The Importance of Mobile App Analytics

David Borcherding

November 6, 2023

Importance Of Mobile App Analytics

When it comes to getting the most out of your mobile app, analytics are your best friend.  

Mobile app analytics tools give you the key insights you need to connect with your users, reach your goals, and improve your app over time.  

Without mobile app analytics, you’re shooting in the dark with no data to tell you where the target is—much less if you’re actually hitting it. 

Understanding your mobile app analytics makes it possible to track your progress as you work toward your goals. You see your missteps. You discover what your users respond to. You know if the changes you make positively or negatively impact your users.  

What Are Mobile App Analytics? 

Mobile app analytics refers to the collection and analysis of user behavior data. This data can help you drive user retention, engagement, and conversion.  

Analytics are essential to mobile app development. You get actionable insights into how people use your app—what features they use, which parts they ignore, and all the other actions they take within the app.  

These insights are invaluable. Once you know how your users interact with the app, you can develop a more effective improvement plan. It helps you focus development effort (and dollars) on adding or improving popular features. And you avoid wasting time and funds pursuing features no one uses. 

Analytics also helps you keep track of your revenue targets, marketing goals, and all the other KPIs for your mobile app. This data can tell you when to tweak your strategy and tactics to accelerate your progress. 

What Are Mobile App Goals? 

Simply put, mobile app goals are what you want to get out of the app. They’re your reason for creating it in the first place. 

Mobile app goals differ depending on the type of app you have. For example, a mobile gaming app might focus on increasing revenue through in-app purchases or ads. A retail or product app’s goals might be to drive users to stores, increase brand awareness, or gain monthly subscribers. 

That said, some standard metrics are relevant to most apps. These can be divided into two categories. The first category is engagement metrics, and the second is user acquisition and monetization metrics.  

Engagement Metrics  

Engagement metrics can be broken down into three types: 

  • Active Users and Session Data 
  • Retention and Churn Rates 
  • Events 

You may have expected to see the number of installs on that list, but that’s not really a measure of engagement. That’s because too many people have “zombie apps” on their phones—apps they never use yet haven’t bothered to uninstall.  

Active Users and Session Data 

Instead of counting installs, it’s better to know how people actively use your app daily, weekly, and monthly. Active user counts are a much more accurate measure of engagement. 

Session data is also valuable, particularly session count and session length. 

A “session” occurs when a user launches your app and uses it for a particular length of time. Therefore, session data tells you how often users open your app and how long they use it.  

Session data can give you specifics such as sessions by device, time of the day, and location. By analyzing this data, you can discover trends that you can use to improve your app.  

For example, if the average user takes seven sessions before making a purchase, you can then experiment with ways to reduce that to get to a sale faster. 

Retention and Churn Rates 

Retention rate is the metric that tells you how many users return to your app.  

Churn rate is the metric that tells you how many users leave your app.  

Both the churn and retention rates measure user satisfaction. High retention rate? Users find your app useful or enjoyable. High churn? Your app doesn’t deliver what users need, or they find it difficult to use. 

Analyzing and comparing retention and churn rates helps reveal areas of improvement in your app.  

This analysis shows which marketing campaigns bring the right users to your app. Are you wasting valuable marketing dollars to attract users who leave the app after the first day? Or is your campaign bringing in quality users who keep returning to the app?   

Events 

Events are trackable actions within your app, such as ad clicks, game achievements, in-app purchases, and so on.  

By tracking and analyzing events, you gain deeper insight into your users’ activity timelines—what they’re doing and when they’re doing it.  

Most mobile app analytics tools suggest predefined events that commonly occur in most apps. You can customize that list by removing events that don’t apply to your app. Then you can add your unique events.  

Tracked events give you a wealth of data to mine, including locations where an event took place, demographic data about the user, and more. 

Monetization and User Acquisition 

Attracting new users and making money from them is difficult.  

To make these two critical aspects of mobile apps less of an effort, there are a few other metrics to analyze: ARPU, LTV, and CPA. 

ARPU and LTV 

ARPU stands for Average Revenue Per User, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: the average revenue you make from each user in a specific period.  

If you’re drawing users in through different marketing channels, make sure you know how ARPU varies from channel to channel. Mobile app analytics enables you to track ARPU by channel or source, revealing which channels deliver the best ROI.   

LTV is the slightly confusing abbreviation for LifeTime Value, the total dollar value of a single user over the entire period they use your mobile app. Looked at a slightly different way, it’s how much money users will spend in-app before they churn.  

LTVs tell you how long you need to retain users to maximize the revenue you can gain from them. Knowing your LTVs gives you the ability to optimize your app.  

CPA 

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is the dollar amount you need to spend to acquire a single new user. You can also consider it as your mobile app’s cost per install. 

CPA is calculated by dividing your ad spend by the number of new users (installs) you acquired over a defined period.  

Once you have this data, you can determine which marketing campaigns give you the most bang for your buck.  

Measure for Success 

Mobile analytics software helps you measure these critical metrics to meet your mobile app goals.  

The information you gain through regular analysis helps you better connect with your users, reach your marketing goals, and improve your app over time.  

And it ensures that every dollar you spend to develop and market your app is spent wisely.