Much like websites, when it comes to building an app for a smartphone or tablet and making it available to the public, there is often a crucial step that is forgotten right at the end.
That step is making sure you have in place the data tracking and analytics you need so you can see how your app is doing and how it is being found by users.
Over a decade of building web sites, I can’t tell you how many times I come across someone with a website that does not have something like Google Analytics loaded and tracking user behaviour.
And I am finding the same in the app world since we launched Zappz Studios last year.
On our latest in-house app, Total Wallet – the totally smart mobile digital wallet technology (shameless plug!), we in fact have three separate analytics packages running. Each of the packages has its benefits, and honestly if it is not causing any lag in the functioning of the app and the using experience, then I say the more user data the better!
So on Total Wallet, we have the following analytics packages running:
1. iTunes Connect: this is actually the platform a developer uses to connect and upload their iOS app to make it available on the iTunes app store. Within iTunes Connect there is a basic set of analytics.
Under the “Sales and Trends” section you can see how many downloads per day your app is getting, what countries are downloading your app the most, what platform it is being downloaded on (i.e. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch etc.) and other interesting data points. You get this data regardless of whether you want it or not, as it is part of your iTunes Connect account, but it is pretty basic.
App Annie advertises itself as the “the #1 decision-making platform for the entire mobile app economy.”And honestly, I really like App Annie. It provides pretty much the same data as iTunes Connect, but displays it all in a much better way on its dashboard.
One feature I find very valuable in App Annie is the tracking of search rankings for keywords in iTunes search. So if more people are finding Total Wallet when they search “mobile wallet” then I know and I know how Total Wallet ranks compared to other apps indexed in the same search category.
App Annie has a free version that I use and then a premium (and pricey) version that I don’t have a need for at the moment, but might down the road if I can justify the steep monthly price tag.
3. Google Analytics for Apps: of course Google has analytics for apps! I mean they have a driverless car, why wouldn’t they have this!! It is actually pretty sweet and offers many of the same metrics that a regular Google Analytics account for websites offers, including valuable information like how long on average people are using your app. And it’s free, so why not give it a spin?!