With mobile usage ever increasing App stores have literally become flooded with all kinds of Apps. Apps that help you manage your finances, Apps that help you organize your day. The list is endless and the majority of these Apps fail. Some because they do not get enough exposure via App marketing and some because they crash upon launch. However, if your App really stands a chance of making it, it needs to STAND out.
How do you make your App Stand Out?
For starters, concentrate on design; particularly your User Interface (UI) and how it can contribute to the overall mobile User Experience (UX). Next, since every target audience is different with a varied set of needs and you want to be able to monitor that your designs are working:
- Does your screen flow causes friction?
- Is your onboarding experience bringing them onboard? If not, why?
- Which screens do contain a confusing UI?
You want to monitor their behavior when using your App because without monitoring, analyzing and coming up with an App optimization plan, it’ll be like swimming against the tide. Once you get a solid grasp of why your users are behaving as they are, you’ll be able to devise a sound optimization strategy that will empower you to optimize, release and translate your user base into engaged and active users.
The downside of not employing a sound optimization strategy is that you risk all you have worked for by having your first time users remaining just that: First and LAST time users. You need to impress them right from the very start and to do this you need to monitor key metrics from day one. Remember, in just about everything, and especially with Apps, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Key Metrics for Monitoring, Analyzing and Optimizing your App
The 3 categories at the core of the metrics I will be discussing are Acquisition, Engagement and Outcome. However, you want to pay special attention to the engagement metrics, as those are crucial in optimizing your App. By using the key metrics in these categories you’ll gain insights into your App’s success and where it needs some work. You’ll learn what elements of your marketing funnel need refinement.
Below, please see the key metrics per category:
This category includes all metrics which are used for acquiring users. While there are quite a few metrics in this category, I’m going to cover the most crucial ones:
This is where it all starts. After launching on the App store, the first thing that nearly every publisher does is monitoring downloads. The whole idea behind downloads (which is a hard enough metric to get as it is) is to translate as many of those downloaders as possible to returning active users (aka “Retention” which we will get to later). In retaining users, you increase your chances for monetizing your audience and converting on the goals you have set.
Monitoring the downloads metric is imperative in order to know just who your downloaders are and where they are coming from. Are they coming from an article you got placed in the NY Times? Are they getting to your App through a PPC Facebook campaign? A burst campaign? You get the idea. This will allow you to come to a decision on where you want to budget your advertising dollars and coming to a CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) number.
Where are the people who download your App from? What City? State? Country? Province? What languages do they speak? What is their gender? Education Level? Measuring this metric allows you to not only adjust your marketing spend depending where your users are coming from, but it also allows you to strengthen your UI design, based on demographics. For example, say your users are coming from China, you’ll want to include a certain shade of red wherever possible. Knowing this demographic information will allow you to connect more with your audience.
- New Users
After a user has downloaded your App and used it once, this is the bucket they are placed in. This metric is important, as it tells you the number of users who downloaded your App and used it once. This, however only tells you so much. It shows you that people have a general interest in your App. However, you can take a look at this metric and say, now that we got them how do we make them active? That is why this metric is so important. The more new users you have, the larger an audience you have to make active and to hence, engage and monetize.
It is crucial to analyze new user behavior, so you can adjust your App as necessary to make sure they stay on board and connected to your App. Say, upon analysis of this metric, you notice most of your new users dropping out right after the last screen of your tutorial. You discover that the network used did not load images in a timely manner, thereby causing friction in the user experience. Noticing a large number of users from Eastern Europe were quitting your App, your engineers contacted the network company providing service, realized that it was a packet switching issue, and you fixed the problem.
- Active Users
This metric is at the core of making your App great. Active users are users that return to your App regularly, engage and convert. By studying this metric, you will gain insight into the behavior of these users, find out what makes them engage, what doesn’t and further refine your App to maximize their experience.
Here you gain knowledge of user behavior within your marketing funnel. If they aren’t converting, you can discover why they aren’t. If they are converting more on certain Calls-to-Action because of a certain image or design, then you can optimize those screens as needed to mimic those winning designs.
This category includes metrics that have to do with how your users interact with your App, the percentage of users who stay with your App post download and provides insight on user flow and navigating throughout your App. The length of time people spend on each of your screens and the various actions they perform.
User retention, presented by cohort analysis (see example below), provides you with the number of users who have stayed on post download and have been returning to use your App over a specified time period. The reports you gain from monitoring this metric allows you to see if your users are getting what they want out of your App and will help you see how your App optimization efforts impact the retention rate.
- User Flow
This metric gives you a snapshot of users who are navigating your App, in what order and important info as where they are getting stuck in your funnels (such as sign in and check out process) due to friction. You can also see what action they perform on each screen and by studying this metric you can gain insight as to the why users are behaving as they do, refine and release. For example, you may discover that they are converting more when reaching a certain screen over another, allowing you to refine as needed and gain more conversions.
- Dropoff Rates
By analyzing your dropoff rates you can see which screens are causing this action and delve into the why allowing you to again refine as needed. If people are dropping out after reaching a certain screen, this could mean confusion and it is something you want to fix so as to stop bleeding users.
- Session Length
If you want to know how sticky your App is, this metric is it. By measuring session length per user, you gain an understanding of just how deep your user’s relationship with your App is. The stickier and more engaging, the longer the session length. Upon analysis, if you conclude that it is content that is prolonging their sessions, serve more compelling content. If it’s beautiful imagery, serve them that.
This is related to where your users convert within your App and it covers goal conversions, in App purchases and App monetization.
- Goal Conversions – Signups, downloads are just some of the goals you should monitor so you can optimize your strategy and strengthen your calls to action to achieve the goals you set.
- App Purchases – App publishers utilize ads such as Interstitial and Native ads to promote the purchase of other Apps. By studying the outcome metric, you can refine your App to include these ads in the places that users convert the most.
- In App Purchases – You can learn where in your App users are monetizing to purchase content and allowing you to refine so you can increase monetization with your App.
Mobile Analytics: Getting Started
Implementing mobile analytics is a lot easier than you think. Integrating the SDK provided by the mobile analytics platform takes only a few minutes. You will soon be on your way to studying user behavior and optimizing your App and maximizing greatness.
I’d like to stress that it is paramount to go beyond just the key metric numbers that traditional analytics solutions like Google Analytics provide. You need to understand the why behind the key metrics which visual mobile analytics, such as Appsee.com, provides. By utilizing the tool’s key features, such as user recordings, touch heatmaps and real-time in-App analytics, you’ll be able to see how users interact with your App through their eyes and take a deep dive into the reasons for the key metric results.