The number of mobile apps available on each platform is staggering. Google Play, the iTunes App store and even the Windows store are full of apps for almost every use imaginable. Discoverability is a huge issue, and even if you do manage to get people to take a look at your apps, you face the challenge of retaining them as users in the long term.
Mobile device analytics can be invaluable for helping you to figure out what people are doing when they use your app. It can show you where people go inside the app, and it can highlight what they are looking at, where they choose to leave the app, and any points where they appear to get confused or start “going round in circles”.
You can use mobile device analytics to identify app crashes, improve the performance on any in-app advertising that you have, and also figure out how to make people more receptive to any microtransactions that you are running.
There are a lot of systems that you can use for mobile device analytics. Some are simple wrappers that you can use with almost any development platform and others offer more sophisticated APIs so that you can use them to gather feedback and track a much more detailed range of interactions.
Using the Data
Once you have found the analytics platform that you want to use, the next step is to decide what to track, and to figure out how to use the data you collect. It’s all well and good knowing average session times, how many times someone opens your app, how long it remains installed, and where people exit the app, but what will you do with that data?
If people are leaving your app in droves via a particular screen, it probably means that page or screen is poorly designed. If the app has a short install life, this probably means that it isn’t doing what people want it to – either it doesn’t work, or your description of what the app is supposed to do is unclear. You should collect as much data as you can, and then think about what that data is telling you. Update the app on a regular basis, and keep tracking its performance. This should be an ongoing thing, with constant improvement over time. Never stop testing and tracking; there is always room for improvement.