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Tools and Platforms for Mobile App Analytics. Part II: Usage Tracking and Marketing Metrics

Mobile apps are created by individuals and teams, but used by thousands, if not millions of people, and you probably never will be able to see all users of your app in person. However, you can learn a lot of things about them and the way they interact with your product, and use this information to improve it and attract more customers.

While there are many things you need to know about your app and plenty of mobile app metrics to track, in the previous post we already made an overview of the performance analytics tools and platforms.

In this post, we will take a closer look at the tools and platforms for tracking app usage and marketing metrics. Fortunately, we at Stanfy have experience working with many of them, and can share our thoughts and recommendations with you.

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Here’s a list of things we use at Stanfy to analyse how people use our apps and get the most important audience and marketing metrics.

Flurry

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Part of the Yahoo Developer Suite, Flurry is one of the most popular and versatile free tools for user analytics. One of its main usages is to track events, i.e. actions the users take, which can tell a lot about how your app is being used.

In addition to that, Flurry can build funnels to see the way users progress through certain paths within the app and, more importantly, on which stages they drop off. This helps to identify the problematic areas that need improvement.

You can also obtain the user retention data, analyse user segments, and get a valuable insight into who your users are, including their geography, interests, gender, age group, etc.

Flurry also provides you with a way to create unique links for marketing campaigns that allow to track the results of each campaign. You can see how many people coming via different links have installed your app and the way they use it, which is invaluable to assess the efficiency of your marketing efforts.

Answers by Fabric

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Another free platform for user tracking, Answers is a near-perfect solution for a developer who has little time to dig deep into the data to find underlying correlations.

Calling itself the “mobile analytics you don’t need to analyze,” it has a decent number of important metrics, including active users, new users, and session length, as well as a reliable event tracking service.

“If you ask me, Answers is a cool thing of you’re just launching you app, and all you want to see is whether people use your app and how often they launch it,” commented our Android developer Roman Mazur. “What I really love there, apart from the slick interface, is the tracking of crash-free users.”

Google Analytics

Image credit: Waracle

Image credit: Waracle

Available for free for both Android and iOS apps, this is a platform that would be a great fit for power users and applications that have a significant audience.

Here’s how our Lead Android Developer Roman summed it up:

Google Analytics is like NASA Mission Control. It’s quite easy to connect it to your app, but you need get used to its interface and its special terminology, like segments, slices, metrics, etc.

It allows you to combine data from different platforms—iOS, Android, web,—and construct custom queries to see the data relevant to your business, introduce metrics of your own, and use its REST API to integrate it with other analytics systems.

It’s an extremely powerful and flexible tool, however it could be a bit too complicated.

If that doesn’t sound frightening, and you’re determined to learn all bits and pieces of your audience’s interaction with your app, Google Analytics is something for you. Feel free to tweet at @stanfy to share your experience or ask any questions about it!

Mixpanel

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Yet another popular and convenient suite of tracking tools with engagement metrics, funnel analysis, retention measuring, and user profiles. In an effort to make custom data queries available to those not familiar with SQL, Mixpanel includes a simple but powerful tool that allows you to build your own slices with a visual Lego-like interface.

What’s also interesting about Mixpanel is its surveying capability. The tool allows you to ask your users questions while they’re using the app, which could help getting data that can’t be obtained in any other way.

“We used it while beta testing an app,” comments Anastasiia Voitova, our iOS developer. “Our users installed a special version of the app with Mixpanel built in, and performed certain tasks. We recorded everything happening on their screens, and then analysed the videos.”

Mixpanel has a free tier, as well as a paid one for $2,000 a month.

Appsee

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In addition to traditional user behaviour tracking, funnels, retention, and crash analytics, Appsee offers developers an SDK that allows to get even deeper insight into how customers use your apps.

The first feature is user recordings, i.e. the possibility to capture the screen while people interact with your app to see what’s actually going on. It can answer questions like what makes users quit your app, or drop off at different stages of registration, and so on.

In addition to that, Appsee SDK provides a possibility to build touch heatmaps, showing where users tap the most. The feature allows to learn which buttons and other interface elements are ignored, what parts of every screen are the most interesting, etc.

Although you might not want to use Appsee with production apps due to security concerns, it could be your analytics platform of choice for beta testing and focus groups. There’s no flat fee for the platform, so you’d need to fill in a short form to get a custom quote.

Heap

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An analytics system for iOS and web apps, Heap is largely similar to Mixpanel and the other event and user tracking tools on the market, but with one important difference.

While usually you’d have to define the events you’d like to track in the app, Heap captures everything and allows to drill for events retroactively. This gives significantly more freedom in interpreting the logs. There’s a free version of the platform, with flexible custom pricing for unlocking the paid features.

Facebook Analytics for Apps

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Facebook is not only a social network, but also a pretty good free mobile app analytics toolkit. It can track in-app events, breaking the trends down by country, age, gender, language of the user, as well as the platform the app’s running on.

There’s also funnel building, segmentation possibilities, and cohort analysis that helps understand how the existing customers are performing compared to historical ones.

Since the toolkit is built by Facebook, you can also measure the lifetime value of Facebook ads and build custom audiences for remarketing purposes.

Give it a try. It only takes a click to unsubscribe.

With the wide variety of offerings with different sets of features and prices from free to thousands of dollars, the market of mobile app analytics tools is as big as ever. There’s something for everyone, from first-time app creators to enterprise-level developers working for clients from the Fortune 500.

Did you like any particular solution, or are you already using one? Share your experience in the comments, and ask any additional questions you have about user tracking and app analytics.

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March 22, 2016
  • Jed Wheeler

    This is a very strange list. You include bit players like Heap and leave out big guns like Localytics and Amplitude. Hot up and coming solutions include Leanplum and RadiumOne Connect. There are also a good number of attribution analytics solutions you’ve left out – TUNE, Appsflyer, Kochava, Apsalar.

    • It’s hard to get everything in one review, and that wasn’t the goal here. What we described here are mostly tools used and recommended by the dev team at Stanfy.

      Did you use the tools you’ve mentioned? Are they much better than those we put in the review?

      • Jed Wheeler

        I’ve worked in the industry for several years now (I ran Sales Engineering at TUNE for a while and am not the Director of Sales engineering for R1’s Connect) and so have worked with and built integrations with pretty much every player in the industry. They each have different strengths. Leanplum is arguably the best a/b testing solution on the market today. Localytics and Amplitude are both huge for very good reasons. Connect is the only solution on the market that can leverage in-app analytics data for programatic media optimization. TUNE has the best analytics capabilities of any of the attribution-oriented companies but it more expensive than many of the others and doesn’t have Facebook support. There are a dozen more companies I haven’t even mentioned. It’s a very crowded marketplace right now.

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