For brands that are designing, launching, promoting and investing in mobile apps, tracking the right engagement metrics is critical to long-term success in terms of ROI and growth. Mobile analytics tools are the key to obtaining and measuring data that can help you track the success of your app.
Using mobile analytics tools, you can get real-time app insights, better understand your users and their needs, adapt your app to their behavior and preferences, and make sure they come back for more.
In this piece, I’ll cover the basics of understanding mobile analytics and how to track and use user engagement data.
Can’t seem to make your users stick around for the long haul? 4 Tips To Improve User Retention For Your App
Focus on user sessions instead of pageviews
Since analytics tools first appeared for websites, marketers and analytics experts tend to perceive mobile analytics with the same mindset as the web. But the reality is that there are some important differences between the two.
The metrics for web analytics are centered around pageviews, while mobile analytics are focused on user sessions. The reason for the difference is that people use mobile apps in a fundamentally different way than they surf the web. While page tabs in browsers might remain idle for minutes or hours on end while the user is busy elsewhere, mobile app sessions are more concentrated and can reflect user behavior more accurately.
Moving away from the pageview mindset to the sessions-based mindset is the key to approaching app analytics.
Think beyond mere downloads
Every app marketing campaign starts with user acquisition, i.e. getting as many downloads for your app as possible. But app downloads per se do not show the long term value of your users. In fact, a considerable percentage of downloaded apps are never used. Therefore, measuring your app marketing with download rates is the same as measuring site success with traffic rates only.
The real metrics of successful app marketing is user engagement data. Successful app developers gather data to measure retention, behavior and revenue streams.
Define the right metrics for your app
The metrics to measuring user engagement will very much depend on your brand goals and your perspective. Developer, marketers, sales executives, and business owners tend to have slightly different goals in mind when looking at analytics data. The following questions can help you define your metrics:
- What is the main goal you wish to accomplish with your app?
- How do you expect your users to behave while in your app?
- What are the paths you expect your users to use within the app?
- What is the conversion goal?
The key to understand here is that all apps are different and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to defining success metrics. When you have a clear vision of what you need, you can make better use of your analytics data. Otherwise, you’ll end up drowning in endless stretches of data that will be of no use.
Gotta get users first before you can measure ’em: How To Amplify Your App Store Presence And Get More Installs
Track valuable metrics
Once you set your goals, you’ll need to sift through your analytics data to assess your performance based on those goals. To this end, the following data will always come in handy:
- Users: Tracking users helps you better understand your user base and gives you a baseline to improve engagement through segmenting and funneling.
- Session length: The period of time users spend in your app per-session helps you identify your more active users.
- Session interval: The time between sessions helps you figure out the frequency users open your app.
- Time in app: The amount of time users have spent in your app over a period of time (e.g. 24 hours). This metric gives a different perspective than session length and interval and can help you measure behavior over time.
- Acquisition: The number of users who download and install your app. You can further specialize this metric by filtering download rates by region and source (such as word-of-mouth, organic search, etc).
- Screen flow: This metric involves tracking exits per screen, flow between screens and number of visits per screen. This can help you analyze user interaction with specific screens and pinpoint problem areas.
- Retention: The number of users who return to your app after their first visit. This metric helps you track your most engaged and valuable users.
- Lifetime value: This is the main revenue metric and represents how much each customer is spending in your app over time.
Integrate with other channels
While setting up and tracking your mobile analytics, keep in mind that your app isn’t the only channel where users interact with your brand. You must be sure to give a consistent experience to your users across all platforms.
Tracking user experience in various channels and integrating them, such as in both your web and mobile app, can help you obtain a holistic view of your brand’s success and performance, and make decisions that go beyond your app alone.
Choose an analytics tool
When it comes to choosing an analytics tool, you have many to choose from. Here are a few that can help you get started:
- Localytics: A much praised analytics tool tailored specifically for mobile apps.
- Google Analytics: Google’s famous web analytics tools is also handy when it comes to mobile analytics.
- Mixpanel: A fine analytics tool that has decent segmentation and reporting features with highly granular data.
- Segment.io: This tool will help you consolidate data from different tools, including Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and KISSMetrics.
You can find a more-detailed list of analytics tools here.