You’ve built an app that’s going to change the world. You’re hooked up to iTunes Connect, acquiring downloads on a national scale and things seem to be heading in the right direction for your latest venture. But, do you really know true business success without understanding iPhone app analytics?
Measuring business analytics is a must-do for any app merchant aiming to reach more users and earn more revenue — after all, users and revenue are what’s going to support you and your team as you improve on the app you spent so long building. Having an understanding of your metrics will give you a superior in-depth knowledge and richer insight into how your business operates — not to mention display clear opportunities for growth.
From customer lifetime value and average order value to customer churn and customer acquisition costs, there are certain recurring and nonrecurring payment metrics that are worthy tools to have in your app analytics arsenal. Having analytics is what separates those who make decisions simply with their gut and those who are well informed before setting the course.
With these imperative metrics in mind, we assess iTunes Connect App Analytics and ask whether Apple’s analytics platform is capable in providing you with complete insight into not only measuring your key performance indicators (KPIs) accurately but also assessing business performance. Will you be able to get by with just the iTunes App Analytics dashboard? Additionally, this article will ask whether there are any app store analytics that don’t add any value and that you can ignore.
Launched in 2008, the Apple App Store has grown to become one of the most recognizable features of owning an iOS device (iPhone,iPad, etc.) and is predicted to host over 5 million apps by 2020. In such a big market, how does the app store help your app get discovered with app analytics? The following metrics are specific to the Apple App Store, understanding them will help you optimize your app store content for conversion.
The Impressions metric will tell you how many times your app’s icon has been seen by a user who is browsing the App Store. For example, let’s say you’ve launched a new app called Tap That, a craft beer finding app for ale fans. Tap That will appear in search results and if you’re lucky Apple will showcase your app on their Featured and Top Charts app store pages. Each time Tap That icon is seen on any one of these pages, that counts as an Impression.
Knowing the number of Impressions your app generates will allow you to calculate your app click-through rate (CTR). This metric is how many users see your app and click through to view the product page or download it onto their device.
CTR will give you a clear understanding about whether your app is being “sold” to the consumer. For example, Tap That has a CTR of 2%. Why aren’t more users clicking through and downloading? Is your app copy enticing people to download or putting users off? By looking more closely at CTR you can start to build an idea of how your marketing efforts are faring on the App Store.
Product Page View
Where impressions will tell you how many times your app’s icon has been seen, product page views will tell you how many times your app’s Product Page has been viewed. Is this a useful metric to pay close attention to? Probably not. You already have an understanding of your CTR via your impressions metric, so we can leave this one out of the “must obsess over” pile.
When it comes to iPhone app analytics, does it pay to spend time and energy analyzing the sales metrics? Or are you better off focusing on other areas of your metrics analysis, such as downloads?
Measuring App Units will tell you how many first time downloads of your app have occurred over any given period. Not only is App Units a great base-level metric to understand the success of your app, you can easily divide your number of App Units by Impressions to give you a conversion rate.
Conversion rate is probably one of the most important App Store metrics to understand. Let’s say Tap That acquires 1000 Impressions per week and an App Unit figure of 25. That gives us a conversion rate is 2.5%. Ultimately, this means that 2.5% of people who see Tap That are downloading the app.
By understanding this App Store metric, Tap That can now analyze why their conversion rate is where it is and make changes to their App Store marketing strategy (ASO, Search Ads, etc.) in order to acquire a higher number of users.
First, the good news. If users are making In-app Purchases via your app, this is certainly a metric you want to pay close attention to. In-app purchases will provide valuable insight into user buying behaviour. If you’re able to segment this data into cohorts, you’ll also be able to dig deeper into user behaviour and leverage this to truly understand your ideal customer.
The bad news is that on average only 5% of users make In-app Purchases. This means that in-app purchase data is an incredibly rare, so when the opportunity to measure crops up, analyze in-app purchases like there’s no tomorrow. What happened to increase in-app purchase? Was it linked to a product update? Start asking questions and you’ll be surprised how data can assist in answering them.
In-App Purchases isn’t the metric showing the revenue amount, for that you would need to look at Sales.
The sales data from the app store analytics platform will tell you the amount of revenue generated through both app purchases and in-app purchases. Pretty straight-forward stuff. We’re not saying you shouldn’t check this figure, of course knowing how much revenue you’re bringing in is important, but don’t focus all your efforts on sales figures when there are other imperative metrics you should be analyzing. You’d also want to pair your in-app purchases sales data with your recurring revenue data, but Apple App Store does not currently supply analytics for apps with a subscription model. So you will have to find a tool like Control to support that.
The Paying Users metric is simply the amount of users that paid for your app initially or made an in-app purchase over a certain period.
It is a pretty straightforward metric that doesn’t provide much insight to help you grow your business or identify opportunities for development. Obviously, it is a metric that you would want to see grow month over month, but if you are using a recurring revenue model for your app — which you should! — then you would need to pair the subscription data with the sales data. This is the only way to get a full picture of revenue.
The App Store Analytics simply doesn’t offer all of that and leaves you with only the basic: Paying Users. For example, if you want to find the Customer Lifetime Value or Average Order Value, you’d have to do the calculation yourself. Is a paying user worth $1 or $1000? You don’t really know. It’s tricky, this metric appears important, but it really isn’t worth “stressing over” if you understand that there are more powerful metrics out there that can actually give you insight. Next!
In the end, it’s all about how your users are using your app. Are they? Running a great mobile app product is more than just getting users to download, it’s about retaining those that have converted. This is especially true if you are wanting to grow your user base and revenue. Does Apple App Store supply the metrics you need to determine whether your app is successfully engaging your users? Does it tell you whether it is solving their problems?
We all know that the best way to succeed in business is to focus on customer retention. While the installations metric will show you how many users have installed your app, the insight stops right there. For example, Tap That has been installed 10,000 times — hurray! But have any users opened the app? Made in-app purchases? Who knows?
Measuring (or even boasting — ewww…) about Installations is pure vanity. And we all know that actionable metrics beat vanity metrics every single time.
Sessions (Opt-In Only)
Remember the first time you set up your mobile device? I guess not. However, it might surprise you that during that process there was an option to “opt-in” to sending information to Apple about App Store user behavior. This information is where the App Store analytics platform pulls Session data from.
Sessions will tell you how frequently your app has been used for two seconds or longer. This is a nice little metric to gain insight into user behavior — more specifically whether users are actively using and engaging with your app — but on the whole, agonizing over Sessions shouldn’t be at the forefront of your business strategy. Some apps people will check in obsessively many times a day and other people will check in once a month, it doesn’t mean one is more valuable than another, because the former can be a free app but the latter can be a subscription-based app that is earning you recurring revenue and solving the user’s problems when they have it.
If you’d like to know how many users are engaging with and using your app, Active Devices is a metric you need to look at because it will tell you the number of devices that have used your app within a given timeframe, for example, one month. Granted that the Active Devices metric doesn’t provide us with any actionable data to improve business performance, but it does show us some vague user behavior. But what they are actually doing within the app, that’s an unknown.
Active Last 30 Days
Active last 30 days will tell you how many users have been active in that specific time frame. Handy for gloating, not useful for much else. Don’t spend too much time patting your back on this one.
Crashes is a simple App Store metric and will show you specifically the number of crashes your app had in a given timeframe. This is a metric best not to mention when pitching to investors. If your app is consistently crashing — especially after a recent product release — investigate quickly, as Crashes can hurt your retention.
Customer retention is king when it comes to business. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that the retention metric is incredibly important when analyzing your iPhone app analytics.
Put simply, Retention measures app usage over a given timeframe. For example, Tap That want to look at customer retention in Q1 and they find that 90% of users have had one active session within that quarter. Simple enough, right?
However, it’s what you do with the customer retention analytic that matters. Can you look for any emerging trends? Can you segment and look at user behavior? Are you able to gain a real understanding of which types of customers come back for more and which fall by the wayside?
The iTunes App Store is a solid platform. It serves app developers like yourself with a dashboard of basic analytics — but it is run-of-the-mill basic app analytics. It’s fine for hobbyists, but not ideal for serious business managers, running a full team of engineers, salespeople, and marketers. It’s not equipped to give you the full picture of your product and customers.
If you’re focused on growing your business and want to gain deeper insights into your performance, we recommend investing in transactional analytics. Apple is quickly becoming one of the biggest payment platforms in the world, and there is a lot of data we can get from how an iTunes user pays.
Control extracts the raw data and refines it into valuable insights. You are no longer a beginner, you are ready to take the next steps. Have a look at the Control dashboard and start seeing the data that iTunes doesn’t supply.