Tag: mobile app analytics

The Key to Analyzing User Retention in Your Mobile App

analyzing user retention

A successful product, in pretty much any category, is not defined (just) by how many people are using it, but (also) how many people are using it – frequently.

Think about it – if you hear a really good song on the radio – you’ll probably want to hear it a hundred more times. If you find an awesome restaurant in a back alley somewhere, you’ll keep coming back for that teriyaki wok. So what do radio editors and restaurant managers do when they notice you like the song/food? Radio editors might keep playing the same song every day. Restaurant managers might send a glass of wine your way, on the house, to let you know they appreciate you coming every once in awhile.

The same thing as with apps – important as it is to have people downloading your app, that doesn’t mean you’ve completed your work. On the contrary, my dear Watson – only then is your true task just beginning.

Building the app is the easy part – now you need to focus on making people return to the app. In turn,  transforming them to regular users and giving you various chances for monetization. That is the true challenge here – to get as big of a retention rate as possible, and to convert one-time users into regular returnees.

Analyzing user retention

The best way to measure how successful an app is to track retention. Some may argue that engagement is the best way to go – but not all apps are created equal. While some (for example, Shazam) might have fairly low engagement, others (Facebook) might have it high. That doesn’t mean both apps won’t be able to monetize properly, which is why it is best to focus on retention.

Retention is a metric allowing you to see how many people are returning to the app. As you try to engage with them, retention will help you understand which parts of your app are working and which are not. This will help you make tweaks in order to keep your users coming back for more. By constantly making improvements, you will keep your users and keep that conversion rate high.

If you want to measure retention, you need to understand how often users are returning in a set period of time. That is best done through cohort analysis, which groups together people who have started using your app at approximately the same time and shows you, in percentages, how many are returning.

Through cohort analysis, you can look for specific patterns in behavior, identifying your most loyal users, as well as those that were the first to quit. By looking at specific groups, cohort analysis can help you figure out if your retention strategies are bearing fruit or not.

analyzing user retention

Example of retention cohorts

Now, we won’t go in depth on what you need to do to keep your users engaged, and coming back for more – that’s a whole other post(s) in and of itself. Assuming you already know, and have devised a strategy, we will just focus on how to measure the success of that strategy: user retention. In particular, we’ll  on that little extra you can do to improve that analysis.

Quantity craves quality

Quantitative analytics will tell you plenty about your app and its users – it can tell you the number of downloads over a specific timeframe. It can tell you how many active users your app has, how long they stick around, and how often they come back. You can get plenty of information about the time of day, week and month when your app is at its highest, and lowest points.

But all that information won’t help you improve the retention rate among cohorts, as it tells you very little about the experience users are having with your app. It doesn’t tell you what they’re doing when they open the app up, what they find most enjoyable, and what they’re struggling hardest with. The time of day when people use the app will tell you very little about the frustrations of a poor user interface, or if you have a non-working button, somewhere in the app.

For that, you’ll need that ‘little extra’ we mentioned earlier – qualitative analytics. All the engagement users have with the app, including tapping, swiping or pinching. Which parts of apps they interact with most, and which are just there to collect digital dust. All that information, which can prove invaluable to improving user experience, thus improving retention, is accessible through visual app analytics – something Appsee, for example, has to offer.

Now we will go through some the features visual mobile app analytics can offer, which can be a gamechanger when it comes to improving retention rates.

Touch Heatmaps

First up are touch heatmaps. This feature will place a visual layer over the entire app to show you exactly where people tap, pinch and swipe within the app. Using the same color-coding principle thermal goggles use, the feature will show you which parts of the app are used the most, and which are being neglected.

touch heatmapsHere’s an example of how touch heatmaps can help you improve retention. Let’s say you have an app with a login screen. It allows your users to log into the app using either a custom account, or their Facebook and Google accounts. In that screen, you’ve noticed through touch heatmaps, that a lot of people are swiping across the bottom of the screen, looking to proceed without registering, or logging in at all. After they realize they can’t enter the app without registering, they quit, never to be seen again.

This might prompt you to create a ‘Enter as Guest’ feature, solving an important issue for a group of users, effectively improving on the overall user experience and beefing up that retention rate. That is exactly what touch heatmaps can do – the feature will give you more insight into user behavior, which is essential to understand if you want to improve the user experience, and ultimately – retention.

For more examples of how touch heatmaps can improve your mobile user interface, make sure to check out this infographic, as well.

User Recordings

Real-time, information sensitive session recordings of users interacting with your app can be crucial to your app’s success. This feature will let you see exactly how users engage with your app, what they do, if and where they get stuck, and which parts of your app cause frustrations.

user recordings

For example, if you have a mobile game and you notice that many people reach level 10 and just quit there. You know that a lot of people quit there, but don’t really know why. By watching a replay of a user session, you could potentially find a design flaw which makes it close to impossible to finish the level, frustrating users and making them quit.

Or another example. Let’s say you have a shopping app. One of the biggest challenges for many shopping apps is that people tend to abandon their carts (shopping cart abandonment rate for mobile is at a stunning 97 percent). You see that they’re quitting, but can’t point a finger at a concrete issue. By watching user sessions, you realize that many users experience multiple issues before actually making the purchase.

Events like these happen all the time, and only by visualizing what your users are experiencing, you can optimize your user interface to keep your retention rates high, bring back old users and even onboard new ones. Session recording is the most powerful qualitative analytics tool, as it literally puts you into the shoes of the user and allows you to experience both good and bad sides of your app. Understanding your users’ troubles can help you build better future versions, and there is no better way for user retention than actually solving the problems they’re having.

Monitor, optimize, rinse and repeat

User retention is a process – not an event. You are never done optimizing your app. If you want to keep your users engaged and keep them coming back for more, you need to be engaged as well.

It all comes down to monitoring, optimizing, then repeating the process.

Every strategy, user retention included, needs to be based on solid, actionable data. Quantitative data can tell you a lot about who your users are and how much time they spend with your app, but it won’t tell you how they actually feel using it, and if they’re experiencing hair-pulling moments.

Through qualitative analytics, and tools such as touch heatmaps and session recordings, you will be able to understand exactly where the problems and nuisances lie within your app, and where your focus needs to be next. And that information is, without a doubt, essential to optimizing your retention strategies.

Hannah Levenson is the Content Marketing Manager at Appsee .  A UX and mobile app enthusiast, she has a great affinity for discovering and sharing unique insights and resources with the mobile tech community. Hannah also loves photojournalism, classic rock, and pretending that she’s the only one with a “foodie” Instagram account. You can follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahLevenson.

Top 5 Mobile App Analytics Platforms

Mobile App Analytics

Getting the right mobile app analytics platform for your mobile app platform can be tough.  Despite ever growing demand for mobile app development capability and mobile optimization services, getting a clear view if what’s happening with the app and delivering it in a digestible form to your customers can be challenging. Successful mobile app development projects always start with the end in mind and in order for your clients app to be successful you need to develop a comprehensive series of KPIs and success measure. Today we’re focusing on the top 5 best mobile app analytics platforms for mobile apps.

The best way to ensure success for your clients is to adopt a mobile app analytics platform that can provide the crucial data you require to optimise your app performance on an ongoing basis. Mobile is all about continuous data driven development and choosing the right analytics package represents a crucial challenge.

If you’re developing a new app for your client, the time to start thinking about the right analytics package is now. When selecting the appropriate platform for your clients, there are a bunch of factors you need to consider early on. It’s worth noting that if you’re not building a native mobile app experience, that a web analytics platform such as Google Analytics may suit your client’s project requirements. You need to consider ease of integration carefully, the faster you can get up and running the better. Generally speaking the top mobile app analytics platforms will provide a slick and efficient onboarding process that enables you to get up and running in the shortest possible timeframe. If you’re developing apps for enterprise customers, you’ll need to think carefully about security and the ability to process mobile app data in real-time and there are a bunch of solutions that will enable you to achieve this.

Best Mobile App Analytics Platforms

So if you’re an agency seeking to turbocharge the performance of your clients mobile app, there are a few KPI’s you might want to consider early on your project. You should seek to implement a solution that provides feature depth in relation to mobile app acquisition, activation, retention, referral and revenue. Selecting the appropriate KPI’s to track will ultimately vary from client to client depending upon their individual business goals and overall project requirements. So without further ado, here are our top 5 picks for the best mobile app analytics platforms.

Flurry

Flurry was acquired by Yahoo in July 2014 and offers comprehensive mobile app analytics for all major mobile platforms including iOS, Android and Windows. There are a bunch of analytics tools that provide more depth in terms of mobile app data, but these tend to be paid subscriptions. The great thing about Flurry is the fact that it’s free and enables you to get up and running quickly, whilst providing the main features you’ll require for managing the performance of your customers mobile app. Flurry provides great analytical depth in terms of user acquisition analytics and displays data on number of app sessions, volume of active users, demographics, app retention and frequency of use.

One of the great things about Flurry is the fact it enables you to create a conversion based funnel for your clients mobile app, enabling you to focus on key data points. You can gather information on user devices, mobile carriers and app errors in order to provide a better experience for your app clients user base. Unfortunately, unlike some other analytics packages, Flurry won’t give you any real-time data points but is does offer a slick UI/UX that’s easy to use. Flurry is also trusted by some blue-chip companies such as Facebook and Google so you know you’re using a platform that’s tried and tested by some of the top players.

Flurry Pricing

Flurry is a great choice for your customers in terms of it’s free service. The dashboard can be slightly confusing and is prone to the occasional error but scores highly in terms of cost and functionality.

Apsalar

Apsalar is a freemium platform for mobile app analytics. The platform possesses some great features and offers a quick entry point into the world of mobile app analytics. It’s easy to setup and provides enterprise ready measurement and intelligence for your clients mobile app project. The system is compatible with all iOS and Android apps and provides a scalable and robust way for your app clients to track the performance of their mobile projects.

The software enables you to develop funnels, revenue tracking and events. It also enables you to segment your users into tightly themed groups enabling you to develop different, highly targeted messaging for each customer segment. As an agency owner/operator, this is something your clients will love and promises to deliver real value.

One great feature of Apsalar is its uninstall analytics. Given one of the biggest challenges that that app owner face is churn, getting a good understanding of what could be driving uninstalls will go a long way to building a more loyal, more engaged user base.

The beauty of Apsalar’s segmentation mechanism is the fact that it enables you to help your app clients to focus on their most profitable audience segments. This in turn enables your customers to quickly understand which segments perform the best and offers a great opportunity in terms of user acquisition and retargeting. Apsalar provides valuable insight into the characteristics of your clients key characteristics in terms of interest groups, buying intent and demographics.

Apsalar Pricing

Apsalar possesses a free toolkit that enables you to measure the performance of your clients mobile app projects. The toolkit is fully equipped with some great features that provide data on the lifetime value and monetisation performance of your campaigns.

Mixpanel

Mixpanel offers a freemium service for mobile app analytics across iOS and Android. If you’re running a mobile app development agency and looking for a solution for your customers, the Mixpanel platform provides events based analytical tools for sharing, upgrade, account creation, purchase etc. The key to using Mixpanel effectively for your app customers is to define events and associated event properties for your mobile app.

Once you’ve created your clients events and associated event properties there are a bunch of things that you can do. You can track events in isolation or you can create a sequence of event funnels. You can use clever tools within the analytics suite to measure your customers app to determine how often end users return to the app and engage with specific features and you can also build out complex queries associated with demographics and events. If your clients app stores user data, you can also associate data with a specific user and create segments for targeted push messaging, email and SMS campaigns.

Mixpanel enables your app clients to assess app retention performance by focusing on frequency of use and helps you to understand which app features consistently cause users to interact and come back for more.

Mixpanel Pricing

Mixpanel’s pricing is pretty straight forward. Using the free version of Mixpanel you’ll be restricted to 25,000 data points each month. A data point is defined as being an individual event tracking session. As an example, if your client is developing a photo sharing app like Instagram, and you only track and monitor the number of photos shared, this could equate to 5,000 users sharing 5 photos each. The Mixpanel platform also provides an activity feed that provides a timeline view of user events and enables you to track revenue.

Mixpanel is great because of the funnel visualisation functionality and in-depth analytical features. The platform possesses a slick UI/UX and is easy in terms of technical integration so you can get your customers apps up and running within the platform in a short timescale. The only downside to Mixpanel is the limited data points when using the free version of the software but this is a relatively minor criticism given the depth of features and functionality provided.

Amplitude

If you’re running a mobile app development agency and looking for a decent mobile app analytics platform for your customers, Amplitude could be a great option for your business. The Amplitude platform offers a freemium model and covers multiple platforms including iOS, Android and Unity. In some ways, Amplitude is very similar to Google Analytics and Mixpanel, providing analytics for both mobile apps and the web. This is a great option if you’re a mobile app development agency with some web customers who also need a solution for analytics. This works well because it gives your app and web clients a clear analytical view across both channels in terms of how users discover and use your clients mobile app.

But for the purposes of this blog, we’re interested in mobile app analytics and generally speaking Amplitude offers all of the key features, including behavioral cohorts, that your clients might require. The onboarding process is slick and straightforward and enables you and your customers to get to grips with the software quickly and downloading/installing the SDK can be done in a couple of minutes. The Amplitude SDK enables you to track your customers events, user activity, retention, revenue, funnels and behaviours.

There is an SQL option within the Amplitude platform that enables your clients to gain custom data sets through the app. One drawback is that the SQL option is only available through the enterprise package. However, this option does enable your app clients to create a customised dashboard that wouldn’t otherwise be available through the free version of the service.

Amplitude Pricing

One of the main drawbacks in relation to Amplitude pricing is the huge jump from the freemium model up to $995 per month for the enterprise version of the software. Given that the SQL option is one of the killer features, this may put off some mobile app development agencies off paying for the full service.

Apsee

Appsee is a freemium platform for qualitative mobile app analytics. Recognized by Gartner and Forrester as the industry leader in qualitative analytics, Appsee provides mobile app teams with actionable data on their in-app user experiences.

Two of Appsee’s most acclaimed tools are its user session recordings and touch heatmaps.

User recordings enable app pros to see exactly how users interact with their app. Basically, every action, event, and gesture is automatically tagged and recorded by Appsee’s technology and uploaded into a nifty session log. This allows app professionals to visually pinpoint errors in performance and usability. They can also see the exact causation of a particular crash. On a higher level, this real-time, qualitative data helps them understand the “whys” behind key numbers such as retention and conversion funnel metrics. Appsee’s user recordings can also be paired with Google Analytics user reports, A/B tests, and attribution campaigns via robust third party integrations.

Appsee’s touch heatmaps aggregate all user gestures within an app, such as user taps and swipes. It then displays these interactions in a visual, color-coded overlay. With touch heatmaps, it becomes easy to get user feedback and track which parts of the interface are pulling in the majority of the users’ attention and which are being ignored. With no more than a quick glance, mobile professionals can also see where users are trying to interact with the app’s UI, without the app responding (known as unresponsive gestures).
Integration with Appsee is pretty seamless. It only takes approximately five minutes to integrate the SDK and one line of code. Appsee also offers easy integration via Fabric.io.

Appsee Pricing

Appsee pricing starts with a free trial for small and startup sized teams. The free version of Appsee allows up to 250 user recordings and 2500 monthly sessions.

The final word on best analytics platforms for mobile apps

When it comes to deciding which analytics platform to choose, the answer will vary depending upon the requirements of your app customer. Running a mobile app development agency is hard work, especially when it comes to developing recurring revenue streams, that’s why post launch app marketing services such as optimization are so great. In terms of building your mobile agency, it’s important that you focus on the needs of your client and adopt a solution that matches their commercial goals.

After all, in order for your agency to grow and be successful, you need to triple down on what’s great for your customers. That means leading them towards a data driven development mindset and that’s why you need to think carefully about which platform to adopt. When it comes to analytics for mobile apps, there’s no silver bullet, we suggest you try them out and work out what feels comfortable.