iPhone Life magazine

Mobile App Analytics Packages: How are your users using your app?

App publishers should be looking at their app's statistics in order to gain an understanding of their app's performance: how often is it being downloaded, what are user's doing inside their app, are their any bugs in their app that keep a user from fully enjoying their app.

 
With a number of analytics packages available online we are going to take a look at a handful of packages that you may want to consider when developing your application.  If nothing else, you'll want to take advantage of the statistics that Apple, Android, and BlackBerry offer to publishers about their app's download numbers.  Some of the following packages are available free to users, while others have free and paid versions.  I suggest visiting each website and reviewing each package before moving forward with one or the other.
 

Flurry

 
Flurry Analtyics PackageFlurry is an analytics package that focuses on the iPhone and Android operating system while also working on BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and J2ME.  Like most packages, it provides aggregated data to developers on how their users are using their app, as well as how the app performs on different devices and operating systems.
 
The package has a very easy to set-up API with minimal work on the development side to start collecting data.  The main benefits to the publisher is being able to see just what users are doing within their app as well as troubleshoot any possible bugs that may occur within their app that aren’t reported by users.
 
A nice feature is the ability to see the devices that users have and the features that they incorporate.  Armed with this information, you would be able to see if adding in a feature to your app that makes use of a user’s Microphone should be done over a feature incorporating the camera; the more of your users that have a particular feature would help you decide which feature to add first.
 
According to Peter Farago, Vice President of Marketing at Flurry, "Over 35,000 companies use us in more than 65,000 apps across iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and J2ME.  We track over 8.4 billion use sessions per month.  Each day, Flurry Analytics is in 1 out of every 5 apps downloaded from the App Store.  The biggest names in industry use our service, including the New York Times, Conde Nast, Skype, Rovio (Angry Birds), Namco, and MTV Networks."
 
Flurry is a free application. It appears their revenue is generated from their “Appcircle” feature, which allows their analytics users to advertise their own app within other Flurry user’s apps where it is determined a user has a high probability of liking, and downloading their app.
 

Localytics

 
Localytics Mobile Analytics Package
"Twenty Six percent of apps downloaded in 2010 were only used once" according to Brian Suthoff, Vice President of Market Development at Localytics.  That is why his firm has developed a cutting edge analytics tool to help developers and publishes track usage statistics and see how their app is being used.   While some developers only care about the download numbers and not how often their app is actually used, for most developers out there, they want to make sure they create a high quality product which will be used on a daily basis.
 
Localytics offers two versions: a free and enterprise version.  The free version offers a great deal of information to a publisher including real-time reporting, exporting data, and comparisons between various platforms, and operating systems.  The integration seems simple enough; the free version is available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry, with the enterprise version available for Windows 7 and additional platforms.
 
Some nice bonuses for this analytics package include an open-source SDK and a comprehensive WiKi (http://wiki.localytics.com/doku.php) which gives developers a nice reference for any installation or reporting issues.
 
The user interface is pretty straightforward, which I really liked.  You can easily start digging in to your app’s data, seeing aggregate information on your users: how long are people staying in your app, what devices are they using, where are your user’s located, and many more options.
 
It seems as though this package can give you a lot of information, almost too much detailed information.  But it is good to have the information at your fingertips.
 
 

Distimo

 
Distimo Analytics Information
Distimo is a pretty unique solution for tracking app statistics.  It doesn’t give detail reporting on your app, but what it does give you is market data available from each app store.  Distimo Monitor allows developers to track their daily download and revenue figures from all app stores in one convenient place. View application rankings in all countries, and benchmark your application(s) versus the competition and the rest of the market. No code-insert in the developer application is required.
 
Distimo gives your some valuable information on you app’s download statistics, though that is where this product leaves off.  I would suggest using this as part of your analytics tracking mix; the tool is free to use and doesn’t take much to set-up.
 
I asked Vincent Hoogsteder of Distimo, how they collect the information that they give to developers. "We collect data from two sources. First, we track all public available application data from the various stores. This data contains for example application popularity and pricing for all available content worldwide. Second, with permission of the developer, we will import their download & sales reports from the various stores into Distimo Monitor."
 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics’ package is in beta form, as such, they don’t really have a sexy way of advertising it just yet.  For those familiar with their web analytics package, they will be very familiar with how their mobile package work.  It has a similar look and feel, it simply presents data and information on mobile app data, not your website.
 
With the Analytics package in Beta, it seems as though there is a lot of set-up required from the developers side, meaning a longer time to install and have the analytics properly working.  You need to set-up what a “page view” is and what an “event” is to use the analytics package properly.
 
The package is available for iOS and Android, as well as mobile websites.  For those that are highly familiar with Google Analytics for Websites, this may be the right package for you, but remember that there is a good deal more set-up involved, so you’ll have to have your developers set-up your analytics, it’s not as easy as dropping in a line of code on your website.
 

Conclusion

Overall there are a number of more than capable analytics packages available out there.  Each has an advantage over the other, some made more for the developer and others for the CEO.  It really is up to each individual publisher to choose which analytics package that they integrate within their app.  The most important thing is to make sure that you do actually integrate analytics as the information will help you make necessary changes to your app as well as build a roadmap for future improvements and upgrades.
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