Mobile app analytics systems

At the foundation of every successful mobile-app marketing is app analytics. Mobile analytics is a must-have for all marketers. They give a clear picture of how your users behave and how apps can be optimized to reach advertisers’ goals. Without mobile app analytics, marketers would be trying out different things as blind kittens without any substantiated data. Therefore, it is very important to use mobile analytics when working towards achieving marketing goals.

There are two main directions of mobile analytics: in-app for analyzing users’ behavior within the app (internal analytics) and a system for tracking installs from different channels (external analytics). Some services can perform both functions, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t integrate two codes in-app SDK.

The scheme of work is simple. Users click on an ad, for example, banner or video (we talked about mobile ad formats in the second part of this series), redirection occurs, and the tracker registers the user’s clicks in the system. Then users go to the app store and download the app that already has the SDK installed. Afterward, the information is sent back to the tracking system (postback). The tracker records the install.

WHAT ARE THE METRICS FOR APP KPIs?

  • The amount of app installs is the primary indicator of the success and usefulness of the application – especially valuable installation of unmotivated traffic applications (installs target audience without consideration for action).
  • Activation Rate demonstrates not only installs but also launching the application after downloading. This is the second proof after installation and makes clear the interest of the application for the audience.
  • DAU (Daily Active Users) and MAU (Monthly Active Users) allow seeing how many active users open the app during a certain number of days and months (the required interval can be adjusted manually).
  • Retention Rate is those customers who, despite the endless replenishment of the application market, continue to use your product.
  • Cohort analysis is the reverse side of the coin: if the user has deleted the app, using cohort analysis shows us the circumstances and reasons, and this information can help fix such a situation.
  • Bonus criteria for the comfort of a marketer: built-in access to attribution, segmentation of the audience and the ability to change it in real-time, A / B testing, and its analysis.

However, it may not be so easy to choose an analytics system. In the world of mobile apps, there is more than one service competing for leadership. How do you not get lost in the abundance of tools and choose the most suitable? In this article, we will look at the most popular mobile app analytics services: Google Firebase, Flurry, AppsFlyer, Adjust, TUNE, Branch, Kochava, Amplitude, and Mixpanel.

FREE SERVICES

Google Firebase 

Google has two analytics systems — Firebase and Google Analytics. Initially, Google Analytics is not developed to work with mobile apps, so it can’t count full-fledged cohort analysis. Google Analytics for apps used an outdated session approach through the evaluation of screens/pages. Therefore, we won’t talk about it, but only about Firebase.

Google positions Firebase as a back-end platform for apps (such as a real-time database, hosting, and authorization system), and Google Analytics for Firebase as part of Firebase, which is responsible for tracking.

The capabilities of this tool are constantly expanding, and its features are enough for most users. Firebase’s approach to data analysis is based on users and events. This service is very convenient for tracking user actions and analyzing the activity of different audience segments. Besides, Firebase is free, which is a clear plus for small and medium-sized companies.

Yahoo Flurry

Flurry is a convenient service. Its tools are suitable for solving almost all basic tasks of mobile analytics within an app. One of the advantages of the system is working with events that are easy to configure and the ability to change the period of the step when setting up the funnel. Reports inside Flurry are well organized, and marketers can create the desired segments and funnels.

The disadvantages include the lack of calculation of financial indicators and the ability to conduct A / B testing. That’s why this system is not suitable for those who have in-app purchases.

PAID SERVICES

AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer allows marketers to work with both external and internal analytics, easily setting up audience segmentation and tracking different types of events. The trial can be downloaded for 5,000 non-organic installs and more than 10,000 integrated partners, making it easier to work with paid traffic sources. AppsFlyer has learned how to compare data on user activity during TV campaigns. This is an advantage for large brands that run national campaigns and want to measure their performance. This tool is not very suitable for small businesses and startups because of its price.

Adjust

Adjust also combines both external and internal analytics and its tools are enough for a full range of work on collecting and analyzing statistics. If you buy a paid tracker package, you get standard reports, API access, and tracking of organic installs as a bonus.

Advantages are flexible payment systems that depend on the number of attributions recorded by the system and convenient integration with partners. For large players, there is an unlimited package. The standard attribution window is 7 days. At the same time, the service has a rather complicated interface, which can be difficult for beginners.

TUNE (Mobile App Tracking)

TUNE — previously, this service was called MAT (Mobile App Tracking), and, as the name suggests, its main purpose was to track installations. Now it has functionality for both external and internal analytics.

It gives a clear understanding of how much revenue the installation brought in and how to count LTV. The system has a powerful API functionality that allows marketers to generate reports of any complexity and configure the attribution window for each partner separately. The tracker does not track installations from Facebook, so you will not see the full picture. Because of its price and functionality, it is only suitable for advanced app owners and big companies.

Kochava

Kochava is a service with a diverse set of tools for tracking installs and events. It is convenient to work with postbacks, implemented functionality for agencies, but there are drawbacks. The biggest disadvantage is a very complex interface. The service also lags behind its competitors in technical terms: it has a rather low speed of transmitting statistics.

Branch

Branch is not an analytics system, but a tracker. In other words, it can track what channel/traffic source brought the install, but it won’t show how the user interacts with the app. The service can be integrated with analytics systems. 

Mixpanel

Mixpanel is a very powerful tool that provides the most extensive opportunities for internal analytics. It allows you to create various event funnels, segment your audience by any criteria, and create complex events based on actions and demographic data. Mixpanel is mostly suitable for large companies and agencies, as its functionality is redundant for beginners. Also, the service is considered one of the most expensive.

The mobile analytics market is large, and it is difficult to choose the best tracker or analytics system. It all depends on many factors, starting from price and user interface and ending with the personal preferences of a marketer.

Goals. Do you want to analyze users’ behavior within the app or track where your installs come from (what channel)? In the first case, marketers should better choose services like Mixpanel or Kochava. For external analytics, Adjust, TUNE, Branch will be the most suitable. Keep in mind that some services work for both types of analytics (external and internal) – for example, Google Firebase, Flurry, AppsFlyer, and Kochava.

Price. Some services are free, and some are paid. Choose the best variant for your business. Before selecting an analytics tool, you must be fully aware of the costs associated with the analytics solutions you are evaluating – including subscriptions, growth, and hidden fees. Different analytics solutions have different cost structures, and it is important to understand them before investing. Remember that paid services have a more complex and professional interface and a bigger set of functions.

User interface. Analytics is the basis of optimization. Marketers who plan to control analytics by themselves should choose a user-friendly interface that can support different user types, and what is even more important, it should be easy to use. While visuals may not seem too important, if your dashboards feature unappealing visuals, it will harm user adoption. For example, TUNE and Mixpanel are only suitable for marketing analytics or people who are on the same wavelength with mobile analytics because of its complicated management console.

Scalability. Cloud-based analytics platforms are designed to start small and grow with your business. These pay-as-you-go plans can give early-stage businesses a competitive edge and support them when they are experiencing hyper-growth. You can get timely data access and insights to make fast decisions with analytics that scale according to your business needs.

Let’s summarize. It’s important not only to create a cool app and customize ads but also to monitor how the app functions, how users interact with it, and how well it fits with the creator’s goals. Mobile application analytics systems help with this difficult question, and we hope we helped you decide the best fitting one for you.