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How to monitor and improve your app using data!

Data analytics is vital to measuring the value of the effort you put into your app development. If you’ve recently had an app developed and you’ve got analytics in place, you’ll now appreciate the importance of investing time in data monitoring and app store optimisation to drive up user engagement and ROI. Launching a mobile app is actually only the first step to having a successful app!

Thankfully, one of the greatest changes in marketing over the last few years has been the sophistication of data analytics giving digital marketers a whole new level of information when it comes to app marketing. However, before you jump into app analytics, you need to understand which metrics are critical and establish some key performance indicators (KPIs) to allow you to make data-driven decisions.

Why do you need to monitor your app data?

Smart app marketers know how powerful data can be! You really need to monitor, and react to, your app data because despite hours of planning pre-launch, users might not be using your app in the same way as you envisaged. The only way to improve your app is to monitor your usage data and measure user behaviour via app analytics. Constant monitoring will not only help you optimise your app but will prevent you from making any future development mistakes.

So, you need to get the most out of your app analytics but it’s rare for any analytics platform to display all of the data you actually need without some customisation. And, you always need to access several platforms to get a full picture e.g. iTunes, Google Play and Windows app stores not to mention any push notification services, like Carnival, and analytics platforms. Creating a customised app analytics report is an easy way for you to view your core app metrics.

I'm obsessed with managing and manipulating app data to automate real-time reports so clients always have up to date app data at their fingertips. Being able to see how one set of data relates to another is key to analysing why you might be having difficulty acquiring app users, or, even more worrying, why you are having problems engaging current app users.Sometimes app owners tend to neglect their marketing strategy after having put all of their thoughts into the app development itself.

So, this blog will give you a glimpse into how to use data, often from different data sources, to monitor the right metrics, meet your app goals and improve your app. Whether you turn to a dedicated mobile marketing agency, like Waracle, or, take time to track your app metrics, regular data monitoring will help improve your app through all stages of your app life-cycle.

Firstly – don’t only focus on app downloads!

Statistics reveal that 22% of downloaded apps are never used more than once. Surely this stat makes you realise that if you were only concerned with downloads, you’d be tracking an empty metric. Does a download matter if the user never opens the app again?

Having said that, you will be interested in the number of downloads broken down by platform e.g. Android, iOS or Windows to compare download growth per platform. What’s more, you will be interested in how many are updating the app when a new version is released, since regular updates have an impact on how your app ranks.

Want to improve your app? The real data is about engagement!

If you focus on monitoring the metrics which really matter like specific engagement related to your app, you will be able to make data-driven optimisation decisions. Engagement data is the type of data that’s really useful and is where the fun comes into mobile data analytics! These metrics allow you to track how much users are actually interacting with your app. With engagement data analysis you can create improved in-app marketing campaigns to re-engage dropped users. In order to visualise the typical user interactions in your app, here’s just a few of the key app engagement metrics you should include in your reports:

  • Sessions: the number of times your app has been in the foreground for at least two seconds
  • Session duration: how much time your users spend in your app per individual session – measured as the time between app open and close, or, when the app times out. This let you know how sticky your app is and this metric will help you understand users’ relationship with your app.
  • Frequency / session interval: the time between the user’s first session and their next one i.e. their frequency is a good measure of loyalty
  • User retention / recency – days between sessions allows you to identify trends in usage e.g. are users returning every weekend to view new offers in the app?
  • Time in app: how long a user was in your app over a period of time – a great indicator of how valuable your app is to users
  • Screens and screenflow: you should tracks exits by screen, flow between screens and total visits to screens. Tracking the behaviour flow will show where people drop out of your app and enable you to make data-driven mobile app optimisation decisions. For example, if very view people view one of your screens it might be worth removing it and keeping the focus on popular screens.

More behaviour to track? Push notifications!

Push notifications are a great marketing tool so you need to track how many users have first of all registered for push and how many are opening the messages. Effective push notification campaigns can double the retention rate of app users. So, it’s important to track your push campaigns in order to segment and focus your future campaigns effectively. Check out the impact of your push notifications on screens and screenflow. Did it have the impact you expected? Use your data to plan future push notifications.

Track those all important reviews and ratings

Reviews and ratings have an impact on how you rank in search. At Waracle, we recommend regularpush notification campaigns to help generate more ratings. Keeping an eye on your star ratings trend will help you spot any trends when it comes to different app versions or different platforms. By reading the reviews and listening to your users, you will be able to react and improve your app in future updates.

Depressing uninstall analytics – not to mention crash stats!

No-one wants to track negative metrics like crashes but it’s important to be aware of any issues and ensure you have good mobile app management and support. There is nothing more frustrating to users than slow response times, service interruptions and app crashes which will ultimately lead to mobile users uninstalling your app!

Don’t worry, you’re not alone as one of the biggest challenges for app owners is churn. The best thing you can do is access a real-time report with uninstall data to give you a good understanding of what could be driving uninstalls. This will help you to build a more engaged user base in future and in this sense you could say that uninstalls are a key retention metric giving you evidence into your app’s long-term sustainability. The churn rate is a metric you want to aim to reduce month on month whereas retention – the percentage of users who return to your app based on the date of their first visit – highlights your most engaged users, or cohorts.

User Acquisition – where did a spike in downloads come from?

You shouldn’t approach app analytics as a silo – you should be using all marketing metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of your app’s success. Looking at user acquisition is important since acquisition represents the number of users who download and install your app from a certain location, through organic search, word-of-mouth, paid campaigns, email marketing campaigns,social media or in-app referrals. If you run app promotion campaigns through AdWords or Facebook you’ll definitely need to include user acquisition metrics in your marketing report.

Afterall, there’s no point spending time on content marketing if you’re not going to measure the success of your efforts! Justifying your mobile app digital marketing efforts by saying they’re for‘brand awareness’ is generally an excuse used by many marketers when they don’t know how to value their campaigns. In order to value your app you need customised reporting for all of your quantitative data. Monitoring is the essential step in improving your app and optimising your app store listing.

It’s now time to use your data and improve your app!



Comments: (3)

Melanie Young
Melanie Young - asotop1 - chengdu 18 July, 2016, 02:35Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It is useful tips. For app marketer like me, we need to analyze all kinds of data related to app to select better promotion methods. Thanks again for your essay and I know i need to rely on notifications, ratings and reviews besides app downloads! Melanie@ASOtop1

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 July, 2016, 07:25Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 July, 2016, 13:47Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Thank you for the feedback!

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