A Comprehensive Overview Of ITunes App Analytics

March 11th, 2016

A Comprehensive Overview Of ITunes App Analytics
David Quinn

by David Quinn

VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Gummicube, Inc.

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.

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