How To Optimise Your Mobile App Using Analytics
Editor’s note: We worked closely with David Toth when creating this article. David has over 10 years experience in mobile operations and has previously published work on the importance of analysing app performance. He also featured in our podcast series.
After designing and creating your mobile app it might feel like you’ve finished the project. However, what many organizations fail to consider is the importance of the post-launch maintenance and improvement of their apps. Just like you would with web-based content, it’s important to optimize your app using analytical data.
It’s crucial to ask the right questions when attempting to optimize your mobile app. If you don’t ask the right questions from the beginning, you’re unlikely to receive the ‘right’ answers. Additionally, individuals in different roles across an organization could ask alterations of the same question.
- a Regional Sales Manager asks, “Is my team leveraging the mobile tools I deployed for them on a regular basis?”
- the financial advice app owner that wants to know, “In which geographies are my greatest number of app users?”
- or the Marketing Manager asks, “which messages in the app are really connecting with users? Which ones need refinement?”
There are a range of analytical platforms available for enterprises to help answer these questions. We’ll touch on the systems that you can use in conjunction with apps created through Fliplet and suggest how to get the most from them.
Importantly, there are a number of key statistics that you should also monitor. These will form the basis for your hypothesis and future tests on your app, and could make the difference between a good app, and a great app.
What are app analytics and why should you care?
App analytics are a way of finding out more about the people using your app. You can assess app usage data by using a range of metrics, but it’s common for app analytics to help paint a clearer picture of:
- How users are navigating through the app
- When users are accessing the app, and using it the most
- What type of user is using the app
- Where is the app being accessed from (location)
- Do you know what channels your users came from?
- Did they enjoy their first experience with the app?
- Have they came back to re-visit the app since, or within the last 30 days?
- Have they shared the app with colleagues?
It’s important to consider these details (and more!) because it’s not just about how many people download your app, but about the wider picture. It’s not easy to keep app users; in fact, it has been suggested that within three days the average app loses 77% of its users.
How to monitor your app anytime, anywhere
Once you’ve identified what you actually want to monitor and why, it’s now time to determine how you’re going to track the necessary data. As suggested, there are a multitude of ways that you can track and analyze app data. However, two of the most common platforms are Google Analytics and Mixpanel, both of which are supported by Fliplet.
Google Analytics is free, and it’s a good place to start when it comes to mobile app analysis. Despite the fact it’s free, you won’t have any lack of features to help you get as much data as you require.
Outside of the basic traffic and user tracking You can have reports automatically emailed to you for metrics you want to track, which can be custom or predefined.
Mixpanel offers a variety of additional features that Google Analytics either can’t do, or doesn’t do as well, including:
- Track and send messages to individual users
- Advanced real-time reporting – see data in seconds not hours.
- Create conversion funnels – a much simpler process on Mixpanel
- Perform retention “cohort” analysis
Both Google Analytics and Mixpanel offer smart alerts. If there is a sudden or unexpected decrease or increase in some metrics that you’re tracking, you’ll receive a notification e.g. Mixpanel uses machine learning algorithms to interpret data so that if site traffic falls by more than 50% for (x) consecutive days you receive a notification.
What statistics should you analyze?
As you become a master analyst you’ll be able to measure more data and optimize your app to a greater extent. Until then, you can start off tracking some basic metrics using your analytics platform of choice.
- Users – the total number of distinct users who have accessed your app
- Sessions – the total number of times your users have accessed your app
- Screen views – the total number of app screens viewed. Repeated views of a single screen are counted
- Session duration – the average duration time of each session
- Real-time – live reporting of user activity on the app
- Screen names – the name associated with each screen on the app
- Locations – the place from which the user accessed the app
What should you do with the data you’ve analyzed?
You’ve gathered your data; now what? Well, this is where the optimization part of the process begins. In order to create a series of hypotheses for proposed changes to the app, you first have to determine what is or isn’t working well. This is a continuation of the analysis of your app’s usage statistics, so you should re-consider what you wanted to assess before you started tracking your app’s data.
What questions did you want to answer?
- Did the data reflect what you were expecting?
- Did there appear to be any anomalies in the data?
Based on your initial set of questions, you can assess the data using a combination of the metrics your analytical tools can track. We’ve compiled three examples of realistic scenarios where using analytics to optimize your mobile app could be beneficial.
#1: “My users aren’t returning to use the app again!”
Number of sessions down 40%
Analytics to monitor:
- User flow
- New sessions
- Page views
- User device type
- If users stall on one page, confirm there isn’t a navigation problem
- Consider app may contain information not valuable to users.
- Is usage low with a specific group? Is Android user activity lower than on iOS?
- Address any navigation issues and insure critical information is clearly visible on all platforms. Review crash reports and performance issues by performing testing to ensure app stability.
- Include surveys in the app that enable users to rate the app content. Also interview end-users to get their perspective
- If users on certain devices are experiencing issues, do targeted testing on those platforms.
- Set up email notifications that tell you if users are exiting from one screen more than others.
- Monitor crash reports
- Monitor user feedback on app content
- Check in with select end-users every other week to get their perspective
#2: “Why is nobody downloading my app?”
You expected double the number of app downloads than you’ve actually achieved
Analytics to monitor:
- User location
- Session time of day
- Session day of week
- User demographics
- Is the download process working for all users inc. different devices and operating systems?
- Do you know why current users decided to download the app?
- Check those current users to identify trends in demographics or app usage
- Test downloading the app from the respective app stores and to different operating systems to make sure people have been able to successfully complete their downloads.
- Track user journeys of current users to see if any had issues downloading the app
- Monitor user feedback on the app for general bugs and comments regarding the downloading process (if there are any)
- Setup email alerts for crash reports or errors. Create custom alerts which will be automatically emailed to you.
- If it’s an internal enterprise app, ask some colleagues for feedback. Did they try to download the app and fail? If so, why?
#3: “Users aren’t viewing some of the content I load onto the app”
Users aren’t visiting most of the content on your app
Analytics to monitor:
- Screens per session
- Screen views
- User flow
- If users are reaching certain screens then leaving, check to make sure there are no navigation issues.
- Is the content with low viewership on your app actually valuable to your target audience?
- Are there specific users, operating systems or devices that have particularly low screens per session statistics?
- Test screens for usability and functionality. Is the navigation menu working on all screens?
- Run a content audit and assess the difference between the popular and unvisited screens
- Run targeted testing if it appears that specific users or devices are having issues with some screens.
- Monitor crash reports – keep an eye on particularly low traffic sections or screens
- Setup alerts for when users exit a screen significantly more than others
- Ensure multi-device testing is carried out every time new content is added to the app
The benefits of using a structured app optimization process
In each of the cases above, the same process was applied:
- Problem identification based on data analysis
- Investigate problem and understand why it occurred
- Suggest and make changes to the app to correct the issue, and preemptively identify issues by monitoring trends
- Test the app again, and monitor the data using the same metrics
Of course, you don’t need to necessarily be looking for problems or anomalies in your app data. If your app is working and performing well you may just wish to optimize it further. For example, you could use average screen duration and screens viewed per session to determine which sections of your app were most popular.
This can be particularly effective if you have a knowledge sharing or marketing app. You can assess which content was being viewed (and thus, consumed by the user) the most. If required you can update this content to ensure users are getting accurate information on topics they’re interested in, or concerned about.
Efficiently optimize your app with analytics by asking the right questions
We’ve outlined a series of example questions in the article and accompanied those with scenarios we’ve experienced when previous clients have analyzed and optimized their apps.
If you’d like more information on the product just check out our app gallery to see examples of how powerful apps created with Fliplet are. Alternatively, if you’re ready, request a free demo and we can run you through the platform.