App Tracking and SDK Integration


Facilitating app discovery is the biggest challenge with driving app downloads. Once you launch your mobile app, you cannot sit back assuming downloads will follow. Paid app marketing is essential to drive up your app download numbers. Regardless of whether your app marketing strategy focuses on organic downloads, paid downloads, aggregator app stores, native app stores, etc., you cannot afford to not include analytics as part of your app marketing strategy to track downloads and post-install user behaviour. With that said, your next challenge is to identify a suitable analytics application from a plethora of app analytics tools. Depending on whether you are a developer, publisher, or app marketer your app tracking objective might vary. Therefore, while drawing up a comparison of various analytics tools, it is important to lay down the app tracking objective.

As an app marketer, you might promote your app via multiple ad networks. In order to track downloads, each publisher will recommend using their own SDK. So if your media plan contains 10 ad networks via whom you’d like to promote your ads, you will end up integrating your app with 10 different SDKs. This has many disadvantages the least of which being that it adds to the clutter with multiple lines of code. Not to mention, tracking becomes cumbersome with marketers having to look at multiple dashboards. Further, the SDK size adds up to the overall size of your app. Note that the app size has a bearing on the app downloads and that the heavier an app, the lower the probability of users downloading it given its size. Keep in mind, your app is competing for space among some of the world’s leading apps to reside in the user’s phone.

You can circumvent the requirement for multiple-SDK integration by installing a single piece of code from one of the leading mobile app tracking service providers. Note that some analytics applications do not need SDK integration to track downloads via native app stores such as the Google Play Store and iTunes provided there is direct integration with the native app store. Google AdWords integrates Android app performance within its dashboard.

Mobile app tracking tools offer several advantages besides eliminating the need to integrate multiple ad network SDKs. Some of the key benefits of leading app tracking tools are that they allow you to:

  1. Measure Ad campaign effectiveness
  2. Tag Events you would like to track in your app
  3. Launch app re-engagement ads
  4. Track Network effectiveness
  5. Measure app usage behaviour
  6. Monetize your App
  7. Cross Promote
  8. Optimize Conversions
  9. Segment

Now that we have discussed some key advantages of having an app tracking tool as part of your app promotional strategy, let us look at some of the key tracking capabilities offered by leading mobile app analytics solutions:

  1. App Install Analytics: Provides in-depth app download
  2. In-App Event Tracking: Track user actions within your app. Define and track events – menu taps, completed game levels, pageviews or any other metric you deem valuable
  3. Post Download Tracking: Identify user interaction with your app post download. The time taken from installation to the first time the app is opened, etc.
  4. Real-time analytics:See impressions, clicks, installations, in-app purchases – all in real time
  5. Attribution Analytics: Identify networks that get you the most downloads and optimize accordingly
  6. Measure Behaviour: Understanding how your app users spend their time within your app is paramount to being successful with your app whatever your app marketing objective could be – maximizing in-app purchases, increasing pageviews, or driving up app usage and retention
  7. User Path Analysis: With User path analysis, identify hiccups in user journey and optimize user experience
  8. Segmentation: Segment aggressively to understand how user groups behave differently from the aggregate whole. How does user behaviour of people in the 25 – 35 age bracket, using iOS smartphone, from Texas vary from the rest of your user base? Also, compare user behaviour of purchasers versus the rest of the pack
  9. Custom Segments: Besides the built-in segmentation available via the basic implementation, you can custom segment your users by defining a set of criteria. Examples of custom segments could include heavy, regular or infrequent users, users within a certain age group, etc.
  10. User Acquisition Analytics: This is a measure of the quality of acquired users based on parameters such as in-app engagement, app usage, demographic and transaction size
  11. Conversion Optimization: Track the path to conversion by creating funnels for a series of steps you expect your users would follow to complete a conversion
  12. Retention Analytics: Identify users from which of your campaigns and/or channels retain your app the most. Track uninstall rates across ad networks, campaigns, and channels
  13. Crash Analytics: With crash analytics you will be able to identify issues quickly and get inputs for your investigation and resolution process
  14. Time lag to Conversion: Identify the time it takes for an in-app ad to be viewed to the time a user actually makes a purchase or takes any action that you consider to be a conversion action
  15. Cohort Analysis: Define cohorts, gauge performance and measure engagement

Now that I have shared an overview of mobile app analytics functionalities, let us discuss a few leading app analytics tools available in the market.

MixPanel: a leading provider of advanced mobile analytics. Given the clutter in the app market, app marketers seek more than mere data from analytics applications. They seek answers to questions – questions that determine the direction of marketing campaigns. For instance, which Google AdWords campaign resulted in the maximum transactions in dollar terms? App acquisition from which channel resulted in the maximum retention? And so forth. MixPanel provides incisive insights into your app campaign performance.

HasOffers: one of the leading app attribution analytics providers. HasOffers caters to your app attribution and analytics requirements with some industry leading features that app marketers can benefit from tremendously.

Flurry: Depending on whether you are an app marketer, app developer, or publisher, tracking your app usage, in-app events and app downloads could be of importance to you. Flurry is an industry leading mobile app analytics application that is trusted by hundreds of thousands of app marketers for their tracking and analytics requirements. With Flurry you can measure user behaviour, identify app crashes, understand user navigation paths and leverage advanced implementation features such as custom segmentation to gain deep insights into your app user behaviour.

AppsFlyer: Another leading mobile app tracking and analytics application. It lets you measure all your app marketing activities on a single dashboard. With AppsFlyer you can identify what attracts new users to your app, track user funnel, determine ROI per media source and add new traffic sources without having to update SDKs.

Ad-X: A leading enterprise grade mobile app analytics tool. Ad-X eliminates the need to install separate SDKs for each publisher network you work with. Thereby considerably reducing your application size. From a reporting standpoint, Ad-X provides in-depth reporting such as “Geo-Targeting Quality” – to track the percentage of clicks correctly targeted from geographies specified, “Click Quality” – to check the targeting of devices across selected networks, “Network Effectiveness” – to compare clicks/downloads and conversion rates across chosen networks.

While I have listed down some of the leading mobile app analytics players here, there are many other widely used app analytics tools in the market. In an app market that continues to swell with more and more differentiated apps, taking an analytics and data driven approach to promote your app is essential to lift your performance numbers. Hope you found this post useful. Would love to hear your thoughts. Have you used mobile app analytics for any of your campaigns? What has your experience been? Are there app analytics best-practices you’d like to share? Please take a moment to leave a line in the comments section below.



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