Driving Mobile App Performance: It’s a Numbers Game

perceived-performance

Having the right data is vital for making decisions to improve and market your app. But not all stats are created equal. This is the first post in a series looking at the mobile app analytics developers need to pay attention to and why.

How your app is used

Gut feeling and your own preferences guide your app to launch. In beta and beyond, keep an eye on actual usage behavior to discover if your assumptions are on target or way off base. Numbers to watch:

  • Daily downloads
  • New account sign-ups
  • Open rates
  • Load times
  • Sync sessions
  • Objects created and deleted
  • Average session length
  • Uninstalls
  • How long users stay with your app
  • Screens viewed in a typical visit
  • Completion rates/ where drop-off happens

These building blocks provide raw numbers and facts about the path(s) users take through your app. For example, looking at downloads gives you an idea if your keywords, description, and app name are attracting users. Session length tells you if your content is engaging. Drop-off helps you identify choke points to retool in your next iteration.

Although usage metrics tell you what happened, they can’t tell you why or which tweaks might improve the user experience. That’s why it’s crucial to continuously look at these numbers as you iterate, comparing and contrasting real data with your expectations.

You may even spot emerging trends to incorporate into your app as Twitter famously did when it began hyperlinking #hashtags and added Trending Topics.

Who uses your mobile app

Is your app reaching its intended audience? Demographic data such as age, gender, language and location helps you tailor the user experience, the types of in-app purchases you offer and the ads you serve. Ask the right questions during account creation to get more granular. For example, learn if they own a pet, rent or own their home, if they’re students and how they make a living. These insights help you determine if you were right in your initial targeting and allow you to piggyback on emerging behavioral trends among groups.

Demographics can’t tell you if there is a better group you could be marketing to, but can help you spot shared preferences and trends among specific groups.

Stick to the facts

For an app to have the best chance of success, you need to make decisions that are data driven and rooted in actual behaviors. Usage and demographic stats provide a factual understanding of your app’s performance and what you can do to improve it.

And they’re most effective when used together

For example, say you’ve designed a mobile game for young women. They’re downloading the app, but dropping off early. You can slice your data to only look at screens with the lowest completion rates amongst 18-24 year old women. Then improve gameplay in that area.

You don’t need an advanced math degree to get it right. Most mobile app analytics solutions allow you to send data from your app to the cloud for analysis. However, we prefer in-app analytics. It’s the difference between measuring specific slices of predefined data vs. any data you can dream of, already stored in the cloud.

Check out our In-App Analytics video to see how you can use metrics to improve app store success.

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Yuan Weigel

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