Analytics is key to measuring the execution and value of all the hard work you put into the app. There is a variety of platforms and services vying for the privilege of providing you with good app data.
So what can you do? Here are some things to think about:
1. Start Using App Analytics Way Before Your App Is In The Store
One tool to manage a data-driven beta period is TestFlight which allows developers to distribute a beta and analyze usage to facilitate quick iterative cycles. A lot of developers get caught up with feature and design changes during beta, but a data-driven beta period will result in a better product.
2. Your Users Might Not Use Your App The Same Way You Do
That’s why it’s so critical to get unbiased (i.e. not your friends and family) users using your app. Apple permits up to 100 users to be authorized per each standard developer account, and developers should really try to take advantage of each of these to collect feedback from a diverse sample of test users. One interesting tool you can use to get qualitative UI feedback is heatma.ps which is a supplemental analyics tool that allows developers to see which parts of your app users interact with using (you guessed it) heat maps. This can give you unbiased, behavioral feedback that goes beyond data, because “The best information always comes from real users.” as noted by heatma.ps CEO, Cyprian Ciećkiewicz.
3. Pick KPIs that Make Sense For Your Target Audience
For instance, a content publishing app might be more concerned with user retention, while an ecommerce app is invariably primarily interested in purchase conversions. As Wayne Chang, founder of crash reporting provider Crashlytics notes, “A bunch of useless numbers on a screen are not helpful. But, the right information, at the right times, can provide incredible insights that are actionable for the developers.” Be sure to define an analytics strategy that aligns with your app’s core offering.
As Suhail Doshi of mixpanel notes, app analytics isn’t about pageviews. Instead, “focus on measuring things that matter like specific engagement related to [your] app.”
4. There Are Different Analytics Providers for Different Types of Apps
For instance, Playtomic might be a good fit if you’re developing a mobile game, whereas Localytics might be a better choice if you’re building a content delivery app. Not all apps are created equal, and neither are all analytics platforms.
5. Analyze Market Data to Avoid Mistakes Competitors Have Already Made
There are a few analytics providers such as Distimo that offer market data. While you may find it a bit expensive to access, this type of data is useful to see what similar apps are doing in the marketplace relating to price and number of downloads. Armed with market data, developers can make well-informed decisions and potentially avoid mistakes that they see competitors making. For instance if a competing app is performing poorly at a $2 price point, you may be able to better determine the appropriate price for your app.
6. Make Sure You Install the Analytics Platform Correctly
Be careful to install (SDK’s) correctly, because an analytics platform that’s supplying faulty data is no good and counterproductive. Another important point when installing an SDK is to be mindful of how it might affect your app’s speed. When in doubt, consult your analytics provider’s support team to make sure everything is as it’s supposed to be. They might also be able to offer some helpful pro tips to help you get the most out of their product.
7. Pick a Provider You Can Grow With
If you’re considering monetizing your application through in-app advertising, you might want to use an analytics provider that also has partnerships with ad networks or strong ad delivery models.
8. Mobile App Analytics Shouldn’t End With Your Mobile App
Most notably, social media can offer hints about user sentiment pertaining to your application. Social media is also a good tool to detect flaws and connect with users, because users are usually the first to point out if something isn’t working as it’s supposed to or could improve.