ROI·DNA Reads: Using Mobile Analytics to Create Stand Out Apps

April 29, 2014
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Matt Quirie
Measuring cut metal

Bottom Line:

If you’re going to build an app, it has to stand out. That’s obvious, but it’s also easier said than done. The trick is understanding why users click, tap or what they think when encountering certain commands, buttons and messaging. There are a lot of desktop and browser tools, but mobile can be trickier since we can’t track mouse movements. However, tools like Appsee do build heatmaps of taps that can quickly tell you if you’ve presented an option that rings false for the user. Few things annoy users more than tapping something without results, or with a result that feels counterintuitive.

Our Take:

Any business that has a mobile application, no matter the platform, should be using mobile analytics. Period. If they’re not, then they either have magical powers or are turning a blind eye to their customers. Mobile analytics contain almost all the answers to optimizing your application, simply because they draw on such a large data set.

Where do users seem to be getting confused about your app? What is causing friction? Which steps are slowing revenue? Signup and adoption rates are key performance indicators. You need to be able to view each step in detail and know where users are dropping off – or, hopefully, not! – and make corrections. On a more positive note, you can also learn what content users enjoy the most. How long are they reading for? Are they finishing? Where are they sharing? Twitter and Facebook shares may not be created equal.

Mobile analytics is an evolving space, and there are a lot of players attempting to create one platform to rule them all. We personally prefer Mixpanel, the most fully-featured analytics platform that also has reasonable pricing. But Mixpanel — and every other platform — will have to fight hard against giants like Google and Adobe to keep their business.

Before purchasing, we can’t stress enough how important it is to sit down with different stakeholders from engineering, design and marketing teams to ensure the chosen analytics platform is actually useful. This may sound obvious. But the number of companies that adopt — and pay big bucks for — complicated platforms that team members find useless is astonishing. Be sure everyone you want using a tool will actually use that tool.

As we mentioned earlier, the KPIs for a mobile app are going to diverge from typical web analytics. Conversion rates and other traditional metrics will be key, but be sure you’re developing KPIs for your business. Critical metrics for one company do not necessarily mean anything for the next.

Summary:

Become a scientist. Test your app in every possible way. Appsee and Mixpanel have great mobile analytics tools. But you should also be a scientist as you shop. You need to nail down exactly what’s right for your application, and sometimes the most popular choices aren’t the best fits. Regardless, when you do decide, test and iterate, test and iterate, test and iterate your application and it will finally stand out in the crowd.

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