Analytics are a means to an end – not an end themselves. Mobile app publishers need to be able to answer the “how, why and what” questions from the data they collect. Ask yourself: How is my app doing? Why is it performing well or poorly in certain areas? And, what can my business do to fix any issues and build on our strengths to improve the user experience? Analytics can and should be employed to address these questions and to optimize user engagement and monetize mobile apps. More after the jump.
Once your app has reached a critical mass of users and built a sustainable level of engagement, the analytics vendor you choose will be able help you monetize your apps with a fully integrated mobile engagement management approach. Accurate data is the baseline; you need it, but it’s simply not enough. You need to be able to leverage your data in real time and initiate feedback loops that will keep you informed and focused on the most rewarding features of your app. Analytics in the form of real-time feedback from users will provide ongoing guidance for your app and give you the resources to help optimize and consistently improve the user experience.
The mobile analytics provider you choose must offer the following six key attributes:
A Mobile-centric solution
Choose a provider that is built for mobile from the ground up. A company that lives and breathes mobile is paramount. Mobile is by no means a simple extension of the Web. It’s a different game entirely, particularly as it relates to methods for tracking engagement. Web and cookie-based analytics providers cannot accurately track and identify mobile users. A mobile-centric provider will help you stay on top of industry best practices and give you the key metrics that matter most on the mobile stage.
Acquisition campaign measurement
Understanding where your most valuable customers are coming from is a tremendous insight. Which of your acquisition sources are performing best in terms of retention, engagement and monetization? To react and adapt your spend accordingly in real time, choose a vendor that can provide this critical information.
Fully flexible cohort and conversion analysis
You should be able to define cohorts and track their behavior over time. A cohort is a group of users that have completed a specific action within a specific period of time. For example, you could create a cohort that includes all users that have launched the app for the first time on a specific day. Once created, you could track the performance of this individual group over time across a variety of metrics. For instance, how many in this group completed an in-app purchase? How many users in this group reached level 10 of a game? You can then compare how cohorts from different days performed against these metrics. Did users from the Day 1 cohort make more in-app purchases than users from the Day 2 cohort? With defined cohorts, you can see when changes to an app have a positive or negative impact on the desired action.
Conversion analysis lets you funnel your data to meet conversion goals including in-app purchases and subsequent app downloads. Funnels can track user actions within an app or across multiple apps against your conversion goal. Each step in the funnel should have an indicator that will detail results from each point of conversion. Determine which triggers are performing best and cut back on the rest.
Revenue and ARPU analysis
You need to be able to associate real value with every event in your app. For every user, measure each in-app purchase and all payments received from advertisers for every specified user action within an app. This data will enable you to accurately track ARPU (average revenue per user) and identify areas for improvement.
The ability to provide cross-app analytics is a must. You can benefit greatly from insights into what’s taking place across your app portfolio. If you have a user who frequently spends freely on digital goods, for example, you might want to offer that user a more personalized and rewarding offer when they show up in another app. Without cross-app tracking, you’d never know.
Make sure your mobile analytics provider can segment users by referral source, the amount of time spent in an app, the amount of money spent and other behavioral patterns. User segmentation is a key point of criteria that will provide customer insights that lead to higher engagement and revenue across the board. Knowing whether a particular user is a digital goods purchaser, a fan of online videos, or likes a social sharing experience, for example, is key to understanding that customer’s behavior and personalizing the experience for different segments of users.
When reviewing cohort and funnel analyses, these segments can also determine whether a particular segment of users is performing better than another under the cohort or funnel in question. Armed with such information, mobile publishers can drive more customers into the higher performing segment.
Metrics alone are not enough. Analytics are only as powerful as the tools you have to leverage that data. Without an integrated approach to mobile analytics, developers and publishers are creating silos of knowledge that are very difficult to leverage in any meaningful way. Instead of letting your data fade away in the background on neat charts and graphs, focus on these six key attributes when choosing your mobile analytics provider and turn that data into actionable intelligence.
Michael is Co-Founder and CEO of Apsalar. For more information about Apsalar, a Mobile Engagement (MEM) platform that provides best-in class analytics and behavioral targeting solutions for iOS and Android apps, please visit http://www.apsalar.com.