Building a mobile app is only half the battle. After completing the user research, development, and testing to build a rock-solid app, you begin the real journey to success: using app analytics.
What are app analytics?
App analytics provide key data about app performance and user behavior. It helps marketers and app developers understand how their app is used and where they can make improvements. In the competitive mobile app landscape, app analytics is essential to acquire, engage, and retain valuable users, answering questions about:
- User acquisition: Which channels and campaigns drive the most users to my app?
- User engagement: How often do users visit my app, and how long do they spend using it? How many daily, weekly, and monthly active users do I have?
- User retention: Do users come back to my app after they download it? How long does my app retain its users?
- User behavior: What app content, screens, or features do users engage with most? How do users navigate through my app?
- Conversions: What is the conversion rate for users completing desired actions, like making an in-app purchase?
- Monetization: How much revenue does my app generate through its monetization methods, such as ads or in-app purchases? What is the lifetime value of my app users?
Other types of app analytics provide deeper insights into user demographics, including age, gender, location, and device type. They can also alert app developers to performance issues by tracking crashes, errors, launch times, load times, and more. With all of this information, app teams can make data-driven decisions to improve their app strategy.
What KPIs should you track?
The app KPIs you choose to track will depend on your role, your specific app’s objective, and your business. While marketers typically prioritize user acquisition and engagement metrics, app developers and product managers may focus on app performance and technical KPIs. Here are commonly tracked metrics to get started.
- App installs: The number of times your app has been downloaded or installed
- Install source: The campaign or channel an app user comes from (e.g., mobile web, paid ad, organic search)
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC): The total cost of acquiring a new user through advertising or marketing
- Cost per install (CPI): The average amount spent to get customers to download an app
- Daily active users (DAU): The number of users who interact with your app in a 24-hour period
- Weekly active users (WAU): The number of users who interact with your app in a 7-day period
- Monthly active users (MAU): The number of users who interact with your app in a 30-day period
- DAU/MAU ratio: The proportion of daily active users to monthly active users, representing the app’s stickiness among regular users
- Session duration: The average time users spend in your app during a single session
- Session frequency: How often users open your app within a specific time period
- Screen views: The number of times users view specific screens in your app
- Retention rate: The percentage of users who continue to use your app within a specific time period
- Churn rate: The percentage of users who stop using your app within a specific time period
- Uninstall rate: The percentage of users who remove your app from their mobile device within a specific time period
- Event tracking: Tracks specific interactions or events within the app, such as form submissions, add to cart, or button taps
- Feature adoption: Tracks how frequently users engage with specific app features
- Feature dropout rate: Identifies which app features users engage with most and where they tend to drop off
- Search behavior: Tracks in-app search queries and keywords
- Conversion rate: The percentage of users who complete a specific action within your app (e.g., make a purchase, subscribe)
- Funnel analysis: User progression through a series of steps or screens in your app to identify blockers and dropoff points
- Total revenue: The total revenue generated by your app, including downloads, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and third-party ad revenue
- Average revenue per user (ARPU): The average revenue generated per user over a specific period of time
- Lifetime value (LTV): The average revenue a user generates over their entire lifetime as an app user
How and where should you get app analytics?
Most marketers and app developers gather analytics from multiple different sources and platforms. Which ones you use will depend on your app’s specific goals, the platforms where it’s available, and the level of insight you need. Below are some key mobile app analytics tools.
App store analytics
Tools like Apple App Store Connect and Google Play Console are useful for measuring app store performance metrics on iOS and Android, like app downloads, app purchases, user reviews, and app store conversion rates. This data is especially valuable for marketers to monitor their app store optimization (ASO) strategies.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Google’s latest analytics platform provides insights into user engagement, events, and conversions within your app. GA4 allows marketers and app developers to track user interactions across web and mobile, making it a popular choice for businesses with a large online presence.
Tools like Mixpanel and Firebase Analytics provide more in-depth event tracking and segmentation capabilities than Google Analytics, allowing teams to better understand user behavior and engagement. Data from these tools is useful for optimizing user journeys and conversion rates.
User feedback or customer support
Dedicated support tools like Zendesk or Helpshift provide insights into user issues and feedback. They help app developers and product managers identify and prioritize user concerns to improve the user experience.
These tools provide detailed insights into how users interact with your app, including which features they use, which pages lead to conversions, and how long they spend in the app. App developers and marketers use app analytics platforms like Amplitude for user behavior analysis, funnel and retention analysis, event tracking, and A/B testing.
Attribution and marketing analytics
Mobile measurement partners (MMPs) and mobile linking platforms (MLPs) like Branch track the performance of paid and non-paid app advertising and marketing campaigns and attribute user acquisition sources. These tools are especially crucial for brands with omni-channel app marketing strategies to optimize marketing spend and maximize ROI.
App performance monitoring
Performance analytics tools like Dynatrace provide real-time data about your app availability and performance. They track key metrics that impact the user experience, such as crashes, technical errors, and uptime. This data is critical for app developers to address performance issues and maintain user satisfaction.
Limitations of siloed app analytics
Pulling data together from multiple sources can pose an issue when it results in conflicting or inaccurate information. It can also be cumbersome for marketers and app developers to keep up with tracking and reporting across so many discrete platforms. This is why many advanced companies establish a “single source of truth” analytics hub, aggregating insights from multiple sources. If this is your goal, it’s important to vet your vendors’ partner networks and ensure they provide easy, out-of-the-box (OOTB) integrations.
App marketing measurement and attribution is increasingly difficult thanks to the ever-evolving data privacy landscape and the multitude of touchpoints where users interact with apps. But to optimize marketing strategies, allocate budgets effectively, and provide seamless user experiences, app teams need to understand how their apps perform on marketing channels. That’s where Branch comes in.
Branch simplifies measurement and attribution across owned, earned, and organic channels. By unifying and deduplicating performance data from various sources, Branch serves as a centralized hub for data aggregation and reporting, helping marketers and app developers maintain data accuracy, reduce discrepancies, and make data-driven decisions about their marketing spend. You can analyze campaign performance directly in the Branch Dashboard in real time — or export attribution data into your own analytics platform for richer insights. To learn more, request a demo with our team.