Apple Analytics

Apple Analytics – New Features Review

At WWDC 2014, Apple announced Apple Analytics was coming.

Mobile app publishers and marketers anxiously awaited this new analytics module, expecting a release to coincide with the iPhone 6 release.

Not only did Apple not release their mobile app analytics module with the new OS and devices (iOS 8 and the 6 & 6 Plus at the time), it took until April of 2015 to be released in beta.

For a host of reasons, not to mention Facebook announcing expanded mobile app analytics a month earlier at f8, the Apple Analytics module fell short of expectations.

The question is – what did Apple provide visibility to that was not already available from existing, free services (Flurry, Google Analytics, Facebook) that was new, and actionable?

The beta release of Apple Analytics provided some data that only Apple has, but had not released before.

  • App Store Views (how many visitors to an app’s app store listing)
  • Sources – where the traffic to the app listing came from

Both pretty cool in theory.

If we know installs (what Apple is calling “units” in analytics), then we can calculate a conversion rate:

Units/App Store Views

Wow!  We can see if people viewing an app store listing ultimately install the app.

Low conversion rate?

  • Maybe our screenshots are not highlighting the most desired features
  • The first few lines of the description are not compelling
  • The app title is a turn-off

All information that only Apple can provide its developer community to build better apps and ultimately a better experience for Apple device users.

Except that there are other ways to install an app.

One being directly from search results.

Another is via a deeplink/app link.

So – to really understand conversion, so marketers and publishers can make better apps, we need to know installs (units) from an app view vs direct from search results (or direct link).

I assume Apple knows this, and I assume they understand units/app store views when units can come from various sources means there is no conversion rate to be measured.  No insight = no action.

If data isn’t actionable – you are doing it wrong.

So far – this data isn’t actionable.

That didn’t stop Apple from adding a new “feature” they are referring to as ratios.

mobile app analytics

As we know, if units can occur without an app store view, the ratio of units to app store views is meaningless.

For example, you are looking for the hotels.com app.  You search “hotels” in the app store, and the first result is the Hotels.com app.  Do you click to see the app’s store listing?  Or just download from the search results?

Hotels in Search

It would not be surprising if apps with popular brands had conversion rates exceeding 100%.

More units than app store views.

What about attribution?

The “sources” section of the Apple Analytics module provides some insights that could be hacked together before, but is now in 1 place.

Where is most of the traffic to an app’s store listing coming from?

Publishers did not have this insight before.

We could create custom links and track marketing efforts to an install and beyond, but not to the app store.

Before:

Custom Link > Install > Sessions/Revenue/Etc..

Now:

Source/Custom Link > App Store Listing > Install > Sessions/Revenue/Etc..

There is some value in this, but mostly for determining where a spike in traffic came from.

Marketers running campaigns, from ads to social media posts, generally create custom links for tracking.  Ultimately being able to attribute in-app actions to campaigns is what is valuable.

What’s Coming?

Expectations among marketers have been established somewhat by the web.  Google Analytics provides data on source, campaign, search terms used etc.. for web properties for years.

But apps are different, and Apple owns the more valuable user base and app ecosystem.

This is Apple getting its feet wet in providing analytics to its partners.

Expect more data on search terms used to find apps, which apps drove traffic via applinks and hopefully some adjustments to units and views to help publishers build better experiences for Apple users.

Indie Dev and ASO – App Marketing Starts Here

As an indie app developer – the main focus is often building a great  mobile game, but the ultimate goal of serious game developers and publishers is to build a game that is played, and generates enough revenue for continued development.

Investing to make a game better is hard if there is no ROI in sight.

Revenue comes from engaged users.

It takes time to optimize a game for engagement, but a great game solves the “engaged” part.

Wait – where do the users come from?

How do mobile apps get discovered?

The answer is “mostly from app store search“.

Which means the answer is also “marketing”.

Specifically app store optimization, the art and science of positioning an app for maximum exposure and conversion for relevant app store searches and installs.

But – most developers I know really just don’t like marketing.

It is more than “uninterested”.

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The impression is that marketing represents a huge distraction from making a great game.

It’s confusing and can be expensive with uncertain ROI.

And maybe just feels a little inauthentic.

Marketing and selling are kinda gross

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You are trying to convince people you don’t know to try your game.

Worse – you have to explain to them why it is so cool.

They should just “get it”…. and maybe they will….

But marketing is more than selling your mobile game.

They need to know it exists.

In fact – any mobile app marketing effort should start with positioning your game for discovery.

Discovery by people who may be actively searching for games just like yours.

Until the LTV (life time value) of a user exceeds the CPI (cost per install), investing in advertising can be an expensive way to acquire users.

Insanely expensive.

But positioning your mobile game so that people searching the app store for your app, or apps like yours, find your app – means acquiring organic downloads from an ultra-relevant audience.

ASO starts to make sense as the essential marketing investment for an indie game.

“If you build it, they will not come” is the oft-repeated, but perfect way to capture this idea that permeates developer circles.

If You Build it They Will Come... Just Kidding...

Build it, and help them find what you built.

That’s ASO.

And it should be part of every indie developer’s plan.

Check out our guide to ASO, and other help tips here.

To check out how our software can help your game be discovered, request a demo here.

Apple Passes 63 Billion Mobile App Downloads From Store Search

The Moscone Center in San Francisco has been busy, and one of the key takeaways from WWDC 2015 is the importance of ASO.
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After playing host to Google’s annual developer conference “Google I/O“, Apple held their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week.
While missing some of the splash of previous WWDCs, the 2015 version still delivered.
From Apple’s perspective – announcing Apple Music was the big reveal.
Some of the loudest applause came in an unexpected place, when Craig Federighi mentioned in (almost) passing that Swift would be opened-sourced.

100 billion apps downloaded in 7 years

When Apple CEO Tim Cook hits the stage, he is generally sharing macro-data and macro-strategies, and then letting others come up and dig into specific details of new products, services and releases.

While on stage – Cook shared a simply amazing statistic:

Apple has passed 100 billion apps downloaded

That’s 100 billion downloads from Apple’s app store in 7 years, with 1.5 million apps now in the store.

As recently as May 16th, 2013 Apple announced 50 billion downloads.

That means an additional 50 billion apps have been downloaded in just over 24 months, or 70 million apps per day.

According to a Nielsen report, and supported by other studies, app store search is the biggest driver of app downloads by a large margin – 63%.  This is a huge sign of ASO importance.

63% of apps found via search

Studies show a range of 50-65% of apps downloaded from app store search.

Using Nielsen’s 63% means every day almost 44 million apps are downloaded by users searching in the app store.

Increasing App Visibility in App Store Search Results

Identifying and connecting to your audience in the app stores has never been more important.

Cost per install (CPI) continues to rise across geographies.

Competition is expected to increase for mobile ad inventory as brands allocate more of their advertising budgets to mobile, driving mobile ad costs up even higher.

Organic app installs driven by app store search optimization is still the most effective long-term strategy for mobile app growth and adoption.

Learn more about how Gummicube helps our clients gain market share with a complete app store optimization strategy here.


For more on Apple’s WWDC 2015 – see our wrap up post here.

Apple WWDC 2015

Apple WWDC 2015 – Proactive Siri and Native Apple Watch Apps

The big news from WWDC 2015 was the release of Apple Music, new Mac OS El Capitan, and the announcement of iOS9.

Our favorites – new OS for Apple watch that allows for native apps, and an expanded Siri.

Similar to Google’s Now on Tap announcement at their recent developer conference,  a more contextually aware and thus useful and proactive Siri was revealed.

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The implications to mobile marketing and mobile apps are significant as both Apple and Google (and Facebook) have made it clear they recognize the market loves apps.

Siri is just one end point for a user to access search. Spotlight being another.

Apple wants to be sure users can reach the value in the mobile apps on their device with deeper integrations with content in the “mobile app silo”.

Enabling users to access content in an app from another app.

Enabling users to search (via Siri or Spotlight) with results that include app content.

Federighi said Siri — “has quietly become popular.”

Each week, Apple’s voice recognition software answers more than 1 billion requests.

Proactively suggesting apps based on various inputs and user behavior – weather app in the morning, music app on a run, calorie tracker after run or at cafe.

Having a mobile app means tapping into how users are interacting with their devices, like a website can’t.

Native Apps for the Apple Watch

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Apple Watch apps are about to take a big next step.

“Performance will be great. Responsiveness will be great. It’ll be a great new frontier for your Watch,” Apple’s Kevin Lynch

The new OS allows developers to access the watch microphone, speaker, and accelerometer.  Currently, Apple Watch apps run on an iPhone and are displayed to the watch.  

Not only does native watch apps mean much better, creative, faster apps – but more likely than not, we can expect to see an Apple Watch specific app store coming soon.

Since Apple Watch apps are really iPhone apps that are compatible with the watch, the app store has a curated list of Apple Watch compatible apps.

Expect this to change as developers start to release apps built specifically for the Apple Watch.

Another opportunity to collect and optimize app store meta data and tap into what your target market is looking for from the app stores.

A:B Testing for App Store Listing Optimization

A/B Testing for App Store Listing Optimization

Mobile A/B testing can be critical, even though an awful lot of discussion of app store optimization (ASO) is focused on text.

What are the best keywords to target for my app?

How should I name my app?

How do I write a description that converts eyeballs into users?

It is hard to convert potential users who never see your app in search results.

So it follows, optimizing the visibility of your app in Apple’s App Store and Google Play search should be the starting point of any comprehensive ASO effort.

Both Apple and Google create their search results based on (among other things) your app name/title, your keywords field (Apple), or the keywords used in your description (Google).

But how can you increase the conversion from app views to app installs?

Apple’s recent release of their analytics module – while not perfect - provides some insight into how well your design elements are converting from search results.

Design elements like your App’s

  • Icon
  • Screenshots
  • Promo videos

Even the first few lines of your description can have an impact on whether a potential user installs and opens your app, or if they simply scroll to the next app.

If optimizing visibility in search results is 1 big part of ASO – optimizing your design elements to maximize conversion from view to install is the 2nd big part.

Harder to measure but with a huge impact

One explanation for why mobile a/b testing and optimizing design elements often takes a backseat to “keywords” when discussing and even implementing ASO is because it is hard.

Neither Apple or Google allow publishers to create multiple icons, screenshots or videos and see which generates the most or highest LTV users.

There are some workarounds including submitting two similar apps with different icons, or changing creatives on new versions – but neither provides a true multi-variate test.

We will cover this topic in greater detail as in the coming weeks, including our suggestions and how we are helping our clients optimize their creatives and calls to action for maximum relevant conversions.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing