What to Track in Google Mobile App Analytics

March 17th, 2016

What to Track in Google Mobile App Analytics
David Quinn

by David Quinn

VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Gummicube, Inc.

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:


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 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


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.

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