How Visual Mobile Analytics Can Improve UX and Increase Retention

Learn how to retain your users with visual mobile analytics. This post shows you how.

Mobile visual analytics

About the Author: Robin Schwartz is the Community Manager at Appsee App Analytics, a visual analytics solution. She has been working in Tech for over nine years and loves working in the Mobile space.

She can be reached on LinkedIn.

Hearing about a magnificent rainbow doesn’t hold a candle to seeing a magnificent rainbow. There is something to having a visual picture that simply cannot be matched by imagination.

Or data.

Receiving a report with numbers and charts regarding your app’s performance is nice, but it does not give you the full picture like it would if you had the chance to see your app through your users’ eyes. For this reason we are going to take a look at visual analytics and discover how seeing can lead to very real app improvement down the line.

Understanding the Value of User Experience

You cannot talk about apps nowadays without mentioning user experience (UX) and how crucial it is to an app’s success. There are so many apps available in the app market that if a user finds something problematic with yours they can easily drop it and locate an equivalent app.

It is hard enough to draw the attention of someone looking to download an app, let alone hold on to them, so you will want to make sure your app is flawless and not give users any reason to abandon it. To accomplish this, you will need exceptional UX.

It is of utmost importance that load times are quick, that the user interface (UI) has no issues - regardless of mobile device or platform, that there are no crashes, and so on. Not making common UX mistakes will make your app stand out in a way that inspires users to not only stick around, but to sing its praises, leading other others to check it out.

Why User Retention Matters

As hinted above, obtaining users and keeping users are both challenges, but two very different beasts.

Through App Store Optimization and a series of different techniques, it is possible to rank well in app stores and gain the exposure you need to get your app out there and downloaded. But the next step is most crucial, the one that will inevitably make-or-break your app: user retention.

Holding on to your users can be a challenge. The efforts that are required to accomplish this are not minimal, but they are necessary.

We will touch on those a bit later in this post.

Why Visual Mobile Analytics Make a Difference

An important part of making sure your users are satisfied with using your app is tracking what is happening within the app on the aggregated session level as well as on the user session level. Traditional analytics – such as Google Analytics and Flurry - can provide you with an overall look at how your app is performing by focusing on key metrics, though it neglects to explain why certain actions are taking place.

So you may know that your retention rate is low but you will not understand why users have stopped returning to use your app. To gain insight into the why behind user actions and acquire an in-depth understanding of the user experience, a visual analytics solution is ideal.

There are two visual features that are key to getting those insights for improved user retention, and combined, they offer a top-down/bottom-up approach to success: User Recordings and Touch Heatmaps.

User Recordings

User Recordings are the bottom-up side of the equation. User recordings allow you to watch actual user sessions and see exactly how users experience an app in order to understand where the pain-points are. They provide user-level data that offers insights into how users experience any juncture of the app, from the onboarding process to login to making a purchase, as well as visual access that makes abundantly clear where users run into technical problems or issues with usability and UX.

The video below explains exactly how the user recording works. In this particular case, a user received an error pop-up when attempting to log in to Facebook, indicating a technical problem with the app. It is possible the user will attempt to log in a second time, and maybe even a third, but with a recurring error a user will get frustrated and leave the app, mostly likely never to return. User recordings will showcase why your retention rate is so low and provide insights into how it can be improved.

Touch Heatmaps

The top-down half comes from Touch Heatmaps, which aggregate data so you can optimize multiple factors of the app, such as UI design and usability, based on your analysis of the user behavior. Touch heatmaps record all touch gestures, like taps, pinches, and swipes, and allows you to see where and what on the screen is used most.

lt="heatmaps for apps

So if there is a feature on the screen that is generally ignored by users, you can decide to remove it from the page, freeing up space on the small screen and fine-tuning the UI.

Together, you get a complete picture of how a user engaged with your app so you can begin to understand the reasons behind their actions and what measures need to be taken in order to improve the retention, and the overall UX. If the problem is technical, developers know exactly what it is they need to correct in order to get things running smoothly again. If the issue is with UI, UX, or usability, it is easy to alter the app based on what users were having trouble dealing with.


Optimizing the UX and providing a flawless app leads to a drop in abandonment rates and an increase in user retention rates. Gaining access into the way real users interact with your app via visual analytics is the remedy for user drop-off and the key to giving them a reason to return to it, time and again.

Image Source: Come Back Soon -

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Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: March 2015

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