Optimising user experience with in-app analytics

The mobile landscape has reshaped the way people buy, sell, learn, reserve, and watch. Mobile has taken user experience to the next level and inspired consumers to become more engaged with brands. But why is it that mobile app developers are obsessed about app downloads or app revenue. While the number game is important, it is not the only thing one should be tracking. Developers need to be equally curious to learn what kind of audience uses your app and how, when, where your app is used.

In-app analytics is basically information in a nutshell about what users are actually doing inside the app and their interaction with the app. Gone are those days when the role of analytics was traditionally limited to devising marketing strategy. Today, analytics can play an instrumental role in helping developers and user-experience professionals. This is where conversion funnel, user experience, and feature optimisation comes into focus. However, the challenge with analytics is that it can very quickly become a distracting volume of text and numbers without actionable insights.

Here are few things to keep track of:

User Demographics:

  • Location
  • Gender
  • New or returning user
  • Age (Approximate)
  • Language

In-App Behavior:

  • Conversion rates
  • Drop-off and quit rates
  • Buttons and Ads clicked
  • Purchases made
  • Levels completed
  • Screens viewed
  • New users vs. returning users
  • Active users vs. inactive users

But before jumping on the bandwagon, keep an eye on the following:

Don’t make analytics an afterthought: You’re too late if you start thinking about analytics the day your app hits the app store. Rather integrate analytics right from the word “go.” There is goldmine of information that which can be analyzed during your app’s beta phase that will help you improve your app phenomenally.

Think small, aim big: Analytics can quickly turn out to be a voluminous puzzle of text and numbers. Only track what is needed for your app and audience. Decide the KPIs depending on your objective and stage you are at. Remember, only right numbers, at the right times can provide developers incredible insights. Going overboard with your requirements matrix and trying to track everything will put you on the wrong track. Start by selecting a few key drivers or trouble areas in your app and thinking how you can improve and innovate.

Ensure scalability and agility: Pick a tool that you will be to use when your app grows, gets more users, and add more countries. But don’t make it an agonizing ordeal to find tool to answer all of your questions. Try one tool, and if it fails try another one.

How to leverage the data?

Identify Bottlenecks: Analytics solutions enable developers to identify where users are spending the most time, what screens are apps abandoned, which screens have the highest quit rate, or UI problems and which call to action (CTA) fails to garner interest. This data will help you to refine the app optimization path and grow your app.

  • Number of screens seen per session
  • Technical errors, including app crashes
  • How often users return to the app
  • Session time
  • Individual app elements load time

Optimise User Experience: It is important to glean through the data and narrow down the problem. Is it related to a particular operating system, device, version, or user type? This sort of analysis enables developers to improvise and enhance user experience, as well as reduce friction to conversion. Relevant data from in-app analytics can help you decipher the awkwardness of specific features in your mobile app. For instance, once you analyze behavior of returning users compared to relatively new users, you will notice the difference. Returning users know what is most useful and visit that part of the app. It would help if you introduce those features early on to increase retention.

Prioritize Issues: Technical bugs or glitches are inevitable truth of a developer’s life and there is no running away from the fact. Data from in-app analytics can help you decode the tackiness of specific features in an app. In such cases, developers need to prioritize issues, allocate resources, and take appropriate action.

Focus and Evolve: Remember, taking action on the insights of analytics is the only way to improve app experience. It further allows developers to decide what operating systems and app features to focus on? In other words, where to get maximum return on investment. Engaged users interact with your app extensively. This provides you with insight regarding features that need improvement and functionality least used which can be done away with entirely.

In-app Analytics: Not the be-all, end-all solution

While there is no denying that analytics tools provide valuable insights to app publisher, social media can also offer hints about user sentiment about your application. Today’s savvy users are much more vocal on social media and pretty quickly point out areas of improvement. In such cases, mobile app analytics can’t function in isolation. It is important that you integrate analytics and make it a part of a larger branding activity to understand the dynamics of your mobile app in the app world.

Do you have any other tips for optimising the user experience through in-app analytics? Let us know in the comments.

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18 Dec 2014, 9:15 a.m.

Great article and it all rings true, but there's actually another level you haven't mentioned here -- visual mobile analytics. Aside from all the information you mentioned here that can be garnered from analytics, visual analytics gives you the ability to SEE what your users are doing, where the mistakes are, what is impeding good UI and UX. Appsee - www.appsee.com - does this sort of thing. They not only have heatmaps which show where users are swiping and tapping on a screen (and where they are not) but they have this amazing feature where you can watch back actual user sessions so you can, without a doubt, see what's working and where your problems are. It just takes everything you said and adds a layer of ease to it.


1 Apr 2017, 2:23 p.m.

Should at a minimum notify the user of your user data privacy policy, apprising them that none of the data gleaned from them will be shared in any way whatsoever, but only used to improve their experience. In many cases the data should be anonymized at the database level, in which they can also be notified that any data collected on them is destroyed as soon as their immediate user experience is ended. In my personal opinion there is no good reason to save personalized data that can't otherwise be done where their safety is left intact in the event of a compromised database.