Measuring your mobile app’s success

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Depending upon whom you ask, there are between 1.5 million and 2 million unique mobile apps across iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Kindle and other app platforms.  Mobile has graduated from a cool add-on to a core component in a brand’s digital experience.

Mobile has become so prevalent that younger firms often think about their product strategy in “mobile first” terms, with Web being a secondary brand touch point. Even among established brands, it’s easy to find examples where a company has more unique visitors and page views via their mobile apps than via their web site. So if you own a brand, help manage a brand, or work for an agency that shapes brands, mobile apps are a big part of your life. And if not, you’re probably trailing the competition on this front.

And while many apps come from indie developers, most come from fully formed companies that are moving to mobile from Web, from print, from brick and mortar. There are countless interesting topics about mobile:

  • The geo-based content/offer targeting that mobile enables
  • The ability to get your brand one click from users’ fingertips any time, anywhere
  • The rapidity of mobile adoption, even compared with Web
  • The importance of an app’s reputation because of app stores’ rating and review systems
  • The vanishing switching costs in the world of mobile

We can cover those in future posts (let me know if one of these topics is of particular interest), but today I wanted to talk about how brands measure success in mobile. My company, uTest, works with hundreds of brands every month to test their mobile app quality. This gives us a front-row seat to observing the range of analytics tools those firms use to measure and monitor their mobile success. 

The tools tend to fall into three distinct categories. If your mobile toolbox doesn’t include each of these three categories, you’re missing out on important user insights:

Implicit Analytics Tools – Enable you to watch what users are doing in your app
  • Flurry – The leader in this segment, Flurry has been focused squarely on mobile app analytics for years
  • Mixpanel – A strong challenger in the mobile analytics space
  • Omniture – The incumbent in the Web analytics space for many large companies
  • Google Analytics – The incumbent in the Web analytics space for many startups and SMBs
Explicit Analytics Tools – Enable brands to listen to what users are saying about your app
  • Applause – The first to focus on measuring user satisfaction and enable competitive comparison

Explicit User Feedback Tools Enable brands to receive feedback from an individual user about your app

  • GetSatisfaction – The incumbent in the website feedback world; trying to make transition to mobile
  • JIRA Mobile Connect – This tool lets you build feedback solicitation tools right into your app (iOS only)
  • Apphance – Creates the ability for mobile users to provide in-app feedback directly to the brand

[Full disclosure: a couple of these tools, Applause and Apphance, are owned and offered by uTest as part of our mobile app offerings].

A few mobile reminders for the brand owners/influencers out there:

  • Web success does not yield mobile success; different skillsets, user behaviors, goals and KPI are also important
  • Simply having a mobile app is not success; it’s time for brands to define and measure mobile success
  • Because mobile is still so young, it’s ripe for innovation in standing out from the pack
  • Put users at the center of the mobile discussion, because it’s the only way to create apps that delight
  • Like most things in marketing, listening is more important than talking.

Twitter: @matjohnston

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