’ve blocked over 4 billion fraudulent transactions to date which amounts to a huge sum of money saved.
Key features of TrafficGuard include:
- Three-stage fraud prevention: at click, attribution, and post-attribution levels.
- Non-human traffic is blocked, helping you collect authentic user data.
- Fraud reports are comprehensive and easy to understand and integrate.
- Manage multiple campaigns in a single portal.
Which App Analytic Tool Should You Use?
Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer to this question. The app analytic tools that you use will be defined by the metrics you specifically need to track your apps value. Your choice will also boil down to the budget you have to spend on analytic tools.
Luckily many of these tools are offered with free trials or limited accounts. Take advantage of these offers to become acquainted with the user interface and functionality of the analytic tool before you commit to purchasing.
Even with a limited budget, it’s advisable to at least set up an account to measure the generic metrics with a free analytic tool listed in this article.
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