You can measure some of the acquisition/revenue metrics using app downloads and revenue tracking tools, but if you use only that you will still be missing some important data.
By monitoring the right things, you’ll be able to learn a lot about your users and improve your app or your game.
A couple of other things before jumping to our thoughts on the different tools:
- Start monitoring things before you publish your app on the mobiles stores: even if you got only a few beta testers (try having as many as possible!), the data can still be used as an indicator
- Different tools for different apps: what might be a perfect tool for a kind of app might bring much less value for another
- Track what makes sense for your app and for your audience: not every app has the same objectives
- Know where your app is going: do your best to pick a tool that you can still use (or afford) when you get more users, add platforms or countries
In-App Usage Analytics
Luckily, there are several tools for in-app analytics and some are free or have free versions. Some provide other features than in-app usage analytics (cross-promotion, ads etc.). This can be important to make your choice but it’s not the topic of this post so that part is not detailed.
All the solutions mentioned will require you to use an SDK as well as some level of customization.
A couple folks working at these companies have interesting things to say about their products and in-app usage analytics on Quora, you should check it out.
Disclaimer: the views expressed here are only ours, and some of the tools we couldn’t test extensively. We did our best not to make any mistake when talking about these tools, and if by any chance we did please let us know and we’ll happily correct them.
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Java ME
Flurry is a pretty complete tool for your mobile app analytics. For each app, you can either use the “classic” dashboard or create up to 10 custom dashboards. That compensates for the fact that to get some analytics, you sometimes need several clicks which can get frustrating.
Here the kind of info you can find or use in the dashboards:
- Usage: active users, sessions, session lengths, frequency, retention, etc.
- Audience: interest of users(your other apps + category), personas (type of your users – defined by Flurry), demographic
- Events: define events, see user paths, create funnels
- Technical: devices, carriers, firmware versions, errorr
We like: thorough yet free, multiple dashboards, user paths and funnels
Not so much: lots of click required to get info, errors/crashes hard to identify
Google Mobile App Analytics
Platform: iOS, Android
It might seem suprising, but Google didn’t launch this mobile app analytics tool before the end of June 2012. Mobile is (getting) huge, and I think Google will play a key role in analytics. For many users they already have for web and mobile web analytics, it makes total sense to keep using the same tool they’re used to for in-app usage analytics.
The program is still in beta, and you can apply here.
I couldn’t give it a try, but here is what I got from the Google Analytics Support. Just like you would expect, Google Mobile App Analytics provides metrics to analyze your app performance. Your app overview gives you reports organized in four categories
- Acquisitions: find out about who are your new users. For Android apps on the Google Play Store, you can also track where your users are coming from and for example know how many sessions they’ve used or in-app revenue they’ve generated.
- Users: just like for the web, you can know about new vs. returning users, their country/language, the app version, etc.
- Engagement: you can use event tracking like you do on your website, get reports on speed, crashes and exceptions.
- Outcomes: you can set up goal, track the conversion of your objectives and see the goal flow (Google’s equivalent to the funnel/user path).
We like: lots of the needed features, easier to learn if you already use GA, integration with Google Play for conversion tracking (and more to come)
Not so much: still in beta, no integration with iTunes for conversion (I don’t see that happening)
Apsalar – ApScience
Platform: iOS, Android
You can create:
- Funnels, including across multiple apps.
- Real-time cohorts, to measure engagement of users across time
We like: analytics across multiple apps, real-time cohorts
Not so much: they don’t answer our emails
Price: Freemium (see prices here)
Stores: iOS, Android
Below is a video made by the MixPanel team to explain the tool:
In the free version, you’re limited to 25,000 data points / month. A data point is counted every time you track an event with Mixpanel. So, for a music app and if you track only songs played, that could be 2,500 users playing 10 songs each.
Mixpanel also recently introduced “Activity Feed”, that let you see a timeline of every action a user (when identified by a profile) takes in your app from day 1.
We like: event-based and easy to create funnels, nice UI and allows in-depth analysis, can tie web to mobile
Not so much: limited in data points in free version
Price: Freemium (see prices here)
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, HTML5
On the first screen, once you’ve added your apps, Localytics presents you an overview of each one with the number of sessions or users. In the premium/entreprise versions you can compare your apps with various criterias (new vs. returning, sessions, users, etc.) and also build your own queries to get a .csv file.
In the free version of Localytics, you can get the following analytics info for each app:
- App usage and reports (by location, device, carrier, app version, unique users)
- Users and sessions (time periods and new vs. returning)
- Day-Part Analysis (time of day where your users are most active)
- Events and attributes
- Annotations (leaving notes on graphs)
You can try a live demo with all the features here.
We like: help bubbles at the beginning, easy to use, unlimited apps in free version
Not so much: no funnels/sessions length/filters in free version
Price: Free if self hosted (open source)
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry
For each app, you can get info on:
- Users and Users Loyalty
- Sessions and Session Frequency
- Devices and App Versions
- Carriers and Platforms
We like: awesome UI/design, open source (cloud version coming),
Not so much: segment from within the app (but that’s also for performance reasons)
Platform: iOS, Android
AskingPoint is a less complete tool, but is worth mentionning because of its unique concept: it provides both mobile app analytics and a review/polls system.
The Analytics part gives you data on usage, devices, versions and demographic. You can also create custom events to get basic info on how people user your app.
This post is not about improving your ratings. That said, what’s great about AskingPoint is that it allows you to ask specific segments of users (based on various criterias like how they use your app, version, country) to rate your app or to send them a survey/poll.
As shown above, you can then compare what kind of response you get depending on the version you use.
We like: ask your best users for review
Not so much: basic analytics, no funnel
Playtomatic (iOS, Android, HTML5, Unity, etc.)
Playtomatic specializes in real-time game analytics, and let you track and analyze player behavior.
The analytics and metrics can be customized, and you can also get heatmaps of deaths, clicks or anything else for any part of your game. And some other stuff too, including things I don’t understand (but that sound interesting to game developers).
It’s like Crazy Egg for iOS apps, and it looks pretty cool: you can know which buttons users press, what is the first thing they touch, see what kind of gestures they use, if they are using your app in landscape or portrait mode and even do some A/B testing.
Check out their video below to learn more:
HeatData (Mobile Websites)
Mobile is not all about native apps. If you have a mobile website, HeatData is the perfect tool to get Heatmaps for mobile gestures. In addition to the heatmaps, you can track up to 10 Events for free.
TestFlight Live (iOS)
By leaving the SDK you use to have people test your app over-the-air, you can get free access to 90 days of real-time analytics of revenue, audience and engagement.
This tool is quite different, as it is for Location Analytics. Placed is made to “measure, aggregate, and analyze the paths and places people visit in the physical world”.
So here are most of your options in order to know how, when, where and by what kind of audience your app is used. Based on the data you’ll get and the tracking of your downloads and revenues, you can adjust your app marketing and improve your app/game.
Did we forget any major free or affordable tools for mobile app analytics? Have you tried any of these and would like to share your experience? What do you track? Let us know in the comments!