Mobile App Analytics – How to Measure Success in 2017

Apps represent a great opportunity for the modern business.  Whether your company is looking to increase sales, improve your service or simply to increase brand exposure, apps are an excellent option. But, how should you measure success Here, we’re going to take a look at everything you need to know about mobile app analytics.


We’ll go into more detail during the final section of this guide, but right now you should be looking to measure five different areas.

  • Acquisition – where are your customers coming from?
  • Activation – are they actually using the app? (You might be surprised how many apps are never used)
  • Retention – are your customers continuing to use the app over time.
  • Referrals – Are they enjoying the app and referring other customers?
  • Revenue – How much money are you making?

If you consistently focus on these key areas, you should be able to achieve success as part of your marketing plan.

In a minute, we’ll take a look at the key tools you can use to analyse your results.  However, there are a few points worth bearing in mind in addition to the above measurements:

  • It’s worth starting your analytics BEFORE you actually publish the app. Firstly, it’ll help you establish that all your data is working and secondly, you can try it out with some beta testers and get early feedback.
  • Different tools work best for different apps. Your market will decide which of the tools are most useful. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see which approaches work best for you.
  • The same goes for what you pay most attention to. If your app is there for brand exposure, you don’t need to worry about measuring revenue.  Only measure which KPIs are important.
  • Have a plan for your app. You should always ensure that your app will continue to work effectively and deliver value even if your businesses’ situation change.


Ok, with those points in mind, let’s get cracking with the key analytics tools:

(And, as we noted above, remember to bear in mind that certain tools will suit your business more than others.)

Google’s Mobile Analytics

Unsurprisingly, Google’s own software is first on the list.  More surprisingly, Google was actually late on the scene, only releasing this software in 2012.

Google’s Mobile Analytics work in a similar manner to the classic analytics software and it is compatible with AdMob, which is very beneficial when it comes to analysing paid campaigns.

Apple’s Analytics Platform

If you’re planning to market to iOS – and there are several reasons why you should – Apple’s analytics platform is a definite must.

There are a number of useful features contained within the software, including the ability to filter by factors like which version of iOS the users are in, sources (which helps to measure where your customers are coming from) and – most importantly – retention: how long your app users are sticking around after the initial download.

Whilst Apple’s tool isn’t the most advanced on the list, it’s definitely worth having simply because the data comes straight from the publisher!

mobile app analytics

Facebook Analytics for Apps

The last of three major platforms to boast their own analytics, Facebook’s platform is effective in measuring multiple KPIs, including events, funnels, cohorts, segments and integrations.

You’ve got the option of trying the platform out using a ‘demo’ account, which will allow you to give the software a go.

Facebook’s platform is quite basic – especially when compared to some of the others on this list – but if you’re looking for all the basic metrics in one easy-to-use piece of software, it’s definitely worth looking at.


You’ll find this tool within the Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite, and it’s an absolute winner.

Though setting up analytics can initially be a bit fiddly, Flurry makes up for it once you’re up and running, effectively measuring pretty much any KPI you can imagine.

You can analyze Usage (users, sessions, frequency, retention), Audience (demographics, personas), Tech factors such as devices, carriers, firmware versions and errors. Whatever info you need, flurry will find it.

The ability to set up your own dashboard – so you can easily access the information you need – is also really useful.

And the biggest benefit of all is that Flurry’s actually free.


So you’ve got your analytics software installed, and you’re ready to start analysing the data.

But there’s LOADS of it.

Here, we’ll go into more depth on what you should be analyzing and why.

Your users

If your app doesn’t benefit users, you’ll lose them.  And if you lose them, prepare to be sent to the great app graveyard in the sky.

Luckily, with the right tools, you can REALLY dig into those people who’re actually using your app day in and day out:

  • What demographic to they belong to?
  • Which demographics are ignoring you?
  • How long are people using your app for, on average?
  • Are they using it on smartphones or tablets?
  • How do they use it – in which order to they scroll through?

The more engagement stats you’ve got, the better chance you have of knowing where you’re succeeding – allowing you to double-down – and where you’re failing.

You’ll be able to further improve your strengths and deal with any issues.

Lifetime Value (LTV)

This is a biggie for ANY marketing campaign.

LTV is simply the total average value each customer will bring you.

If each average user will provide you with twenty dollars income each year, then you know that you can afford to spend ten dollars to obtain each customer.

If they cost more than twenty dollars to obtain, you’ve got a problem.

It’s important to calculate LTV as relates to demographics and other cohorts, as you will likely find that some demographics offer superior LTV.  If that’s the case, you’ll know to target them.

(If you’d like to know more about calculating LTV, check out this great guide from Kissmetrics.)

mobile app analytics

Analytics are the key to retaining customers

Retention Rate

Apps are more beneficial if they offer long-term value.   Sure, some apps blow up and make tons of money in a week, but in an ideal world you want your app to continue to benefit you for years to come.

As a result, attention is vital.

Retention is one of the main problems in app marketing, with more than half of app users stopping use within three months.

The other reason retention’s so important? Because the app stores themselves know that it matters. If you have great retention rates, app stores will recognize you’ve created a quality product and reward you with more exposure.

Keep a close eye on your retention rates.

Active users

This is similar to retention rate, in that it’ll allow you to see just how popular your app is.

It’s all very well creating an app that sells, but if no-one uses it you won’t profit.

Keep track of both your monthly active users (MAU) and your daily active users (DAU).   These are your true fans, and you should analyse them carefully.

If you can find discernible patterns in your most loyal customers – age, sex, income level, etc – you’ll be able to target others in the same demographic and improve your app’s performance.

App launch and load time

This isn’t strictly relevant to the users themselves, but boy is it relevant to the app stores selling your software!

Load times are a VERY important performance metric in today’s impatient world.  If your app is slow to load, you need to give it a spring clean.  If you don’t, you’ll lose customers to other – faster – apps.

User Acquisition

So much of analytics is actually common sense, and user acquisition is a great example.

You need to keep track of where your loyal users are coming from.  There’s no guarantee of a firm link, but if you do find one – your customers taken from Facebook ads are sticking around more than those from other channels, for example – you can then double-down on that advertising platform.

User acquisition is the key to reaching your target audience.

User experience and happiness

Last but absolutely not least – you need to make sure users are loving your work.

Reviews are a key part of measuring this, of course, but by keeping an eye on your data you can make changes and work to improve your app BEFORE any bad reviews come in.

Good reviews, meanwhile, are a great way of checking referrals – the more good reviews you have, the more likely other users are to give your app a try.

Keep an eye on how long users are spending on your app, whether they’re spending time on specific pages, whether they’re keeping in touch with you to offer feedback and so on.

Needless to say, you should ALWAYS act on any negative feedback you receive.


Mobile app analytics is a complicated process with a very steep learning curve.  Give Iconic Solutions a call today, and we can take care of everything for you, leaving you to relax and enjoy the benefits.

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