Until recently, one of the great mysteries of app analytics was how many people hit your app page in the Apple App Store. However, Apple has now released
(to beta testers) [update: the module is now available to all developers.] an iTunes Connect module which reveals this much sought-after information.
Anybody who knows me, knows that I am ravenous for stats, fanatical for the data which shows the where and how, absolutely flindipidous for the intricacies of users activity. So, I took Apple up on the Beta invite and have now had a brief look at the data that I’ve always considered to be the missing link: how many people hit the app page for your apps.
This is the single bit of information that none of the “aftermarket” services can get to and it’s probably the most critical piece of information in the whole equation. But, at this late hour, does it really add much value?
There is a nice work-around which goes like this: track people you send to your app page and then track New Users of the app. If you sent someone to the App Page and then they resurface inside the App, it stands to reason — no, more than that…it’s a given — that the person hit your app page and downloaded the app. What this methodology lacks is a measurement of how much organic iTunes-store traffic downloaded the app.
There are numerous solutions on the market for viewing information about app usage. I haven’t worked with them all for that would be like playing whack-a-mole, but I have worked with a few and I thought I’d share my experiences.
Here are some of the analytics services I have used and a brief thought on what impact this new data will have on them:
Flurry (acquired by Yahoo in July 2014)
Flurry requires the integration of some code into your app. It’s pretty simple and straight-forward code and you can’t go wrong with the excellent documentation they provide. This, combined with giving them permission to access your data on the Apple site, provides some decent detail with granularity down to a single day on your app: unique users, active users (defined as having opened your app at least once in the selected timeframe), sessions, and a retention rate. The new Apple-provided data is additive to this mix and doesn’t provide much of a threat to Flurry since their main business is ads and the free analytics seems more like a way to attract paying users.
Of course, Google Analytics is the 800-pound gorilla in the analytics room. Integrating GA into an app can be relatively simple or intensely complex. The most important thing is to figure out what you want to track and stick with it. As with Flurry, the new Apple App data is additive, since Google Analytics cannot track how many people viewed your Apple app store page. The methodology referenced above (tracking marketing and then app opens for new users) is ideal for Google Analytics.
Adobe Analytics (formerly known as Omniture)
I have nothing positive to say about Adobe Analytics. It is an overly complex program, providing complicated and ambiguous reports that are often buried levels deep inside one of the most odious navigational structures I have ever seen. What Adobe Analytics has perfected is the art of entrenching themselves inextricably deep into the corporate structure of their clients. In terms of deploying it within an app, they provide an API.
These are two pure aftermarket services, which means that they rely exclusively on data derived from accessing your iTunes Connect account. They both do amazing jobs at converting the data into rich graphs. There are several key features which App Annie offers as part of their free service which require payment on App Figures. For instance, with App Figures, unless you are a paid subscriber you need to manually sync your data. App Figures also requires payment to receive the daily summary email. App Annie does both for free.
That said, a paid account with App Figures is well worth the money as it provides some excellent reports.
I’d love to hears about other people’s experiences with app-tracking. Please comment below or send me an email at mike@Human80.com.