App Promo tip about statistics

App Promo tip #10: Monitor & analyse app data to gauge your marketing progress

In this last weekly app promotion tip together with our friends at App Promo, we conclude the series with a focus on analytics and monitoring. Once you’ve set your marketing plan in motion, how do you know if your efforts to promote your app are paying off? To gauge your results, the common metrics for mobile apps are usually downloads or activity, and there a number of ways to collect this data. In this article, we help you to understand what specific data you can measure and how to analyse this data to better understand your user.

Identify data that matters the most
When it comes to marketing efforts, it’s the results that matter most. For apps, the most common metrics are usually either downloads or activity. Although results are gathered at the end of a marketing campaign, analytics and monitoring be considered right at the start of any effort. Metrics are intrinsically tied to the goals and objectives of the campaign. During the planning phase of your marketing effort where you not only identify these goals, you should identify how you will measure each objective, so that you can determine if these goals are successful.

Once you understand what data you need to collect, you will need to pinpoint what methods or resources you will need to gather that information. Understanding the methodology you need influences the decisions you make in implementing your marketing efforts – which is why it is important to do this all upfront.

When the campaign is underway, don’t wait until the end to start to look at the data. Monitor your results throughout your efforts to see what is working and what is not and make the necessary adjustments. Just be sure that you give your choices enough time to culminate before changing them up again.

At either the end of your campaign or at particular milestones in your ongoing marketing, put all the pieces of information together to gauge the full impact of your efforts. Identify and celebrate your successes but don’t be afraid of points of failure – these provide valuable learning experiences to take into your next attempts.

What to measure?
The short answer is to this question is everything possible, but here are some typical metrics to collect and analyse in your marketing efforts.

  • Product: Downloads, unique users, page views, session length, time of use.
  • Pricing: Purchases, in-app purchases.
  • App store marketing: ratings & reviews.
  • Social media: Fans, followers, active users, post views & impressions, retweets, demographics.
  • Paid media: impressions, clicks, click-through-rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), social impressions.
  • Search engine marketing: Important keywords.
  • Contests: Participants, page views, session length.
  • Press & blogger outreach: media deliveries, online pickup, positive/negative sentiment.
  • Community & networking: thread/discussion activity.

Analyse your app downloads
When it comes to apps, the first metric that comes to mind is downloads. For example, when looking at your downloads on Google Play, consider more than just the total number. Look at what your peak times are for downloading to help determine key time slots for future marketing for your users. All app stores provide geographic information that should be taken advantage of. For example, Google Analytics provides reporting that can show time of sites by country, so you can break out your downloads by country and determine your geographic hot spots.

If your product has both a paid version and a free trial or “lite” version, analysing your downloads for both during the campaign will help you assess your pricing model. Are those that are downloading your lite version converting to paid? If not, look to either the process to upgrade or the price point. To gauge the full impact of your efforts on downloads, collect and compare download data before, during, and after the campaign period. Creating a baseline for downloads allows you to quickly identify if your efforts are producing growth.

Look at activity to understand your true user
Downloads are a good stat to focus on in terms of interest in your app. But if your goal is to understand the use of your app, you should include activity as a core metric in your monitoring. You can view Active Users in Google Play but we suggest that developers install Flurry or similar usage analytics to help log events which will illustrate exactly where in the app users are spending most of their time, for example.  There are two main places to gather information on usage of your app. The first is in the app store via the reviews and ratings attributed to your app. Keep an eye on these as you continue your marketing. Are you increasing the number of reviews and ratings? Have these improved with your marketing efforts? What are your users telling you during this time? As ratings and reviews are being calculated along with downloads to help position applications in storefront charts and features, it’s definitely something you will want to include as part of your marketing goals.

The second place to collect data on user activity is within your app itself, if you’ve already planned ahead to include statistics to do so. Examples of user activity data include unique visitors, new visitors, time spent, page views, time spent by page, user paths, and exit points. Implementing an analytics package when developing your app goes a long way in helping understand the success of your app. Take a look at the activity within your app during your marketing. Do you see spikes in activity that correlate to your campaign elements? How do these compare to the increase you may be seeing in downloads? Are new users staying and using your app or downloading it and leaving it behind? What areas are they most interested in?

By analysing user activity – you will get a better sense of the longer term impacts of your marketing efforts. These metrics give insight to your users, rather than those that are simply interested in your product, perhaps because of compelling positioning in your marketing campaign (short-term impact of marketing).

Analyse PR & online buzz
A core part of any marketing campaign is to get the word out. Whether this is through a formal press release over the wire or through a more personal outreach to bloggers and online publications, you should understand how successful your PR efforts have been. If you are using a PR distribution system to send out a press release, some of these metrics are easily available via the reports they provide. For example, PR companies like Vocus and PRWeb will distribute the release via online wire and will provide media deliveries, online pick-up, views and referral traffic. Look especially to both the number of online pickup achieved through their network and the types of sites that ran your release. If you are reaching out to press and bloggers through an email system, look to your open rate to gauge interest and then search online using keywords from your release to understand who ran your story.

Without investing in tools or systems that are devised to do so, the best way to gauge online buzz is through good ol’ fashion search engines. The best way to do this is through Google Alerts. Search for your app name or other keywords during your campaign and make note of the sites that mention your product. Another great way to track reader usage is through URL tracking sites like the use of bit.ly. By converting your download page link, for example, into a bit.ly URL you will gain a better understanding of the traffic pushed to download your app from referring sources.

Of course, look to your downloads and usage during this time to gauge impact of the posts achieved, and see if they result in achieving your overall campaign goals. This won’t be a one-to-one correlation but you will be able to infer spikes of download or activity during peak periods of online buzz, especially if this is isolated from other marketing campaign elements.

Understand the data from paid media
Of all of the marketing resources you utilise, paid media comes with the most amounts of readily available, real-time data. When running mobile, online, or search ads, it’s best to run a split-test. Run a couple of versions of your ad at the same time and then look to the analytics provided to decide what is working and what needs to be stopped or changed. Monitoring this continually through your campaign will not only improve the active campaign’s overall results, but it will also teach you what to continue in future marketing efforts.

Whether it’s during or at the end of the campaign, instead of looking at the impressions made during marketing (unless your goal is pure brand awareness), focus on the connections or clicks made during the campaign. This is where the click-through-rate (CTR) is important.

You will want to understand what a good CTR is for a campaign in order to quickly make a decision if the campaign is worth putting money into. Although these are always specific to the network and ad trafficked, industry CTR averages are available for speculation online so take a look at these conversations to help put things in perspective. Ultimately, you will want to run a few test campaigns yourself on various networks to really understand what to expect in using paid media for marketing your app.

Measure your social media activites
Like online buzz, look to your social media efforts during marketing to understand how they helped deliver results. Facebook makes this incredibly easy through the use of their Insight tool if you are a page administrator. This tool not only breaks out user activity, but also provides data by post (impressions, activity) and demographic. Like paid media, use the data in Insights to see what types of posts are working for your community and which are not. Outside of Facebook’s Insight reports, use tracking services like bit.ly to understand who is entering your community to ultimately download your app.

For other social networks, like Twitter, you will need to lean on third party metric systems to really get a sense as to how your marketing efforts are doing within these communities. However, without investing too much money on these services, look to your follower growth and perform searches to see what people are saying about your product. Again, the use of a tracking URL will help to determine referral traffic to your download page. But unlike Facebook, most other social networks are not yet well set-up to provide you with additional data (like number of reads on your tweet, etc.) so if you need this data, you will have to look for alternative analytics solutions which do exist to integrate with.

Regardless of social network, look at follower or fan growth and sustenance as a metric to indicate interest in your brand and use of any download links as proof that these communities are helping to drive downloads.

More tips from an experienced Android developer
We further consulted with an experienced mobile software developer, Nathan Mellor, owner of CritterMap Software. His app, BackCountry Navigator, has recently been in the top ten apps for Travel on Google Play, and he can attribute some of that success to the app analytics that he’s applied.

- When it comes to Analytics, there are two very powerful steps that you can take to get lots of valuable information about what makes you money. First, tag your urls according to the instructions given by Google Analytics, assigning campaign, source, medium, and/or keywords. Tag all of the links that you put out, whether in paid ad campaigns, social media, or simply a link from a review site. Second, use Goals in Google Analytics to track Conversions, which are user actions that are likely to make you money. If possible, use the eCommerce feature in analytics to assign a monetary value to particular actions. Together, these steps allow you to see which users are making money for you, and how to get more of them. Building on this, you can create more virtual pageviews to discover what features, interface changes, or content that might lead to more money.

Nathan Mellor

Nathan Mellor, owner of CritterMap Software.

Nathan Mellor, owner of CritterMap Software.

So Android developers, how do you analyse your app download data today? Do you have any questions on what metrics to focus on? Let us know in the Comments below.

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App Promo is a leading app marketing and strategy firm whose goal is to assist developers and app owners in succeeding in the business of applications. App Promo provides services geared towards increasing discovery, optimising revenue and ensuring better positioning of applications to set them up for success. 

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