On Tuesday, I was able to speak about analytics on mobile apps. I used a lot of the information I learned from the article, Mobile App Analytics: Where It’s Been and Where It’s Going, from Industry Insights.
I was able to learn a decent amount about the past, present, and future of mobile analytics. As I mentioned in my presentation, the main theme of all analytics evolution holds true with mobile app analytics; as the market of mobile apps has grown, the tools and methods of analytics gathering has grown with it. Both fields only have room to grow.
“According to Technavio’s latest report, the global mobile analytics market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21.33% during 2016–2020. Smaller, promising analytics startups are raising money and being acquired virtually every day. The funny thing is, the mobile app market still has a lot of room to grow, which means the analytics market will grow with it even more,” according to the Industry Insights article.
Specifically, the combination of traditional quantitative analytics with developing qualitative analytics is pushing the field into a more quality user based experience.
The need for analytics by mobile apps has never been ignored. As a more technical field to begin with, app developers have always been focused on how things like key performance indicators (KPIs), such as number of downloads. Figuring out why apps do well is important, because it helps app developers design apps that people find useful or entertaining, and can make more productive decisions on apps moving forward.
“Usually, mobile app analytics tools are used to track metrics such as number of downloads, use frequency, session length, or daily active users (DAU). These are all important metrics that say a lot about the state of an app, but they can’t track things that define more of the quality of the user experience.”
With the development of more tools to obtain qualitative analytics, app developers can address issues with their apps that make them less useful, less accessible and less popular. Key issues, such as bugs, can be determined and fixed much quicker than before. One of the biggest concerns of app developers nowadays is abandonment. Figuring out what is making their users leave is something being solved by the new methods of capturing qualitative analytics.
Heat maps, one of the forms of qualitative analytics collection methods, are a great resource to do just that. Using the the gestures that an app user inputs while using the app (such as taps, swipes, etc.), a map is generated showing the focal points and where people are most likely to navigate, and how. This can be very useful when bugs are making the app harder to use. Rather than wait on feedback, developers can see what people are doing on the app when things go wrong and make changes from there. Errors, like users clicking a button that doesn’t work or clicking something that isn’t a button at all, can be addressed faster.
Another feature used to gather data in a similar way is user session recordings. Like the name suggests, apps can take a recording of a user’s session using the app. This can be used in similar ways to the heat map, by figuring out the features of the app that are not working properly. Developers can also better see design flaws, like features on the app that are hard to find, or more popular features that are being hidden by less used ones. Seeing how their reliable users use the app, while also seeing why people abandon the app, can give the developers a full scope of why their app is performing the way it is.
Combining these newer analytics tools with the traditional KPIs and other quantitative analytics can make it easier to diagnose problems and solve them. Say when analyzing the apps performance, you see a drop in downloads. Rather than waiting for feedback from the community that may not come, app developers can check a real time heat map to see any areas of concern. If they see a spot of concern, they can access a user session recording to see what is happening in the cases that are causing the issue. Rather than having to speculate or rely on complaints, they can see what is going on before the problem becomes bigger. The combination of quantitative and qualitative analytics is now becoming the standard mobile apps professionals live by.
App developers are forever trying to improve these apps in order to be more profitable. As the mobile app market has exploded, that has made it that much more important to embrace the data and find new ways to collect it. Apps have become essential to our everyday lives, so being able to properly monitor them and make adjustments real time can ensure success.