The Mobile App Analytics You Need to Track: APPY HOUR Podcast
Mobile is everywhere. It’s the dominant form of web traffic, and nearly 85% of time spent on mobile is spent within apps. The ability to track that data and understand it and understand how people are interacting with it is becoming increasingly important.
That was my response to host of the APPY HOUR, Justina Perro’s opening question: Why are App Analytics so important? We went on to discuss a number of key topics around mobile app measurement. Justina did a great job of summarizing our conversation on her blog, or you can tune in to the full APPY HOUR podcast if you’re so inclined. But since I have you here now, I’ll give you the highlights of what we discussed:
Web Analytics vs. App Analytics
While they may seem similar, web and app analytics have some key differences in how they work and how they should be analyzed. On the web side, you have three key metrics:
- Visitor: Sometimes the visitor is anonymous, sometimes they’re a returning visitor, (sometimes they’re a dog). Your first step is identifying the visitor, which isn’t always possible.
- Visit: What did they do while they were there? Understanding this ultimately depends on how well your tagging is implemented and often times…visibility is cloudy.
- Page Views: How long were they on your site? What pages were they looking at? Did they leave and get a cup of coffee?
The mobile equivalents to these metrics are similar, yet more informative when it comes to understanding who uses your digital assets and what exactly did they do…
- UserID: With mobile, we may not know exactly who the user is…but we have a device ID that tells us a whole lot.
- Session: What is the user doing when your app is open? Are they staying in your app? Are they navigating through different sections? Within a session, you know they’re active.
- Screen Views: What exactly are they doing when they’re on the screen? Which of your tagged events fired on each screen?
Which Mobile App Metrics are most Important?
Well…it depends. As with anything in analytics, the best metrics are ones that are customized for your unique organization. Anyone who is familiar with my work will tell you that I’m a fan of frameworks. These strategic devices provide context for what you need to measure. Frameworks also force top-down thinking, which means that you first consider your organizational goals and then establish a framework of metrics to measure success. They help align an organization to a common goal and they help everyone within an organization get on the same page regarding what’s important.
Building a framework for measuring your mobile apps can begins with a simple question such as: Why are we doing this? To increase sales? Foster engagement? Provide entertainment? Whatever it is, use the rationale behind what you’re doing to establish measures of success. I like to start with high level categories and then identify a small handful of critical metrics within each category. Once that’s complete, you’re off to the races and you can debate with your team the tactics of which channels you’ll use to execute. For most apps, the four most important categories usually are as follows:
This category should answer the key questions: Are we acquiring new customers? Where are they coming from? Which campaigns are driving downloads? And how much are we spending per acquisition?
Acquisition Metrics: Downloads, Registrations, Cost per Acquisition
To do this effectively, you have to customize your analytics. As I said in the interview…“Nobody in the history of analytics has ever created the perfect engagement metric.” Engagement is so many different things to so many different people. Whether it’s swipes, clicks, or installs, there are an unlimited number of things to measure. What’s most important to your organization?
Engagement Metrics: Opens, Active Users (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)
Research from Andrew Chen shows us that losing eighty percent of your mobile users is totally normal. But this usually happens within the first three days after download. Understanding retention metrics is important when looking at mobile analytics. And it’s not just the initial download, but are they downloading the app and continuing to use it? If you don’t capture attention & interests in the first three days, chances are you’ll lose that user.
Retention Metrics: Churn Rate, Retention Rate, Stickiness
Everyone likes revenue. Whether you’re in the business of selling direct, if ads pay for your app, or if you’re an early stage startup…at some point you’ll need to monetize, so thinking about revenue is critical in measuring the success of your app. As you’re evaluating your app, ask yourself…Are we making money? How much? Is it enough to sustain what we’re doing, or is there course correcting that needs to take place?
Revenue Metrics: In-App Purchases, Lifetime Value, Average Revenue per User (ARPU)
Obviously, there’s much deeper that you could go with your mobile app metrics. Yet, I offer these precious few as a starting point for building a mobile measurement framework that will enable you to measure the success of your mobile app pursuits.
To read the curated transcript of my podcast interview with Justina Perro, click here. Or you can tune in here. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear what you think about measuring mobile apps. Please comment below or drop me a line at john @ analyticsdemystified.com.