Importance of Analytics and Attribution

Congrats—your new app is finally done! You’ve beta tested, gotten extensive feedback, and all of the finishing touches are finally implemented. Everything is polished and ready to go for your big launch. You launch the app, but all the information that you receive from Apple is total number of downloads, app reviews, in-app purchases, and number of crashes. Although the number varies based on the app, significantly less than one percent of users typically review an app. This means that you have almost no information about your users’ experience with the app so far. Say you want to increase your download count, so you run an ad campaign. All of a sudden you get a new in-app purchase! Wait a second, though. Did that purchase come from a user brought in from the ad campaign or an organic download? Are any of the users from the ad campaign even using the app? Proper analytics and user attribution systems in your app are an absolute must if you hope to learn anything about user experience, monitor changes, or analyze adverting campaigns.

Analytics are critical in any app to monitor user engagement. The first part of this is simple use metrics. How many sessions are users playing per day? What is the length of these sessions? What percentage of users are still returning to the app after 1 day, 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, etc? All of these metrics help give you a broad overview of how users are interacting with and enjoying your app. You can also funnel these numbers with demographic information to try to better understand your core/target users. Although these numbers don’t guarantee success or failure, they help paint a picture of how your app is converting users and help you understand if your app can be successful or not. The numbers are less rigid for utility apps and games vary depending on whether they are core or casual titles, but a general rule of thumb is that good retention rates for 1-, 7-, and 30-days are 40%, 20%, and 10%, respectively. Tracking these numbers allows you to get a good overall feel of how users are enjoying your app and even allows you to see if changes help improve overall on-boarding and user experience, but it’s still not enough to get a full picture of your users’ experience in your app.

Luckily, a proper analytics implementation does not stop there. Adding events can be absolutely instrumental in making sure your on-boarding process for new users is a success. With events, you are able to tell when user reach a certain point in your app. By putting events throughout your tutorial or intro, you are able to see if an outsized number of users are dropping off at a particular step in the process. This allows you to easily identify and hopefully fix problem areas for users, instead of being left guessing why users are quitting your app. How to best utilize events within your app is really a case by case basis, but they are essential to identifying where users might be struggling or getting tired of your app.

Attribution is another critical area if you plan on doing any advertising campaigns for your app. You have to know which users can be attributed to a campaign to know the actual success of a campaign. Once you identify the performance of your ad campaign users in your analytics, you are able to better target users for future campaigns and figure out if future campaigns can be cost effective or not. Without this, advertising is just a shot in the dark, and very likely, just a waste of money since you are able to learn almost nothing from the campaign.

This is really just a basic introduction to the importance of implementing effective analytics and attribution in your app. Thanks for reading, and in the future, we may get into more in depth methods of using analytics.