[APPY HOUR PODCAST] The Mobile App Analytics You Need To Track

It seems that every year, for the past eight to ten years, we’ve been hearing that this is the year of mobile. While that statement has some truth to it all the time, it seems that now, more than ever, it really is true. Mobile is everywhere. Somewhere around half of all web traffic comes from mobile, and apps are dominating that traffic.

This week on Appy Hour, we sat down with John Lovett, a Sr. Partner at Analytics Demystified, a small consulting firm focusing on digital analytics with a particularly keen eye for mobile analytics.

John was kind enough to talk with us about why app analytics are so important, the difference between web analytics and app analytics, mobile app metrics, and the future of mobile.

Why are App Analytics so Important?

As we’ve already established, mobile is everywhere. It’s the dominant form of web traffic, and nearly 85% of time spent on mobile is spent within apps. The ability to track that data and understand it and understand how people are interacting with it is becoming increasingly important.

Think about it: From your work commute, to just walking around the city, we are constantly on our phones, browsing the web and clicking through apps. Knowing what’s happening with all that data is of utmost importance to app marketers.

Web Analytics and App Analytics

Web analytics and app analytics are very different platforms. With the web, you are starting with three metrics:

1. Visitor
Sometimes the visitor is anonymous, sometimes they’re a returning visitor. Your first step is identifying the visitor.

2. Visit

What did they do while they were there?

3. Page Views

How long were they on your site? What pages were they looking at and how long were they there?

These are useful metrics for the web world, but app analytics are able to go much deeper.

1. UserID

With mobile, you already know about your visitor because of their device signature.

2. Session

What is the user doing when your app is open? Are they staying in your app? Are they navigating through different sections?

3. Screen Views

What are they doing when they’re on the screen? Are they spending time interacting with the app?

Both of these have events as the core component to understanding what individuals do when they’re interacting with your app, but with mobile, you get the added benefit of things like location, proximity to store, and amount of time spent in the app.

Another big difference is time on site. Within the web world, time in site is a huge metric, but in all honesty is a terrible one. What if the user navigates to your page, then gets up and goes out for an hour? They’re on your page, but they’re not doing anything.

In mobile, the key is engagement. If nothing is happening in the app, nothing is being measured. Mobile app marketers and app publishers need to understand what they should be tracking.


How Can Companies Evaluate if they Have Adequate App Analytics?


So you’re doing app analytics, but are you doing them correctly? Are you measuring what you need to be measuring?

Can you answer your business questions with the data you’re getting?

It comes down to governance. Not just the basics, but in order to really set up analytics well, you need to do custom development. Out of the box app analytics won’t get the job done for most companies.

What matters to your business? Now how do you set up your app analytics to answer those questions? Whether you’re a retailer, a content organization, or are selling through apps, doing routine health checks is crucial.

All this data is being collected, but is it populating in your analytics tool? Are you collecting all the data that you think you are? Whether it’s revenue and loyalty programs, or in app purchases, knowing what data you are collecting is incredibly important.

Which Mobile App Metrics are most Important?

As with everything, it depends.

The first thing an organization should do is establish a framework, or a context for the way in which you measure your data. Frameworks force an organization to utilize top-down thinking.

It starts with “why are we doing this? What is this app for? What are we trying to accomplish? Now how do you measure the success of those given activities?


1. Acquisition

Are you acquiring customers? Where are they coming from? Which campaigns are driving downloads, and how much money are we spending per acquisition?


2. Engagement

You have to customize your analytics. Nobody in the history of analytics has ever created the perfect engagement metric Engagement is so many different things to so many different people. Whether it’s swipes, clicks, or installs, there are an unlimited number of things to measure. What’s most important to your organization?


3. Retention

Research says that losing eighty percent of your mobile users is totally normal, and this usually happens within the first three days after download. Understanding retention metrics is important when looking at mobile analytics.

Not just the initial download, but are they downloading the app and continuing to use it? If you don’t capture attention & interests in the first three days, chances are you’ll lose that user.


4. Revenue

This one is straight forward. Are you making money? How much? Is it enough to sustain what you’re doing, or is there course correcting that needs to take place?


Common Mistakes by App Publishers and Marketers?

Most publisher and marketers wait until the eleventh hour to think about analytics. There’s a huge rush to get the app out the door, and someone in the back of the room raises their hand and asks, “What about analytics?”

So it’s stuffed in at the end of the last development cycle, which doesn’t give you time to establish the framework we talked about earlier, or customize the app or set it up the way you need it.

Another common mistake is working without reason. Without a framework or measurement plan. A measurement plan is simply “Why are we doing this? What are we looking for in terms of success?” Pre thinking what business questions you are trying to answer and what outcomes you are looking for.

Doing this up front will help with being able to answer the question, “How’s the app doing?” You can say things like “We are 100% over target” or “We’ve hit some roadblocks, but here are the things we’re doing to change and help improve and get where we need to be.”

Mobile apps should be just as important as any platform.

Where’s the Future of Mobile Headed?

As mobile grows, apps are becoming more ubiquitous. Whether it’s on your phone, your Google Home, your refrigerator, or your car. The enabler for all of these is voice recognition. From adding to your grocery list to turning down your heat, we are reaching a point where we don’t even realize we are using an app. It’s a part of our daily routine.


Personal data management is another thing that is coming. With all this personal data being collected, it’s a matter of time before we see a shift to trading data for goods and services, or getting compensation back for your data. It’s your data, why shouldn't you be compensated for it?

Every app marketer needs to familiarize themselves with app analytics to ensure they have the right tools in place to carry out a successful program, and be able to deliver the best app experience for the customer, while getting the data and information they need to continue delivering an outstanding product.

If you’d like to learn more about Analytics Demystified and how they can help drive your business, check out analyticsdemystified.com, or you can find John on LinkedIn.

This post is based on an interview with John Lovett from Analytics Demystified. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to Appy Hour.

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