Mobile App Analytics Gains Developer Spotlight

Besides coding and monetization, a third key component of mobile app success has lately been gaining increasing attention: analytics.

Knowing who your users are, what they're doing with your app, how your app is being used, how well it's working and myriad other details can help mobile developers and enterprises succeed in the expanding and ever-more-competitive mobile app landscape.

Or, as a brand-new report from VB Insight (from VentureBeat), puts it:

Building a great app is step one. Acquiring users is step two. Engaging and monetizing users is step three.

But how can you engage and monetize when you don't know what's going on?

App analytics solutions are the answer.

On Android, of course, it's all about Google Analytics. According to VB Insight, "Google Analytics for mobile is essentially a monopoly, with almost 95 percent market share on Android."

And luckily for Android developers, Google is helping them out with implementing useful analytics with a new Google Analytics Demos & Tools site launched a couple weeks ago to provide "a new Web site geared toward helping Google Analytics developers tackle the challenges they face most often."

 Primary app analytics solutions
[Click on image for larger view.] Primary app analytics solutions (source: VB Insight)

The site features live demos so developers can work with actual data and use interactive elements complete with implementation code snippets as a reference point for their own projects.

The provided tools include a new Account Explorer to help developers keep track of their accounts, properties and views, helpful for tasks such as finding IDs for APIs, tools or services that interact with Google Analytics. Other "explorer" tools are available for working with dimensions and metrics, along with queries. The site also features a spreadsheet add-on to work with data in Google Spreadsheets, along with dashboards, interactive charts, third-party visualizers, Polymer Elements (a JavaScript framework for building Web Components) and more.

"The site aims to make experienced developers more productive (we use it internally all the time) and to show new users what's possible and inspire them to leverage the platform to improve their business through advanced measurement and analysis," said Google engineer Philip Walton in a blog post last week.

"Some highlights of the site include a full-featured Enhanced Ecommerce demo with code samples for both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, a new Account Explorer tool to help you quickly find the IDs you need for various Google Analytics services and third-party integrations, several examples of easy-to-build custom dashboards, and some old favorites like the Query Explorer."

Not to be outdone, rival Web giant Yahoo just today announced its new analytics acquisition, Flurry, will be featured front and center at the Feb. 19 Yahoo! Mobile Developer Conference in San Francisco, with the headline, "Yahoo Sets Date for Mobile Developer Conference Featuring Flurry."

"The conference will include speakers from Yahoo, app developers and Yahoo's vice president of Flurry products, Simon Khalaf's State of Mobile address," Yahoo said. "Breakout sessions will help developers solve some of the biggest issues they're facing in today's crowded app market."

Fellow Web giant Amazon, meanwhile, introduced its Amazon Mobile Analytics service last July as part of a new mobile SDK and related services, and followed up with free A/B testing functionality for iOs and Android, and more last month.

For some best practices, VentureBeat -- vendor of the aforementioned for-sale report on mobile analytics -- last week provided "7 Smart Ways to Use Mobile Analytics" with advice such as:

  1. Conserve time and resources
  2. Make your app easy to use
  3. Track ROI
  4. Differentiate between app downloads and app usage
  5. Build a marketing strategy
  6. Detect crashes and problems with certain devices
  7. Drive conversions

"From increasing app usage to creating more revenue with better conversions, mobile analytics is the smart way to make decisions," VentureBeat said. "Going with your gut feeling may work occasionally, but if you're making decisions based on cold, hard data, you're going to be more successful."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.