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The average person has around 41 apps on their phone; these range from social and gaming apps, to daily deals, retail and media apps.

As mobile traffic continues to gain traction on web traffic, and as apps continue to be a vital channel for keeping the consumer engaged, it has never been more important for brands to monitor how their apps are performing to ensure they are delivering the experience users expect.

With so many businesses investing in mobile apps, it’s clear that there is a requirement for businesses to measure and monitor the performance and usage of these apps, and yet we are discovering that a lot of organisations aren’t aware of the mobile analytics tools available to them.

Would you own a website without tracking how users were moving around it, or would you run an AdWords campaign without analysing how it performs? It is vital that businesses measure all of their marketing channels and this should include mobile apps! 

There are a number of good app analytics tools available for measuring and evaluating the performance of apps.

These include:

  • Free software like Google’s Mobile App Analytics, which can be integrated into existing Google Analytics accounts.
  • Specific analytics tools designed solely for mobile apps including Flurry and Localytics.
  • There are also paid for options like the Adobe Analytics suite, which combines analytics across all marketing channels. 

Depending on the analytics tool of choice, the stats available can include anything from the number of downloads and session counts at a very high level, right down into granular detail around user journeys within the app and real time data.

This level of detail can be essential for understanding pages with high exit rates and for understanding where improvements need to be made within apps. Growth is a valuable factor in determining the success of an app but it’s important to monitor usage levels throughout the entire life of an app, not just after launch. 

As well as monitoring the number of downloads and session counts, another area worth exploring is the various devices that are being used to access an app. By understanding these stats, businesses can understand not only more information about their target audience and their devices of choice, but also if there are devices an app needs to be tested on in order to improve the experience.

Another interesting area of mobile analytics is the ability to compare analytics across different platforms. With so many apps available across different operating systems, it is essential for brands to be delivering a consistent user experience.

If it is clear from the stats that the iOS users are using the application more, or for a longer period of time for example, what is the reason? Has the app been designed properly for each platform? 

Retail apps are a brilliant example of why using mobile analytics to measure and track is so important. According to app analytics platform Flurry, consumers are are spending six times longer in retail apps than they were a year ago.

The fact that these transactional apps are still in their very early stages gives even more reason for brands to be analysing how consumers are using them. From browsing all the way through to purchasing items, retailers know better than anyone that getting this user journey right is essential for their bottom line.

I’m sure a number of us have been in situations where we have abandoned our basket because the checkout process was far too long and difficult on our mobile screens, or because the searching functionality was not smooth enough to even find the products in the first place!

Every step of this buying process can be measured and understood using mobile analytics, in the same way as web analytics, in order to make sure revenue isn’t being lost due to glitches or design flaws in the application. 

One of the great things about the various app stores is that they make it relatively easy to release an update. Consumers know to update their mobile apps and most realise that these updates are only going to improve the app.

The problems occur when brands don’t listen to feedback, or don’t track any analytics, and then send out an update that hasn’t fixed anything! App updates are to be expected in order to continuously improve the app and this means you don’t have to get it right first time! 

Maintaining an app is a continual process that requires updates based on user feedback and a thorough understanding of the analytics available. As more users spend time in apps rather than on the web, it’s vital businesses and brands are treating their apps like any of their other marketing channels.

Clair O'Neill

Published 7 February, 2013 by Clair O'Neill

Clair O'Neill is Marketing Assistant at mubaloo and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow on Twitter and Google Plus, or connect via LinkedIn

13 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

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dee jones

great information

over 3 years ago

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Valerie Williamson

I would also mention that apps need to track message performance. Not just open rates, but what actions do your customers engage in once they open your app or mobile web site because of a Push or SMS. Marketers need to track efficacy beyond an open rate. We do it with email, why not mobile?

over 3 years ago

Clair O'Neill

Clair O'Neill, Marketing Executive at Good Energy

Hi Valerie,
It's very important to measure what people do after entering an app from a push notification or SMS, but I think that's another post altogether! Get in touch if you'd like to chat about it.
Thanks,
Clair

over 3 years ago

Kathy Griffin

Kathy Griffin, Event Planner at Event2Mobile

I couldn't agree more with this post. Truly, when we hear about mobile event apps, all we think about are functionalities that would come in handy during events. We think about features that would help with event promotions, proper communication, and maybe even revenue generation. These features are obviously essential in any mobile event app. However, we forget that once the event is over, the apps need to provide data about how successful the event was. This is where analytics come into play and the more extensive those are, the better it is for the event organizer. From the number of attendees showing up to the number of participation in games and Q&A sessions, properly developed mobile event apps can stay useful long after the event itself has been concluded.

over 2 years ago

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