Tag Archives: analytics

What to Track in Google Mobile App Analytics

What to Track in Google Mobile App Analytics

The Google Mobile App Analytics tool enables app developers and marketers to track a wide range of metrics as well as gather and use data on other analytics platforms.

However, first time users of Google’s feature-rich analytics solution may face difficulties selecting the metrics to track from the many options available.

As such, marketers and developers should focus on the following metrics:

Demographics

The demographics metric provides marketers and developers with key information about their app users. This includes gender, age, e-commerce activity, affinity categories, in-market segments, and interests exhibited when making bookings and purchases online, as well as other categories.

With this information, you can target specific app users more efficiently and effectively.

Install attribution

It is important to track consumers who install your app. Luckily, the Google mobile app analytics tool makes this easier via the Install Attribution feature that you can use to determine the origin of your app’s users (both Android and iOS).

More specifically, this feature is linked to the Google Play Referral Flow feature, which makes it possible to view data related to an app’s installation process. This includes every bit of activity from viewing the app on the app store to installing and launching it.

More importantly, iOS developers can use the iOS Install Tracking feature to determine where app users originated from before they even got to the App Store.

In-app actions

You should track the activities that consumers undertake inside your app to determine whether they are using in-app features, how frequently they use each feature, how often they open your app, and how much time they spend in-app.

Thanks to Google Mobile App Analytics’ Events feature, you can do so easily in several ways. To start with, you can order/group in-app events according to a custom category descriptor. For instance, you could create a category called “videos” to track how many times app users downloaded or watched video content.

Moreover, you can track several metrics within an event category. For example, measuring how long it took to download a video or music file, as well as the number of clicks on video play, pause or stop button.

Lifetime value (LTV)

The lifetime value metric enables you to determine the value of app users based on their actions. According to Google, metrics that one can track in this category include:

• Sessions per user
• Appviews per user
• Transactions per user
• Revenue per user
• Goal completions per user
• Session duration per user

The LTV report has two essential elements: acquisition date and X-axis in the graph. The former element covers a specific date period.

For example, you can use this element to view the number of users acquired during or after a marketing campaign. The X-axis in the graph element can be set to cover a day, week, or month (incremental in nature) up to a maximum of 90-days.

Since these metrics can be viewed on graphs, it is even easier for app developers to make sense of the abovementioned LTV metrics.

Cross-device activity

Since many consumers own and use multiple Internet-enabled devices, it is necessary to track their cross-device actions. Once again, you can do so via a feature in the Google Mobile App Analytics called Measurement Protocol.

This protocol enables developers to query Google Analytics servers for raw app user interaction data. As such, developers can access data related to offline and online activities, analyze user activity data using other tools, and transmit data from the server as well as client.

Furthermore, developers can implement the Android SDK’s “userId” field to gather more accurate cross-device user data.

Cohort analysis

Cohort analysis enables users to examine the behavior of groups/categories of users related to each other by a common attribute. A good example would be using this metric to evaluate and measure the performance of a marketing campaign relative to the number of new users acquired.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking allows one to measure his/her app metrics against aggregated industry metrics.

Google says that it covers more than 1600 industry categories that can be refined further by geographic location and traffic size. Benchmarking data can be viewed according to location (country/territory), device (desktop, tablet, mobile), and default channel grouping (social, email, referral, organic search, display, and paid search).

Developers can compare their app metrics against industry benchmarks such as:

• New sessions percentage
• Bounce rate
• Pages/session
• Number of sessions
• New sessions (initiated by new users)
• Average session duration

Conclusion

The Google Mobile App Analytics solution gives users the ability to track a wide range of key metrics. Some of the metrics that marketers and developers are likely to find useful include lifetime value, cohort analysis, install attribution, demographics, in-app actions, cross-device activity and benchmarking.

4 Awesome Free Mobile Analytics Services

4 Awesome Free Mobile Analytics Services

One way developers can stay ahead of the competition in today’s highly competitive business environment is by incorporating data-driven solutions into their mobile apps.

Luckily, developers can access a whole host of free and premium mobile analytics tools. With that in mind, here is a look at four awesome free mobile analytics services.

Google Mobile App Analytics

Search giant Google has a mobile app analytics solution that developers can use to measure a wide range of metrics.

Some of the key features available via the Google Analytics for Mobile Apps solution include Install Attribution, Mobile SDKs, Cross-Device Data, Event Tracking, Demographics & Remarketing, Google Tag Manager, as well as Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis.

In addition, developers can import data into this data analytics solution from their CRM platforms.

Developers can also integrate other Google products including AdMob, AdWords, Google Display Network, and Google Play into Google Analytics for Mobile Apps.

Besides data ingestion and import, this product supports real-time data analytics and reporting. This includes Acquisition Reporting, Audience Reporting, Cohorts Reporting, Conversion Reporting, Custom Reporting, Ecommerce Reporting, and Reporting APIs.

More importantly, Google’s mobile data analytics tool allows businesses and marketers to use the data insights gleaned to improve their marketing campaigns via Alerts & Intelligence and Experiments.

For instance, one can run A/B tests via Content Experiments in Google Tag Manager. To access and use this solution, Google recommends setting up an Analytics account. From your account, you can set up Google Tag Manager and Analytics SDK app properties.

Twitter Fabric

The social networking site Twitter offers a mobile data analytics solution aptly called Twitter Fabric Mobile Analytics. With this solution, developers and entrepreneurs can get real-time data on diverse metrics all within the same dashboard, meaning no more jumping from one dashboard to another.

Twitter has even made it easier to track and measure mobile data metrics by providing developers with SDKs that address analytics issues ranging from verifying users, to generating revenue.

These SDKs include Crash Reporting, Mobile Analytics, Mobile Identity, Growth, Monetization, Infrastructure, Payments, Optimization, UX Analysis, Maps, Realtime Signaling, and Game Analytics.

Out of these, the mobile analytics module will be of interest to developers and entrepreneurs because it enables one to measure and quantify metrics including:

  • Daily active users
  • Daily new users
  • Daily active users by OS
  • Median session length
  • Sessions per active user
  • Monthly active users
  • Daily active user to monthly active user ratio (DAU/MAU ratio)
  • Active users right now
  • Daily users for top builds
  • Time in app per user
  • Percent crash-free users

To make it easier to use this mobile analytics solution, Twitter has integrated it with the Crashlytics kit. It is worth noting that Twitter analyzes the behavior of apps tied to this platform and alerts their owners or developers when they observe abnormal behavior.

Facebook Mobile SDK

According to Facebook, its Facebook Analytics for Apps enables users to measure all customer activity across devices.

To start with, this solution has a feature called Events that you can use to view key trends related to your app. More importantly, you can view these trends by gender, age, country, platform, and language.

Another key feature is “Funnels,” which enables one to monitor accessibility problems especially when app users face difficulties accessing certain features, navigating in-app, or accessing specific content.

The “Cohort” feature makes it easy to compare current performance metrics against historical data. As such, you can make tweaks to your app to improve the lifetime value of app users, retention rate, and repeat purchase rate.

Finally, the “Segments” feature enables app owners to understand their customers better. This is because Segment consists of filters that one can use to investigate the behavior of a specific consumer demographic.

Luckily, Facebook Analytics comes with several in-built graphs that enable users to display app user actions as charts.

Flurry Analytics

According to Flurry, its analytics solution supports all major mobile platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and mobile web.

One useful feature is Flurry User Acquisition Analytics (UAA), which enables app owners and marketers to monitor metrics such as install, clicks, and impressions for purposes of optimizing and maximizing marketing ROI.

Furthermore, Flurry Analytics allows one to drill down into key metrics at the campaign level. You can also use Flurry UAA to customize user and campaign quality parameters. Another great feature is Crash Analytics that you can use to monitor and investigate app crash issues.

Flurry Analytics will even estimate key app metrics such as the age and gender of app users even if you do not track these demographics.

In general, you can use Flurry Analytics to segment app users, filter data according to selected segments, and analyze data to understand the performance of chosen segments.

Conclusion

Whether you are developing a mobile app to promote an upcoming event, promote a product/service, or improve brand reach, you should measure user actions via mobile data analytics. Some of the best free mobile analytics solutions available today include Google Analytics for Mobile Apps, Twitter Fabric Mobile Analytics, Facebook Analytics for Apps and Flurry Analytics.

A Comprehensive Overview Of ITunes App Analytics

A Comprehensive Overview Of ITunes App Analytics

While there are plenty of tools for tracking app performance, iTunes App Analytics stands out from the crowd for a number of reasons. The following information can help you see what this program does, how it works and what its strong and weak points are.

The Basics

The iTunes App Analytics program tracks engagement for iOS and tvOS apps. The program is free and no additional code is required for use. This analytics program tracks engagement on apps installed on iOS 8 and/or tvOS 9 and later.

The Features

The iTunes App Analytics program offers the following features and amenities:

- Product page creation

- Download tracking

- Ability to create unique links for each marketing campaign

- Campaign tracking with StoreKit API

- Sales tracking

- Sessions tracking

- Detailed overview of users

- Metrics

- Retention rate

Understanding the Data

The iTunes App Analytics program has made it possible for app developers to obtain a wealth of information free of charge. The download tracking system shows the geographic location of each app downloader, what app was downloaded and which website it was downloaded from.

The developer will also be able to see what time and day of the week the app was downloaded. Re-downloads are not included in the data; all downloads listed are from first time users.

Usage is also tracked in a comprehensive manner. A developer using this analytics platform will be able to see what time the app was used, the geographic location of the user and how long the app was in the foreground for. If the app is in the foreground for more than two seconds, this counts as a session; if the app is sent to the background or closed and reopened, this would count as another session. The number of active devices (i.e. how many devices had at least one active session with the app within a specified time period) is also counted.

Retention statistics are also offered. They are valuable because they enable a developer to see who is not only downloading the app but also installing and using it. These stats, like all other stats outlined above, can be sorted by various date specifications (i.e. seven days, one month, a quarter, a year, etc.)

Data Accuracy

Unfortunately, iTunes App Analytics does not process data in real time. Data is only processed at a time when user experience will not be affected, which means that it may take up to 72 hours for some statistic fields to be fully updated. Bear this in mind when tracking recent statistics to avoid underestimating the number of active users, sessions and retention rate.

Developers will notice that iTunes App Analytics has placed the phrase “User Opt-in” next to certain statistics. As the phrase would imply, this means that users can opt whether or not to send this data to Apple. Because some users will opt not to transfer their data, the stats for certain fields may be lower than they actually are.

Making the Most of the Data

There is so much valuable data available on iTunes App Analytics that it can be hard to know where to start. Following are some simple guidelines that can help developers understand the information they are receiving and make the most of it.

Time Tracking

As was noted above, developers can sort statistics based on time. Seeing what time of day, day of the week and day of the month has the most downloads, sales and engagement will help a developer know when to put up apps for sale, when to advertise certain goods on the app and more.

Geographic Location

While user identity is never shown, a developer will be able to see users’ geographic location. Knowing where the majority of users live will enable one to create targeted local advertising campaigns and create special features that would appeal to a local target demographic.

Conversion and Usage Data

Conversion data is comprehensive, allowing developers to see the ROI for each campaign and each app. Even so, the usage data is just as important if no more so. Low usage statistics indicate that while an advertising campaign may be successful, users are not happy with the product and are therefore unlikely to buy new products from the same developer.

Any app developer who is serious about marketing iOS and tvOS apps should give iTunes App Analytics a spin. The program is not perfect but provides more than enough information to create successful marketing campaigns, tweak unattractive apps and create new, popular apps that will appeal to the target audience.

Google Mobile Analytics

Google Mobile Analytics

In the early days of mobile apps, marketers used Flurry Analytics in their iOS apps and Google Analytics in their Android apps.  Apple released an analytics module in iTunes Connect (where marketers and devs manage their apps) that only worked for iOS apps. Then Facebook started offered event-driven analytics as part of both Parse and the Facebook SDK.

The mobile analytics space has been fragmented by platform, and challenged with incorporating app data back to a multi-channel marketing campaign or a web property.

There were signs that Google was going to start to view their (primarily web) analytics service differently when KPIs like “visits” – which describes a web site visit – were changed to “sessions” – which was the way most referred to opening/starting a mobile app.

Google’s aim is to have access to data – which they monetize by organizing and aggregating for discovery.  Google did this with the web and became one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Social media and their walled gardens, and mobile apps and the information essentially hidden from Google in the app silos presented real challenges to Google being able to collect and aggregate data.

To make things worse for Google, the market was flocking to mobile apps, not just for games but for reading and watching videos and even search.

One of the places Google is uniquely positioned, Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics service by far.  GA offers all the basics one would expect from an analytics package – like number of sessions, when and from where, how long a session lasted, where they came from etc..  But GA also provides (free) tools for attribution, funnels, segmentation and more, all tied back to AdWords and AdSense.

Where Apple provides a basic analytics service for just iOS apps, Google’s mobile offering works across Android and iOS (connecting data from the same app across platforms), and the web.

A content publisher who both sells ad space and promotes content can now see how an article (for example) performed on their website, and in their app (both iOS and Android).

This is all free from Google.

If app downloads are the ultimate vanity metric, then user lifetime value (LTV) is the ultimate KPI. It is just that measuring LTV is not so easy, especially across marketing and consumption channels.

Google’s Mobile SDK gets marketers closer to a holistic view of their digital business and marketing efforts.

How Google Mobile Analytics Can Help Your Mobile App Marketing Campaigns

More than just merely providing data the volume of users of a given app, Google Mobile Analytics help marketers segment their audiences and maximize their mobile app marketing efforts.

Quick Quiz:  who knows you better?  Google, Facebook or your spouse?

They each know you in different ways, but the three (2 companies and your partner in life) are  probably closer than you think.

What that means here is Google can provide insights to who your audience is by broad demographics, but also with very specific personas.

LTV takes on a whole new meaning when you can not only track user LTV by source or funnel, but by persona.  Persona X converts with the highest LTV from Facebook ads, Persona Y via web ads, Persona Z shows the highest LTV when acquired organically in app store search.

  • Which channels created the highest number of downloads and which drove the most in-app purchases?
  • Which channel and persona showed high downloads but low retention?
  • Which channel can you scale, or what other channels can you use to reach a valuable target persona?

Google Mobile Analytics enables marketers and app developers to wade through data and make informed decision for better apps and better marketing.

Google Mobile Analytics Features and their Benefits

Marketers using Google Mobile Analytics stand to benefit from the data gathered from seven major features. This data when gathered provides the marketer with important information regarding the success or lack thereof of a given marketing campaign. Google Mobile Analytics features include the following:

Install Attribution

Mobile app install attribution tracks user interactions with an app that has resulted from specific marketing campaigns or activities.

The user interactions that can be measured include anything event driven:

  • App installation
  • In-app purchase
  • Repeat launch app
  • Level completion

Mobile SDKs

Native Android and iOS SDKs help marketers measure the level of user interaction with an app and its content.

For app publishers that have content parity on the web (a website), this feature helps connect in-app events and locations with the corresponding location on the web.  An example question – Did users read the recent article on Tesla longer in your app or on the web?

Cross-Device Data

Cross-device data employs a Measurement Protocol that uses a user ID feature to monitor data across devices and sessions when they are logged in. Measurement Protocol measure usage across digital platforms beyond apps and web log ins. This allows marketers to measure a user’s online activity and offline conversations.

Event Tracking

Events in the world of mobile apps measure in app activities by users. These events can include passing levels, adding items to cart (in the case of ecommerce) or up-voting. All of these and more are measured by Google Mobile Analytics’ event tracking feature.

Demographics and Remarketing

Demographics and remarketing is a two-fold feature of Mobile Analytics that provides marketers with data regarding:

  • The gender, age and interests of a user
  • Tools to build audience lists for retargeting

Facebook’s SDK is amazing at building audiences, but any app that spends to acquire users should use both Facebook and Google SDKs for analytics if for nothing more than the insights to users (in aggregate) these services provide.

Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis

As the name suggests, Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis is a report feature that allows developers and marketers to get insight regarding just how much revenue a given cohort have brought to the app since making their first visit.

The report shows retention rates for different groups and uses and allows developers and marketers to develop a long-term picture of how users value the app and the features therein over time. This feature supports making positive long-term marketing decisions.

Your can learn more about Google Mobile Analytics here, and check out our other posts on mobile analytics here.

Parse Migration and Alternatives

Parse Migration and Alternatives

In a surprise to much of the community, Parse is folding up shop and will now be available only as an open-source Node.js project.

A quick bit of history – Parse is a BaaS or Backend as a Service, making it easy for developers to build a database of assets for mobile apps, as well as add services like authentication and push to their mobile apps.

Facebook acquired Parse in April of 2013, and it looked like the future was bright.  Parse had just released an Apple TV SDK and Apple Watch SDK, and updated their user interface and dashboard.

Per the announcement from Parse, Parse will start winding down, and will be shuttered as a paid service January 2017.

Parse is written in Node.js – so there are several migration paths available for database users, but no support for push notifications or analytics.

Parse Migrations Options

Since Parse is built on Node.js using the Express server framework, publishers can host the new Parse Server wherever they currently host Node.js. Two popular hosting services built specifically for hosting Node.js applications are Heroku and Digital Ocean.

For a guide on migrating from Parse to MongoDB on Heroku – check out this guide from Reinder over at LearnAppMaking.com.

migrate-from-parse

Migrating your Parse database to a new MongoDB instance and migrating from Parse is (strongly) suggested to be completed by April 28th, 2016.  Roughly 90 days from this post.

parse-migrate-dates

Alternative Services for Push

The simple integration of push notifications into a mobile app was one of the biggest draws for Parse users – and will not be available in the new Parser Server.

As both a user of Parse Push and a big believer in the power of notifications, I think it is fair to say Parse Push was limited in both ability to segment and in managing transactional notifications.

Adam Marchick, the CEO of Kahuna – a mobile marketing automation company that uses notifications with email and Facebook ads to drive personalized engagements at scale – weighed in with this post and graphic stating:

The evolution from batch-and-blast messaging to personalized customer experiences.

kahuna-push-parse

Urban Airship is another company that has been an industry leader with their mobile engagement platform, with push and local notifications at the heart of their service.

urban-airship-offering

Alternative Services for Analytics

While Parse offered both standard and event-driven analytics, offerings from Flurry for iOS, Google Analytics for Android and paid offerings from Localytics and Mixpanel have led this space since the inception of smartphones.

Facebook and Apple have added support for mobile analytics as well, and usually some combination of these services depending on goals is the best approach for most apps.

Alternatives to Parse Database and Hosting

Within hours of Parse announcing shutting down, there were several posts with suggestions for alternatives to Parse.

Twitter Fabric seems like a potential option, but the two most common recommended alternatives to Parse were Firebase and the AWS Mobile Hub.

Firebase is a service not unlike Parse, that offers authentication and other common services for mobile apps.

AWS Mobile Hub is a service in beta that extends Amazon’s huge offering of web and (now) mobile services.

Many of the alternatives to Parse are not well-known services, even those from the likes of IBM.

The time for research options and next steps appears to be now as the April and July dates for Parse migration are rapidly approaching.