In 2019, most companies are considering app development or have already developed an app to increase engagement and cater to the multichannel user. It's a craze that continues to escalate, transitioning from a competitive choice to a market imperative. Unfortunately, the path to app development isn't always smooth sailing. Poor performance, non-existent ROI's and many other issues are a stark reality for roadmaps without a solid business case.
For many, the challenge is incremental development, having to make changes as user feedback filters in and adjusting the back-end functionalities accordingly. Deciding when and how to make these changes can also be disorienting, especially for companies without an in-house development team.
The first order of business? Make data your best friend. Data is the rocket fuel behind every successful app development project. Feedback is the most powerful tool in your arsenal when it comes to trying to get your app to perform better.
So, with that in mind, here are some of the most important tips and tricks for effectively interpreting and leveraging your app data.
User engagement and retention is something even the most sophisticated apps struggle with. Pumping thousands (sometimes millions) into the development and promotion demands a powerful influx of returns.
Data is the ultimate saving grace in this scenario, delivering rich insights regarding consumer behavior and user journey. Data can tell you the why's and how's of why your app isn't performing as well as it should, contextualizing the issues and giving you a jumping off point for further evolution.
Here are three important metrics you're probably underutilizing:
Where your downloads are coming from (iOS vs. Android) – geographically and from which devices
What element of the app makes users drop off
What parts of the app perform are receiving positive engagement
Once you have nailed down the right data, the next step is determining how the data can be applied. Understanding the implications of these elements allows you to make changes. Even small adjustments can improve your long-term user retention significantly.
So, you have collected a good stream of data from your app. You know where your customers are coming from and what they like or dislike about your app. Now all you have to do is use that data and make changes for the better. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
The fact is that there a number of great ways you can use this data in order to make appropriate changes. They can include:
Some user drop off's may be down to speed. Implement lazy load data to ensure that you only load data as it is needed. Don't make your user wait.
Clickable elements can be difficult if too close together. Use data to determine aspects of the app which may be experiencing this problem and resize or move elements to suit better clicks.
Cut features that aren't useful or ones your user doesn't engage with. This can improve user experience and limit app bloat.
Resize or compress images to remove load speed.
Optimize your app store profile. Make sure there are good keywords, create a good description and localize the app listing (if applicable).
Usually, you can attribute poor performance to site speed and when site speed is down, user engagement suffers. Sometimes the problem runs deeper – a confusing sitemap, a misplaced button, irrelevant content. As long as you can pinpoint the pages that aren't performing, you can infer where the issue may lie. Determining where your data is actionable is the most difficult part.
It may not be numbers or flashy pie charts, but the reviews your users leave can be some of your most valuable data. Reviews clearly articulate the problem and usually offer a solution. Where quantitative data can be abstract, reviews keep things very literal.
The one issue with user reviews is that they tend to be positively rated. Your proportion of 4 or 5-star reviews will often far outweigh 1 or 2-star reviews. But, it's these less happy reviews that are far and few between that you need to take advantage of the most. It's also important to know where your reviews are coming from, as this can also impact the tone and usefulness of the review data. Independent, third-party, review sites can often have better review data as they are likely to be more truthful.
An important thing to remember is that written reviews express the why and how your user disliked the app. You do not simply have to interpret data via clicks, numbers or other such metrics. Instead, you can actually work on and improve on verbal complaints, meaning there is no guesswork or interpretation needed.
Tracking your app data doesn't have to be complicated. There are lots of different ways to track your data, both free and paid. Here are a few options which are free and easy to use, with a pretty good user interface (even for those who aren't that confident when it comes to data).
Google Analytics for Mobile Apps is a great Android and iOS tracking software. It's like Google Analytics for your website, so it has quite a lot of capabilities.
Flurry is also pretty comprehensive, giving you a variety of user paths
Countly has the best user interface offering open source software so you can change and track your app in a self-hosted environment.
These are probably some of the simplest options on the market. But, feel free to explore other options as there are also plenty of paid options available. Whatever platform you decide to move forward with, make sure you undergo the appropriate training. Data can help you to improve, push better user retention and ultimately help improve your ROI when it comes to the whole app development process. So, start tracking your mobile app data today and put it to work. You won't regret it!
Zack Halliwell is a freelance writer in the business and marketing niche, giving advice on anything from the perfect branding to the latest tech releases and app development London news. When not writing he can be found on long mountain walks with his dog, Batman.
Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.
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