Mobile Analytics: What to Measure

  • March 7, 2016
  • wishtree
  • Blogs

At the beginning of this series we explained that the true value of any analytics strategy is its ability to help you make make decisions (or better decisions) about your product, marketing strategy or operations.

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So as we look at 4 major considerations useful for anyone with a mobile app.

1. Identify the questions first

Pretty graphs and visual representations of your data are great. They make you feel ‘in control’ and can lead to interesting insights regarding your app.

However, the real value of data is the ability to make decisions. As we reviewed in our third post, before you get started, think about some of the most important questions your product needs answers to:

• What drives users to my app?
• Why and when do they make a purchase?
• Why do users leave my app?
• What keeps them more engaged

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2. Identify the full customer lifecycle

A user’s mobile experience is far more than just the in-app experience. Think about the full lifecycle from initial touch point to the end vs. just the in-app experience.

Identify where a user might be introduced to your app all the way through to the last point where a user will never use your app again. Doing so will help identify points of contact to analyse.

Imagine getting full view into the experience from:

A) Mobile ad

B) App store page view

C) Install

D) Run app

E) App engagement

F) Retargeting campaign

G) Final session

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3. Segment groups of users to identify patterns

Different types of users have different patterns of engagement. Identify those segments, find patterns that match and make decisions based on those patterns. And don’t forget the full user lifecycle when segmenting.

Some ideas to consider:

• Source (organic, cross promotion or paid user acquisition)
• 7 day retention benchmarks
• Light to heavy users in terms of number of sessions
• Length of gameplay
• Purchase behaviors
• Duration between sessions

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4. Be consistent!

In any app analytics strategy it’s pivotal to be consistent in your approach for gathering and reporting on your data.

Talking about the fundamentals of analytics. Stay true to your naming scheme, cohort definitions, event implementations and defined parameters. Do more of what works and cut the rest!

What is Important

Knowing how many people download your app, how much money you’re making, or what users think of your app is important. But it’s definitely not the only thing you should be tracking. That’s where app analytics tools are vital.

It’s not all about the number of downloads. You also need to learn how, when, where and by what kind of audience your app is used.

Of course you can get a sense of that when you have people trying your app in front of you. But if you really want to know how well your app is doing, you need more data.

Believe it or not, your users are probably not using your app exactly like you think they are.

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What to Track and Why

An interesting post from Dave McLure explains the key metrics startups should use. I tend to believe that a lot of things that are true for startups are true for mobile apps too.

For example, I think that app developers should copy more what entrepreneurs do for marketing before their launch. But I digress…here are the “Pirate” metrics Dave talks about:

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You can measure some of the acquisition/revenue metrics using app downloads and revenue tracking tools, but if you use only that you will still be missing some important data.

By monitoring the right things, you’ll be able to learn a lot about your users and improve your app or your game.

A couple of other things before jumping to our thoughts:

• Start monitoring things before you publish your app on the mobiles stores: even if you got only a few beta testers (try having as many as possible!), the data can still be used as an indicator
• Different tools for different apps: what might be a perfect tool for a kind of app might bring much less value for another
• Track what makes sense for your app and for your audience: not every app has the same objectives. And depending on which stage you are at, the KPIs that make more sense might change.
• Cohort analysis is really important
• Know where your app is going: do your best to pick a tool that you can still use (or afford) when you get more users, add platforms or countries