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MOBILE APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT · HUGH KIMURA · JANUARY 2014

Mobile App Analytics And Why You Need It Now

If you have a mobile app, you need to install mobile app analytics. This post will explain why there are no excuses for not using it, what to aviod and how to get started.

If you have not installed in-app mobile analytics yet, there is no reason not to. In this post, we will show you how analytics can help you, what services are available and which metrics you should pay attention to.

What Mobile App Analytics Help You Understand

The analytics package you choose will depend on your budget and the type of app that you have. Regardless of which solution you choose, there are a few common functions that come with most analytics solutions.

Most offerings allow you to track how users move through your app, setup goal funnels, segment your users and estimate the lifetime value of a customer. You can also tell where users drop off and which acquisition methods are the most effective. However, since there is so much data available, be sure that you are focusing on the right information.

Beware Of Vanity Metrics

Vanity metrics refer to measurements that might sound impressive on their own, but don't really help you figure out what is really working, or ensure the long-term success of your app. Things like number of new users or daily active users may seem like good things to track and there is some value in it, but they should not be the only way that you measure the success or failure of your app.

To put it another way, it is like measuring the number of Twitter users you have. It might feel good to say that you increased your Twitter follower count by 200%, but how many of those new followers actually click on your links, come to your website and buy your products? You will have to dig deeper to find out.

You should concentrate on app metrics that will really help you get a complete picture of how people use your app. Things like engagement, retention and average return per user are just some of the metrics that will help you get a better understanding of how your app is really doing. More importantly, if you can figure out what parts of your app are stopping people from doing what you want them to do, you will know how to fix them.

Top Analytics Solutions

The great thing is that there are a ton of options available. You just have to do some research and find out which one works best for you. Let's take a look at some of your options.

Flurry

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Flurry is one of the most complete mobile analytics packages available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Hybrid Apps, HTML5, Blackberry and JavaME. It is free and offers a lot of ways to analyze how people use your app.

Google Analytics For Mobile Apps

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It took awhile for Google to get into the mobile analytics game, which was a little surprising, especially since they have been one of the leaders in web analytics. But if you already use Google Analytics for your website, adding mobile analytics is simple and will make it easy to access all of your data in one place. Naturally, it is available for Android, but there is also an iOS SDK available.

Apsalar

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Apsalar has the usual set of analytics tools and they are free. They also have attribution analytics, allowing you to see how much revenue you generate by campaign source.

Like Flurry and Google, they also have an ad network, which presumably allows them to offer the analytics product for free to entice developers to advertise with them in the future. It is available for iOS and Android.

MixPanel

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Mixpanel tracks events such as sharing, account signup, purchases, and more. The free version gives you a limited amount of "data points" every month, before you have to start paying. It is available for iOS and Android.

Localytics

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A useful feature that is highlighted on their homepage is the ability for their product to track user actions even when the device is not connected to the internet. All of the data is cached until the user reaches an internet connection. This is really handy since some users do spend a good portion of time without data coverage.

The free version does not allow you to do things like setup goal funnels and track session length, so it might not be for you if you are looking for a comprehensive free option. Available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry and HTML5.

Other Solutions

Here are a few other solutions that you might be interested in.

Conclusion

Finally, if you still need another reason to install app analytics, then consider this. There may be a point in the future where you want to sell your app and if you have analytics installed, you are about 43% more likely to sell your app if it has analytics installed.

So take some time to choose the solution that is right for you, install it and use it. The success of your app depends on it.

Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below.


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Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: January 2014

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