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How to Implement Analytics in Your Mobile App?

The market for mobile apps is flourishing.

There are 2.2 million applications available in the App Store and 2.8 million in the Google Play Store – the competition for users’ attention is fierce. It’s predicted that by 2022 mobile app downloads will reach 258 billion, which represents both a huge opportunity and a huge challenge for software companies. 

Why is that? Switching between apps is easy. In fact, one in four users abandon an app after one use – how can you ensure higher retention rates? 

You can achieve it by implementing mobile app analytics and optimizing your tactics. 

Why Mobile App Analytics?

Analytics for mobile apps have two main purposes: 

To improve conversions and make more informed business decisions

Using app analytics is the only way to find out who your users are, how they engage with your app, and why they churn. It can help you identify parts of your app which drive most conversions, as well as reveal stages where conversion drops (think of e-commerce apps).

All of these insights will help you make better business decisions in the future. 

Performance Firebase console dashboard

Dashboard in Firebase

To create remarkable user experiences and boost customer satisfaction 

People have zero tolerance for bad user experience, which isn’t surprising considering the number of alternatives available to them. 65% of users admit that bad mobile experience negatively impacts their brand perception. 

Use mobile app tracking to improve user experience. Discover the most widely used features, as well as the underused ones. Check if there are any features missing or if there are features in your app which users find confusing. This is a great source of information that should drive your product roadmap development. 

Mobile App Analytics Tools

Now that you’re aware of the benefits of mobile analytics, it’s time to discuss what tools you can use for data tracking. There are plenty of options available, here are a few that you can consider:

  • Firebase - a mobile development platform created by Google which tracks user behavioral data including: 
    • events – what is happening inside your app, for example user actions, system events, and errors,

events firebase

Events in Firebase

    • Properties – attributes for defining user segments, like language preference or geolocation;
  • Mixpanel – allows you to track individual user interactions;
  • Google Analytics – especially useful for marketers as it lets them identify lead sources, highest converting channels, and split customers/users into segments;
  • Smartlook – provides you with data on user behavior by offering screen recording and heatmaps. Useful for identifying areas in your app where users struggle, it can also help you with conversion funnel optimization. 

You can read more about mobile analytics tools in our article.  

How To Track Mobile App Analytics

Irrespective of the tools you use, it’s worth checking they have the following features:

Filters

Filters are a must-have for data segmentation. Without them it’s hard to draw any conclusions. What can you filter by? 

  • Platform usage: iOS vs Android
  • Date: last week, last 30 days, or even a specific date
  • Audience: you can split your users into segments based on shared traits 
  • User property: filtering users based on their age, gender, device, app version, etc. 

App downloads

It tells you how many people installed your app. By monitoring the number of downloads you can verify the effectiveness of your marketing efforts like:

  • your targeting – are you focusing on the right audience?
  • your messaging, especially your Unique Value Proposition – does it appeal to your prospects or do they find it confusing?
  • your App Store or Google Play listing – is it attractive enough to the prospects? 

Few downloads or lack thereof might indicate that your marketing needs more work. 

Active users

This metric differs from app downloads as it tells you how many users actually use your app which is a good engagement indicator. It’s important to define what an active user means to you. The definition of an active user varies between tools. For example, Google Analytics views this metric through the prism of sessions. For Google Analytics, an active user is a user who starts a session. 

Performance – Firebase console location user retention

Dashboard in Firebase

Average visit time and screen views

Average visit time tells you how long the user spent in your app, while the number of screen views shows you how many screens they interacted with.

Both of these metrics are a good indicator of your user engagement. Think about this way: the longer the user stays in your app and the more screens they see, the more engaged they are. 

Conversion

It shows you the flow of users, from acquisition to conversion. You can check how many steps your users take before they convert. If you offer in-app payments, you must define the conversion steps to create a sales funnel within your app. 

funnels firebase

Funnels in Firebase

Revenue 

The total sales your app generated from all revenue sources. You can verify your most profitable sources and check what the average revenue per user and per paid user was for your chosen time period.

Adoption and acquisition 

It tells you how much you spend to acquire new users. This might include advertising, PR, customer support costs, etc. You can also check your most effective acquisition channels and the lifetime value of your customers (CLTV). You’ll want to keep your customer acquisition cost (CAC) below your CLTV. 

Retention

It gives you the percentage of users who return to your app after their first visit. To reveal why users fail to return to your app, measure your retention rates over daily, weekly and monthly periods.

If your retention rate rises, it means your users find the app valuable. If it drops, it’s worth investigating why. Did you run any updates that might have had a negative impact on your app’s usability? It’s a good idea to ask your users for feedback. 

Performance – Firebase console new user retention

New User Retention in Firebase

Churn

Measures the percentage of users who stop using your app. It’s especially painful if your highest paying or most engaging customers leave you. According to Localytics, 57% of users churn within their first month. This number increases to 71% by the third month from using the app. 

Cohort Analysis 

Mobile app analytics can provide you with a wealth of knowledge –  if you know how to use the data. One of the best ways to draw data-based conclusions is by using cohort analysis in Google Analytics. It tells you how well your app performs among different user groups, also known as “cohorts”. 

Cohort analysis helps spot different behavioural patterns among customer segments. It might show you that your churn rate or retention rate is higher or lower within specific segments. It’s a great starting point for analysis. There are 3 things you should keep in mind while conducting your cohort analysis:

  1. Cohort type – the date of acquisition you want Google to select when tracking users;
  2. Cohort size – the timeframe you want Google to consider for user tracking;
  3. Metric – the data you want to measure, such as retention, revenue, session duration.

A Few Extra Tips For Implementing You Mobile App Analytics

Define your mobile app goals 

One of the steps you should take before setting up your mobile app tracking is defining your goals. Is it increasing your revenue, raising brand awareness, generating a specific number of downloads, or maybe a mixture of all of the above? When you decide on your goals, you’ll know which metrics to focus on, which will impact the selection of your analytics tools. 

Set up tracking for mobile apps

After selecting your toolkit, you’ll need to configure it. To enable data collection you’ll have to install a tracking code. It’s worth it to appoint a person responsible for setting up the tools and configuring the dashboard so that it displays the metrics you’re interested in monitoring. 

Analyze your data using the Mobile App Sources report

Implementing mobile app analytics brings no value without regular reporting. After you install tracking in your mobile app you’ll be able to collect and send data to your Google Analytics account. Use the Mobile App Sources report to reveal how users found your app, i.e. what brought them to your download page in iTunes as well as other marketplaces. 

Conclusion 

Implementing mobile app analytics is the only way to monitor how your users engage with your app. Gaining insights on user interaction will help you create a great user experience that should positively impact your user retention. 

There are plenty of metrics you can track including app downloads, the number of active users, conversion, retention, or churn. However, your metric selection should depend on your mobile app goals. What are you trying to achieve? Boost revenue, raise brand awareness, or both? 

Only after agreeing on your goals will you be able to define your metrics and select the right tools to track them. Good luck! 

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