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Why are mobile app analytics a must?

If you’re just starting in the app&game business, your head might be riddled with questions. You might be wondering if everything works properly and what are users doing in your app. To be [...]

March 19, 2019

10 min reading time

If you’re just starting in the app&game business, your head might be riddled with questions. You might be wondering if everything works properly and what are users doing in your app. To be able to know that, you should implement mobile app analytics in your app or game – today!

Mobile app analytics are used for collecting data about user behavior, conversions, app usage… Before choosing app analytics and implementing it, start with your goals. Each app will have different goals. After choosing your goals, start to optimize what you’re tracking with mobile app analytics. You can track almost anything, but the most important things you’ll track will be events and conversions.

Mobile app analytics are not much different from web analytics, they track user events and help us analyze and visualize that data. But since the mobile ecosystem is different, user interactions are different. You’re clicking on the web and tapping on the phone. Screens are smaller, fonts are larger. We can’t deny the mobile is getting bigger each year.

Problems you can experience in the beginning:

Is everything working as it is supposed to? (There could be a bug in the app, but you’re unaware of it.)
How often do your users open the app and how long do they stay in-app?
How did your users find you? Through which channel?
How many users downloaded your app?
How many users are active?

Depending on your business model and market strategy, app analytics are important to properly track revenue.

Do you have a paid app?

According to AppBrain, only 4.8% (124,662) of apps in the Google Play store is paid.
Competition in the freemium space is high, so paid apps are often overlooked by users. There is a one-time fee to download the app, but most recent models are going toward subscription-based business models for app revenue.

You’d like to generate income from in-app purchases?

Your app is free, but you’re offering good or services to your users for a more exclusive experience at your app or game. In-app purchases allow developers to provide their application for free. Buying coins in the game can be an in-game purchase, as well as buying the premium version of the app without ads.

You’re planning on monetizing your game?

AdMob, as well as many other mobile ad networks, allows you to display ads for other apps within your app. Depending on your user base, you can generate significant income just from in-app ads. If so, it is important for you to track users are clicking on ads to determine high-value users.

After you have determined your user base and first numbers are starting to go up, you can use data to optimize for a specific revenue model, or maybe even for a combination of all three.

Start with some of the questions you might have been asking yourself:

What are your business objectives?
What is your overall strategy?
What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
It can be app revenue, number of active users, number of in-app purchases…

Let’s take look at Firebase, Google’s app analytics. It was acquired by Google in 2014 and it soon became Google’s flagship mobile platform for developers. Firebase is integrated with other Google’s product like AdMob and Google Ads.

Dashboard

On the Firebase Analytics Dashboard, there are multiple metrics visualized. From tracking active users to the number of users in the last minute. You can also find answers to some questions you might have:
How much revenue is your app making?
How stable is your app?
How do you acquire new users?
How well do you retain users?
What is your audience like?
(location, devices, demographics, interests)
What is your platform breakdown? (iOS/Android)

Using just dashboard is great if you’re just starting. In one place you can find answers on the most common questions we listed above. If you’d like a deeper insight into your audience, start exploring other options available in mobile app analytics.

Dashboard in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.
Dashboard in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.

Events

Listed under the dashboard, events are the most important thing to think about when using app analytics. Most app analytics have a list of automatically collected events. Automatically collected events are triggered by the user’s interactions with your app. Some automatically collected events in Firebase are ad_click, ad_impression, ad reward, app_clear_data… It’s not enough just to track events, they need to be analyzed. Each event can be broken down even further using parameters like event location, event demographics and more.

Some general events can be applied to all apps. For example, event can be when a user logs in or clicks on an ad.

Events in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.
Events in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.

Conversions

Conversions are often the most important events – they’ll help you identify the most valuable users. It is crucial to track these events. Conversions tell you what is the flow of the user journey preceding the conversion events.

In Firebase, the three most important conversion events are predefined. Those are:
FIRST OPEN – when a user opens the app for the first time
IN-APP PURCHASE – when a user completes an in-app purchase, including an initial subscription
E-COMMERCE PURCHASE – when a user completes a purchase

Data in the Firebase demo project is from Flood-It!, a simple puzzle game from Lab Pixies. That’s why most important conversions are: session_start, level_complete, first_open, and app_update, as they would be for a game.

You’ll need to customize your app events to your app or game. The events listed above are important for a game, but if you had an e-commerce app, the events you’d be tracking would be totally different.

Conversions in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.
Conversions in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.

Audiences

Audiences are users you’ve grouped together on any combination of attributes, events or conversions important to you. We do it so we can track the behavior of a specific set of users. In any app analytics, you should be able to segment users. In segments, users are grouped by the activity, the ARPU, the app version…

Examples of audiences:
All Users – all users of your app
Extra Steps Users – users who have used extra steps
Level Beaters_v1 – users who have completed at least one progressive level
Crashing Users – users who experience a fatal exception

Audiences in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.
Audiences in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.

Funnels

A funnel is a visual representation of steps that a user has taken in order to achieve a certain action (i.e. conversion). Funnels are also used to visualize the completion rate of a series of steps (events) in your app. For example, a funnel can contain the steps necessary to create an account within your app. You can filter funnel reports by audiences or user properties to see whether some segments of your user base achieve a higher completion rate.

A funnel can be Level Reset Rate. This funnel is tracking 2 events, level_start and level_reset. In this funnel, we’ll see the rate at which users reset levels.

User Properties

In this section of Firebase app analytics, you define attributes to describe segments of your user base, such as language preference or geographic location. By default, Firebase analytics provides a number of user segments for you for free. You can filter any particular event by device type or country, but often your app will have specific user properties that you’ll also want to use to filter your data. You should be careful when creating custom user property because you can set up to 25 different Analytics User Properties per project. So think carefully what you want to segment with a limited amount of custom user properties.

Think about what segments of your audience you are curious about because that can start determining important factors like where you want to prioritize development or where you want to spend your marketing $$.

Latest release

As you release new updates, you’ll need to track how many users installed the updates and how many of them are using the old version of the app. In this segment of Firebase, you’ll able to see the number of active users for a specific version, as well as the number of crash-free users for a specific release. That way you’ll be able to identify the problems as they appear and fix crashes on time.

Latest Release and User Properties in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.
Latest Release and User Properties in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.

Retention

Retention can be defined for a certain period – we can look at 1-day retention, 7-day retention or 30-day retention. 30-day retention would be the percentage of users returning to the app at least 1x within 30 days. To track retention, we’ll need to use cohorts. Cohorts are groups of users that started using the app around the same time (or same day of the week).

New User Retention Chart in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.
New User Retention Chart in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.

StreamView

This section is specific for Firebase, but similar options will be available in other app analytics platforms. In this interactive feature, you can get a deeper understanding of who is using your app and what they are doing, in real time.

StreamView in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.
StreamView in Firebase Mobile App Analytics.

In user snapshot report you can see the sequence of events logged by an individual user during the last 30 minutes. You’ll see how a specific individual navigated through your app – you won’t know who the specific user is, but you’ll see important data like location, app version or info about the device that user is using.

Which analytics to use?

After you’ve learned what mobile app analytics is used for, it’s time to decide which mobile app analytics you’re going to use. If you know that users spend 92% of the mobile time in apps, you know the importance of app analytics. That is why we listed the top 11 mobile app analytics in one comprehensive report. In the report, you’ll find the most important features for each mobile app analytics, platforms they support, pricing plan and even locations of their offices! It will significantly shorten your search.

Conclusion:

Imagine you had a store, but you had no idea who’s shopping in it, what are the shoppers buying, how much they’re spending. You would be unable to make the necessary optimizations for a better shopping experience. App analytics are more than an option, they’re a necessity. It is a crucial piece of the puzzle you need to be able to understand your users. Mobile app analytics help us learn how users engage with our products and campaign so we can make them better. Knowing the behavior and properties of your users is crucial for the success of your app. 🎉

About Udonis:

We are an award-winning marketing agency specialized in mobile apps & games. We help scale products that people love, keeping the attention on data and results. Have questions, need help? 🤗  Email us at hello@udonis.co!







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Slavica Grgić

I'm Slavica, Social Marketing Manager at Udonis. If I'm not writing new blog posts, I'm making sure that everything is picture perfect.

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