Mobile app analytics are essential tools that companies and individual developers use to launch, market and manage their mobile apps.
This necessity stems from a simple point – business (especially marketing) decisions are made with various references to data and analytics. And these days there is no other way around it.
Everything can be measured. Soft launches, downloads, user engagement, app performance, marketing campaigns efficiency, churn… and a lot more.
There are many important data points and measurements important for mobile app businesses and developers.
Of course, it is within analytics tools – whether built in-house or third party – where the measurements are observed and evaluated.
In general, all mobile app analytics tools can be separated into three broad categories:
There are many solutions and tools that fit in all these solutions or just specialize in one of the categories.
In this article the main focus will be on in-app analytics tools. But to better understand that category particularly, I think it is useful to define all the aforementioned categories.
App Marketing Analytics
In brief, app marketing analytics tools measure and track how users discover your app, where did they downloaded it from, did they share it with their friends and so on.
At Tune they define mobile app attribution as the measurement of user events (such as an app install, repeat app launch, level completion, or in-app purchase) that are a result of marketing activity. (source: https://help.tune.com/marketing-console/an-introduction-to-mobile-app-attribution/).
The core questions app marketing analytics try to answer are: Where did the user download the app from? How did they learn about the app? What marketing campaign influenced user decision to download the app?
App marketing analytics are a really important when tracking the marketing ROI and the impact of marketing strategies.
App Performance Analytics
App performance analytics measure everything that happens in the apps from a technical performance perspective.
These types of analytics are crucial for understanding how the app performs, its speed and they can show if there are any bugs or outstanding errors.
Business of Apps notes these analytics are crucial for apps success. Simply because, these types of analytics track whether the app is actually working or not. (source: http://www.businessofapps.com/guide/app-analytics/)
App performance analytics provide answers to questions like: is your mobile app optimized? What third party SDK is slowing down the app? Is there any latency in the app? Is everything ok with the API?
Similarly, as app performance analytics, in-app analytics measure everything that happens in the app itself. But with these analytics the focus is on the user and their engagement within the app.
How do users engage with the app? How much time do they spend there? How do they convert in an app? These are some questions that in-app analytics tools answer.
And these answers are paramount to businesses that provide in-app purchases or which rely on their apps for business.
The in-app analytics provide user behavior insights and an opportunity for businesses to make necessary changes to make their users become happy and engaged customers.
As mentioned above, this article will focus on in-app analytics tools you shouldn’t miss in 2019. These:
- Google Analytics for Mobile (and by extension Google Firebase)
For, a better overview of the market and usage testimonials I’d recommend you to check out G2Crowd’s Mobile App Analytics Quadrant.
Smartlook – smartlook.com
Smartlook helps you to make better decisions to keep your users happy and customers engaged.
Smartlook provides its users an ability to analyze and completely understand their website or mobile app user engagement.
Smartlook achieves that by providing meaningful insights through comprehensive qualitative analytics platform which supports both websites and mobile apps.
With a comprehensive feature set, Smartlook finally gives you a way to understand user behavior at the micro-level.
Discover the reasons behind churn rates, rage clicks, and everything else people do through always-on visitor recordings, automatic event tracking and conversion funnels.
Always-on visitor recordings show you what every visitor does on your website or app, while automatic event tracking lets you know how (and how often) your visitors do specific things.
The .gif above shows how Smartlook recordings engine work and it’s features.
The image below represent Events Dashboard in Smartlook:
Once events are set you can build conversion funnels to visualize your conversion rates and uncover why your customers are churning.
This is how Funnels looks inside Smartlook:
And what is unique only for Smartlook – it supports mobile games built on Unity & Metal frameworks. (Unreal engine also incoming soon enough; keep an eye on our social media)
Madfinger Games – creators of the Shadowgun Legends game series – use Smartlook to discover bugs, visualize blind spots and understand gamer interaction. Check out this interview with Madfinger Games about how they use Smartlook for their mobile game analytics.
Here’s a .gif on how it looks from inside the tool:
You can try out Smartlook by signing up here: www.smartlook.com/sign/up
Google Analytics for Mobile
Google Analytics for Mobile relies on Google’s powerful Analytics engine to provide analytics and data for your mobile apps. It’s a free service, and definitely a good starting point into the analytics of your app.
Google Analytics for Mobile Apps covers all the basics.
It enables users to understand the number of users in your app, their characteristics, and where they come from. Measure what actions your users are taking and present all the info through customizable reports. More info on features here.
Now a great thing with Google Analytics for Mobile is that it leverages all the other Google Products seamlessly. Also, Google Analytics for Mobile are native in Firebase.
Now Firebase is a comprehensive mobile and web application development platform. It includes analytics, development environment, databases, cloud storage, messaging and crash reporting. A lot.
You can start with Firebase for free as well, but then scaling up the data usage and features will require subscription.
Firebase analytics Dashboard screen looks like this:
Countly – count.ly
Countly is an interesting solution. It is an open source analytics solution for mobile, web, desktop and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
It’s a server side analytics platform that runs either on self-hosted servers or on Countly’s servers.
Accordingly, Countly has 2 distinct packages – enterprise and community edition. Community edition is always free and assumes self-hosting. And Enterprise license prices is based on the data points volume and management.
Countly has many plugins that can be used to customize your own ‘Countly solution’ or expand the functionality of the predefined platform.
For mobile app analytics – Countly tries to cover all three categories of mobile analytics (marketing, in-app and performance).
And such robustness comes with a rather complicated installation process. Which may be its biggest flaw.
From the in-app analytics side, Countly allows analytics on user level (tracking engagement and events) supported by advanced segmentation and user profiles.
As with all analytics platforms mentioned here, with Countly you can track customer engagement over time and understand their behavior flow to improve user experience and customer retention.
And yes, as I hinted above Countly allows you to monitor crashers and errors, but also to analyze attribution and correlate acquisition sources with user actions.
This is Countly’s Overview screen:
Localytics – localytics.com
To quote the mission statement from their website: “Localytics helps you solve your marketing challenges to get to the heart of who your customers truly are so you can connect with them meaningfully and personally. We go beyond superficial personalization to help you treat your customers like the wonderfully complex and unique humans they are.”
Team behind the Localytics wants you to have a personalized approach to your mobile app marketing.
That being said, their platform offers 3 distinct feature sets: discover, engage and optimize.
Engage set from Localytics is a marketing portion that uses in-app notifications and messages to outreach and engage (duh) with app users.
Discover and optimize feature sets are analytical.
On the Discover side, Localytics features powerful reporting, comprehensive session and usage analytics including detailed events and attribution tracking.
While in the Optimize set, Localytics provide A/B testing and funnel monitoring capabilities which can be used for further app optimization.
And here’s how Localytics looks from inside:
Mixpanel – mixpanel.com
Mixpanel is an analytics platform that supports both websites and mobile apps.
Its feature is also divided into 2 categories: analytics and marketing.
The marketing portion of Mixpanel allows users to A/B test their assets, message and influence their users.
On the analytics side, Mixpanel’s feature set is familiar. They offer engagement metrics, user insights, funnels, cohort reports, events tracking and so on.
Mixpanel is a data heavy analytics solution focused on behavioral analytics and data models to provide qualitative analytics and insights to their users. Additionally, Mixpanel provides a platform for direct user messaging and engaging.
Interestingly, within the Enterprise package, Mixpanel offers a Predict feature. Which enables users to predict which of their visitors is likely to convert. I’d really love to see if this feature works and how successful its predictions are. If anyone has any notes on that, please let me know.
Mixpanel offers Free, Basic and Enterprise plan. Basic and Enterprise plan differ in the data points usage, data history, features (Flow, Predict and Cohorts features are enabled only for enterprise package) and services (live chat support for example).
This is how Mixpanel’s Dashboard looks:
There are many mobile app analytics tools out there. They differ from each other on different vision and approach. They also have overlapping or expanding feature sets or they simply focus on different things within the greater sphere of mobile analytics.
Depending on whether you’re looking for in-app user analytics, app performance analytics or app attribution analytics – your choice can be simplified.
Regardless, the solutions themselves differ from each other in general design, supported platforms, defined feature package sets and / or pricing.
But, among these explored above, I’m sure you’ll find the best fit for your project. And if your apps are mobile games based on Unity, then there is only one real choice – Smartlook.
Please reach out to me via Social Media or comment below if you need more help to choose the ideal solution for your needs.