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Optimizing Mobile Marketing Apps With Analytics

By Apr 15, 2014

Mobile apps are an effective way for consumers to interact with your brand, but getting your hands on and analyzing the relevant data on just how consumers are using an app is a big challenge facing marketers.

There are a variety of mobile app analytics solutions available to marketers to help them discover what features of their apps are attracting taps, which features are most popular and which need improving. This data can be leveraged to improve app performance, modify design and usage for the audience and to create a more enjoyable experience for app users.

Levels of Analytics

There are different levels of app analytics, ranging from solutions that collect basic data relating to mobile app usage, to more sophisticated solutions that track specific and detailed aspects of user behavior.

Traditional mobile analytics solutions focus on key metrics such as users’ activity over time, the devices and OS they use, how much time they spend on each screen of the app and their geographic breakdown.

These tools emphasize the numbers behind consumer interactions. Some solutions provide aggregated stats of users in an app (such as Google Analytics), and others provide event stats triggered by particular user actions.

“At the more serious end, analytics packages blend into those that allow total control of the mobile app from the dashboard—testing, in-app marketing campaigns—ways of influencing user behavior rather than just measuring it,” says Tom Farrell, a director with app analytics specialists Swrve.

Visual mobile analytics solutions focus on specific user experiences and behaviors within the app, illustrated through user recordings, touch heatmaps and UI analysis. These show where users are actually tapping on the smartphone screen and how they are interacting with each app page physically, and help provide both aggregated and user-level stats.

“Traditional mobile analytics presents you with key metrics and focus on the ‘what.’ The visual aspect goes a step further to communicate the ‘why,’ showing you how users are interacting with your app,” says Alon Even, a vice president with Appsee.

What’s In It for You?

Analyzing app performance is a must when deploying an app—making sure that you’re getting the most out of the investment is key.

“In mobile, applying mobile analytics solutions is critical due to the constraints of the user interface, various operating systems and instantly engaging users. Your app needs to stand out in the saturated app market today. By applying mobile analytics you make sure that you can give your users what they want via app optimization, and stay ahead of your competition,” Even says.

Marketers need to measure, monitor and analyze how their apps are performing, as well as understand how their users are using their app, so that they can optimize their app for increased conversions, user engagement and retention, in-app purchases and an improved user experience.

“Without some form of analytics, you are effectively developing in the dark. You don’t know what works, where users have difficulty, what items they like to use or buy—you have no way of validating any of your business decisions or in-app marketing campaigns. I see it as essential,” Farrell says.

What to Monitor

The list of things marketers need to keep an eye on in terms of app analytics is a long one, but user retention is a very good place to start.

“The fact is that a significant percentage of apps are used only once or twice. You only get one shot at successfully onboarding a new user, so take great care to understand how they behave in those first few sessions,” Farrell says. Once you have that understanding, get in and test changes that might improve the app and deliver personalized experiences that can help get users to the next level. Remember, taking action on what the analytics are telling you is the only way to improve an app experience.

Other key analytics and user behaviors marketers should be measuring and monitoring include user experience and engagement, conversion rates, drop-off and quit rates, the number of new users versus returning users, the number of active users versus inactive users, actions performed by the users within the app and the number of downloads and uninstalls an app sees over a period of time.

Leveraging the Data

So what can marketers do with app analytics data? Farrell says that, first and foremost, this data can tell you what your app is doing wrong.

It can identify the fact that users tend to leave at a certain point in a tutorial, for example, or that a particular level in a game is too hard. In addition, segmenting users through analytics can create new opportunities. “We can track, in real-time, users who back out of an in-app store, and immediately respond to that action by serving an in-app ad relevant to their needs,” Farrell says.

Analytics solutions enable marketers to see where users are spending the most time in an app, what screens they are in when they abandon the app, which screens have the highest quit rate or have UI problems and which call to action (CTA) is ignored.

“Leveraging this data will help marketers to smoothly pave the app optimization path. Showing the users that they are studying and reacting to their behavior will bring loyalty and grow their app’s success,” Even says.

Solutions

Different app analytics developers provide different solutions. Swrve focuses on moving the needle and putting the power in the hands of the marketer to get in and change user behavior within mobile apps.

“That includes changing user experience without engineering involvement—and A/B testing those changes. It means push notifications. And it means in-app messages, all highly targeted, and delivered at exactly the right time to make a difference. Analytics is behind all that of course—but it’s so much more,” Farrell says.

Appsee’s platform enables app developers and publishers to measure, understand and improve the user experience in their apps through visuals, enabling app owners to put themselves in the users’ shoes and visually understand exactly how they interact with their app. User recordings of actual sessions, touch heatmaps and real-time in-app analytics converge to paint a unique user portrait.

“By acting on insights gained from Appsee’s platform, app owners can optimize their app and increase user engagement, conversions and in-app monetization,” Even says.

Do some research to find the best analytics solution for your mobile app and take your users’ experience to the next level with the data it yields.

  • Byron Biggins

    Behavioral analytics are certainly a must-have to optimize an app, but behavioral data (both clickstream and video replays) only tell a limited story. To really optimize an app, that behavioral data should be coupled with voice of customer data to measure how users feel about the experience and how it will drive their future behaviors.