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Mobile App Store Data

Reports Worth Reading For The Latest Mobile App Store Data

Although there are many sources reviewing and opining on mobile app data, there are a few exceptional resources that generate original data.

These resources are uniquely positioned to access and report on mobile app and app store data (data they collect and often only they can collect) or offer solid and thoroughly researched information and analysis.

Let’s take a look a few reports and sources worth subscribing to or bookmarking.

ComScore

ComScore is one of the leading market research firms globally that covers more than ten industries including financial services, media, technology, retail, and telecommunications.

In addition, it regularly carries out research and publishes its findings via press releases, whitepapers and case studies.

Additionally, businesses and other organizations regularly commission ComScore to carry out research on their behalf. As such, ComScore is well suited to cover trends in mobile app development and usage.

A recent article published by ComScore focuses on the way a mobile first approach has enabled tech entrepreneurs to build brands worth more than one billion (unicorns).

For instance, a ComScore study found that 98% of Snapchat users access the social networking site via mobile devices. Coming in a close second is Uber, which receives 85% of its traffic from smartphones and tablets. Mobile traffic accounts for 57% and 54% of the users that visit Pinterest and Spotify websites.

Flurry

Flurry is a mobile analytics and ad company owned by Yahoo that gathers and analyzes data from 150 million iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, HTML5, and JavaME platform app sessions per month.

Moreover, Flurry provides data analytics solutions to more than 170,000 developers globally, meaning it has the industry connections and data required to identify both current and developing mobile app trends.

Flurry maintains a Tumblr blog where it publishes mobile app related content.

For instance, a recent article published on Tumblr covers the emergence of messaging apps as the new frontier in the retail-banking niche. In particular, it quotes figures from a Goldman Sachs study that the retention rate of messaging apps is 5.6 times better than the average for all other apps over 12 months.

eMarketer

eMarketer is a leader in the digital technology information and data analytics space. In fact, eMarketer says that more than 1,000 businesses including media companies and ad agencies rely on it to make better and data driven decisions on issues related to digital technology.

To illustrate this better, an article published by eMarketer in March is based on a survey that found voice-controlled personal assistants are becoming increasingly popular.

emarketer-app-data

Presently, 13% of mobile device owners in the US use a voice-controlled personal assistant daily.

Furthermore, 14% and 10% of American mobile device owners use the same technology weekly and monthly respectively.

Google Insights

It is virtually impossible to talk about mobile app data without including Google Insights because it covers a wide range of interesting niches such as consumer surveys, mobile app developers, Google Trends, Google Analytics, Google Correlate, Google Business Solutions, and Adometry by Google.

For example, you can use Google Correlate to find industry-specific patterns that correspond to real-world events or occurrences. This enables entrepreneurs to gain better understanding of consumer beliefs, influences, and changes in purchase behavior.

think-with-google-mobile-app-data

Think with Google is a free weekly “thought-starter” that can keep you plugged into the latest Google research findings.

Ben Evans

Ben Evans works at Andreessen Horowitz’s venture capital firm “a16z” and runs a website focused on disseminating information related to technology and mobile devices.

Evans also emails a newsletter every Sunday to about 49,000 subscribers that covers mobile and technology topics – well worth subscribing.

Ben just updated his popular “Mobile is Eating the World” slide deck (note the new title!).

ben-evans-mobile-ate-the-world

One of Ben Evans’ latest post covers the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in conversational chat bots such as Google Now and Apple’s Siri.

Google, Apple and Facebook Quarterly Results

The quarterly reports released by Google, Apple and Facebook contain a wealth of actionable information that only they can provide.

Some recent examples include:

  • Google sharing the majority of search in the US (and several other countries) is from a mobile device
  • Google/Youtube announcing more video is viewed via mobile than desktop
  • this image of Facebook’s ad revenue over last several quarters

Infographic: Facebook's Growth Is Entirely Fueled by Mobile Ads | Statista

There you have it, a few newsletters (Ben Evans and Think with Google), a few reports to subscribe to or monitor and a reminder that the leading tech companies are increasingly mobile-first.

 

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.

5 Tips to a Better Google Play Ranking

5 Tips to a Better Google Play Ranking

Acquiring relevant users organically in app store search is the primary focus of app store optimization.  Where your app appears in search results has a large impact on how many potential users find your app in a search.

Maximizing the ranking for specific search terms improves where the app ranks in its category as well – leading to even more organic discovery.

How then do app publishers and marketers impact better app store rankings?

Google App Store Rankings

Google has shared ranking factors and tips, specifically calling out the importance of ratings, reviews, downloads and the copy used in the app listing. In the same post, Google provides additional tips about regular updates, engaged users, acquiring ratings and responding to reviews.

As web and mobile app terms start to converge – specifically Google changing “visitors” in their Google Analytics service, to “sessions” – some of the models known to be used when indexing the web surfaces in the Google Play store ranking algorithm.

The rate at which a web site converts a user to a web page view (searcher clicks on a link in search results) is a basic conversion rate that is also used in the app stores.

Similarly, web metrics like bounce rate, time on page and number of pages visited corresponds roughly to app opens, time in app and retention (the app remains on the device).

How Google indexes and ranks mobile apps for Google Play parallels the things marketers see on the web.  The main difference is what we are optimizing for – app store search vs web search.

The simple example to demonstrate the difference in user intent is search “malls” in Google web search, and then in Google Play.

Different results for different expected user intentions.

Armed with this general framework for the Google Play ranking factors, let’s review 5 tips for a better Google Play ranking.

Improve Conversion Rates

The rate at which an app converts an appearance in a specific search result into an install.

If users find your app a relevant result and attractive option at a greater rate than other apps relative to its position in the results – Google will increase your ranking for that specific search all else being equal.

Improving your app’s conversion rates improves installs and the app store ranking, and also provides a greater opportunity for acquiring ratings and reviews (our next tip).

Google historically has been very good about measuring websites and apps on specific criteria and then providing tools to help publishers and developers improve the measured criteria.

Conversion optimization is no different, with Google providing an “experiments” module in the developer console for creating multivariate tests on an app’s creative elements, title, description and even the order of screenshots.

Get Proactive with Acquiring and Responding to Ratings and Reviews

The volume and quality of ratings and reviews has always played a big part of an app’s Google Play ranking.

Among the differences between Apple and Google, better ratings are more closely associated with the top apps in Google Play than for Apple’s top apps.

Additionally, Google allows (and expects) developers to respond to reviews in Google Play.

If you don’t have a mechanism for acquiring app store reviews, or managing customer service issues outside of the store ratings system – take a look at Apptentive and our post on app reviews.

The Google +1 button is incorporated along with other social signals in ranking criteria. We’ll cover social signals in Tip 4, but the +1 kinda falls into both areas – so worth mentioning here.

Consider adding a +1 button somewhere in your app similar to how you would request ratings and reviews.

Optimize for Engagement and Retention

The best Google Play Store ranking advice – Make a Great App.

Not super helpful or actionable.  What’s a great app and how would one measure that?

The market votes, and they vote with their time and money. How long sessions last (relative to similar apps), the frequency of sessions and how long an app remains installed on a device are all votes by the market.

Google incorporates similar metrics in their web rankings, so it should come as no surprise that these factors are also weighted in the Play Store algorithm.

Building a great app is outside the scope of this article, but it starts with mastering your in-app analytics.

Backlinks

This is the catch-all term that describes social signals like a blogger mentioning the app and people sharing on Facebook or G+, to mentions by the press.  Anything that generates a link back to the Google Play store listing.

Acquiring +1s is good practice, as is acquiring links from reputable and relevant web properties. Full service app marketing agencies should incorporate the acquisition of backlinks in their app marketing strategy.

Focus on Your Best Features

App store data consistently shows the majority of app store searches are features-based phrases.  Focus on your app’s most important and distinguishing features, using the phrases your target market uses to describe these features, in your app title and short description.  Complete your “full description” by again listing most important and supplementary features and benefits using all the space allotted.

The app title and short description provide much of the guidance to Google for the specific features of your app, while the category and full description add context and support.


Most of these tips are related to each other and have a synergistic effect when optimized.  A better system for prompting and managing ratings and reviews makes efforts around conversion rate optimization more rewarding.  A better app both drives more positive reviews and better engagement and retention.

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.