Everyone wants to know what their app is doing, how it’s being used. You need to understand what your customers want to do with this digital window into your business. “Analytics!” is the cry given, the golden solution to everything, with promises that this is the answer to all of your unknowns.
But it’s not quite that simple. Sure, dropping any number of different analytics providers — or even making your own — into an app is the basis for getting this view, collecting the data is simple: what to do with it is the main challenge.
If you have an app with thousands of customers using it every day, the amount of statistical data generated from this can be quite staggering. Tracking every time someone taps on a button, moves a switch or types in something, builds up an enormous profile of usage that is so detailed, drilling down into it without the right advice, will make you wonder why you are doing it. Tables of numbers, pieces of text — it’s data analysis in its most raw form.
Another challenge is also what to track — it’s great that you can track everything your app does, but with such a high velocity of data, this will also result in information overload.
Finally, how do you understand what you are tracking? Nobody wants to stare at data tables and figure it out themselves — statistics gathering is only one part of it: analytics, by definition, is computational analysis of that data. You need to be able to visualise this data to even begin to understand the how, the what and eventually, the why.
Meeting these Challenges
The selection of a provider that you will rely on to gather the data can be a challenge in itself. Do you need raw data with simple analysis? How about behaviour tracking? A simple search engine search for “mobile analytics” will give you hundreds of results.
In order to help decide on this – and this can be the most difficult decision – you really do need to decide on what data you want to see. Some companies like Amplitude provide solutions that determine user behaviour in an app (why users come back to your app, for example), others like AppSee provide video-based usage of what a user does precisely. Google Analytics is really the start to understanding analytics, and ideal for getting that raw data.
Being able to draw up stories, collate feedback and actually learn what to do with your app in the future is the next resource-intensive process. You need to visualise your data, whether this is via charts, videos or other presentations. Mixpanel, Google Analytics and HockeyApp have plenty of options available to help with this.
But having the tools is one thing – having a real, human business analyst is essential to help understand the statistics.
Analytics is definitely something that app developers cannot shrug off as something to add in later – it is important to know your customers, help you understand your business and see where you can go in the future. Chelsea Apps Factory can help deliver a strategic, cross-platform, cloud-connected app to ensure that you really can accept your analytical challenge.