Analytics are all about the visibility. Without proper data, you won’t know how your users interact with your app and if they are happy or not. You need analytics to get answers to basic questions like understanding how many daily active users you have and more complex ones, like customer acquisition cost and lifetime value. In an early stage, analytics can make or break the business because they give you the information you need to make the next step.
Your website is your number one tool to test customer demand. You don’t have to wait until the public launch to start running marketing experiments. Quite the contrary — you need to start doing it as early as possible by creating a pre-launch landing page and running ads to drive traffic. By doing this, you will know if your product is needed and wanted by the customers. The better is the clickthrough rate (you will know CTR from your ads analytics) the cheaper it will be to acquire leads. However, to understand how they react to your offer you need to set up website analytics.
There are plenty of tools out there that will allow you to see much information about your visitors, and one of the most popular ones is Google Analytics. While it is free, it provides much functionality and will give you insights about where your visitors are coming from, how much time they spend on your website and how they move along the conversion funnel.
The primary goal for your website is to convert your visitors into paying customers. To do that you will have to move your customers along the funnel — from a landing page visitor to someone who got interested in your offer, read the details page and finally entered their email.
To track how well you are doing the job you can set up session tracking for specific pages that are critical in the funnel — in this case it would be offer landing page and a page with a signup form. Session tracking will allow you to see heat maps of what attracts users on a page and record user activity. By experimenting with your landing page content, you’ll be able to see which changes improve the conversion rate.
For example, on the heatmap, you might see that no one ever scrolls the page down where your signup button is. You can then move the button up above the fold and see an immediate increase of the number of people moving to the next step.
While website analytics allow you to track user actions on the website, in-app event analytics will enable you to see that people do when they are using your app. After all, you spent time and money building it so you should have an understanding of how well the app performs. There are several critical categories of metrics you need to track to get a clear picture — user engagement, user satisfaction, user acquisition, and app performance.
Tracking user engagement will allow you to see how many users install your app and how many of them use it on a daily or monthly basis. You can also track time of average session and session intervals to see how engaged the users are. Finally, by monitoring the churn rate, you will know how many users stop using the app.
User satisfaction is harder to track because you need qualitative information. If your users download the app via the App Store, you can track your app rating and reviews there to understand how happy the users are. Another way to get user opinion is in-app feedback. It’s a great way to learn what your users think, but most of the times it is limited to feedback from users who are already using your app actively.
Acquisition metrics somewhat resemble the ones you need to track on your website. For example, app acquisition metric will allow you to learn how you acquire users for your app. You need to track acquisition within the app separately because users will install the app without visiting the website — if they install it directly from the App Store or if they get a deep link sent by another user. Same as for the website, you need to track how users move along the funnel (from free to paid users on various plans) by tracking the performance of conversion screens.
App performance metrics are the ones that allow you to track the health of your app. These include the number of crashes, errors and their types, number of requests sent to the server and average response time. Proper app metrics will allow you to spot problems in user experience long before your users will report them to you, raising overall customer satisfaction.
Website and in-app analytics are tracking even-based metrics — e.g., counting number of app installs or amount of times user click a button to sign up for a paid plan. However, there’s another set of analytics tools that are based on the data you have within the app. You can run a search query to get insights into the information you have.
For example, if you are building an app to help store owners track their inventory you can learn about the types of goods they add to the system and adjust your marketing campaign accordingly. Alternatively, you can analyze the locations of your user’s stores and find out that they all are in a similar area, to find similar areas to place outdoor ads. Data analytics are quite simple to do — database queries and reports can be created and ran by the developers who are building the app for you.
Setting up analytics will require plenty of investment and thought. Think about what’s the most important set of metrics you want to track and start implementing those, gradually adding more and more over time. There’s no point to monitor everything at once as typically you should focus on monitoring and improving one metric at a time. Are you doing a closed beta test? Track how many crashes and backend errors there are, app load time and response times. Running a marketing campaign? Track conversion rates and customer acquisition costs, as well as churn rate and average session time.
Originally published at The Startup: Build something awesome