App analytics advice from Appsee’s CMO, Yanay (John) Sela.
Dear Product Managers, Mobile Marketers & Appreneurs,
How you holdin’ up these days? It’s a rough mobile world out there. App competition is proliferating like never before, users’ standards have reached new heights, and the mobile app user experience - well let’s just say if you don’t master it and monitor it effectively, your app is likely to fall short.
Thankfully with the rise of mobile apps, comes the logical rise of app analytics systems. These systems are meant to gather large amounts of valuable data on your app and ultimately make your life easier.
“Sigh,” if only that was always the case. Does it ever feel like they are doing the opposite?
You probably have felt one of the following sentiments when it comes to using an analytics system:
“It seems like there’s more data that I should be gathering but I don’t even know where to start…”
“My analytics system claims to measure every metric on the face of the planet, but I worry a lot of its data is inaccurate…”
“Only a data analyst will be able to get the best insights from the analytics tool…”
“I have a lot of quantitative insights on my app but zilch when it comes to qualitative…”
Legitimate feelings with a powerful commonality- a fear of lacking and understanding the most important data on your app, or what I like to call “Data FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out).
There are a few reasons why this is happening:
- A lot of app analytics focus on simply surfacing the data yet not conveying it in a digestible manner.
- There are too many systems out there claiming that they have everything you need.
- You do not have an MA or BA in statistics (which is totally fine).
Now I don’t mean to add extra stress to your plate, that’s the last thing you need. Rather I want to empathize with your ‘Data FOMO’.
Don’t fret - there is a cure. Below I will list 5 golden, simple initiatives you can take to rid yourself of your Data FOMO and improve your ability to gather actionable insights on your app.
1. Select distinct, single tools to cover specific facets of your app
Basically, don’t get trapped by the tools that claim to be “one stop shops”. Even though a lot of analytics solutions have stabilized around several recognized and essential categories (attribution, marketing, monetization, UX), there are still some tools that are too stretched in terms of their focus. Their craving to dominate every need of apps is actually what contributes to their essential insufficiency. Imagine it’s lunch time and you are wanting to pick up some sushi. You have never gotten sushi near your office before. There is a cafeteria that serves pizza and sushi, and there is a separate restaurant that serves just sushi. Where would you eat? The sushi restaurant, dedicated solely to making sushi, is undoubtedly the better choice (unless you prefer an essence of tomato sauce on your sushi, be my guest). My point is, once a solution tries to specialize in too many subjects it is highly likely that quality and/or efficiency will be sacrificed in some manner. When it comes to the success of your app in today’s ultra-competitive market, being “selective” is the way to go.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of user friendliness and intuitiveness
I am going to be extra candid with you regarding this point. You gotta put your pride to the side when it comes to these two factors. Don’t pretend that you don’t want a tool that is as user friendly and intuitive as possible. And don’t be afraid to voice it either. I know you’ve got expectations to live up to, competitiveness at work, whatever, but if you find your app analytics system extremely difficult to use and glean insights from, then that’s not your problem - it is actually the system’s problem. I have personally struggled to navigate and examine marketing data tools that do not possess these qualities. What did I do when I encountered inadequate tools? Well, I obviously didn’t stay with them. At the end of the day your data-driven observations and discoveries are what will fortify your app and make it more successful. Don’t limit yourself by sticking with a tool that is difficult to navigate and understand. Period.
3. It’s totally O.K. to prefer visual data
Humans are visual beings. We process images 60,000 times faster than text. I get that, you get that - let’s embrace that. All the numbers in the world will not help you understand what’s going on in your app if it’s not served in a clear, clean and digestible manner. In order to truly understand the “whys” behind all the numbers and understand your users, you need a visualization of what’s going on inside your app.
Let’s say someone told you about an amazing trip that they took to see the Northern Lights. This act of telling you about their experience is like traditional, quantitative app analytics. Now say someone actually showed you pictures and videos of their special trip - you are now getting visuals of their adventure and can understand their experience at a much higher level. This is the essence of qualitative, UX app analytics- no b.s. just straightforward, invaluable answers on your app.
4. Become buddies with your customer success reps
Don’t be afraid to turn to others for help. When I say “others”, I mean your app analytics’ customer success rep(s). They live and breathe your app analytics tool and know all of its ins and outs. Even if the analytics system is super intuitive and user-friendly, your customer success reps can still illuminate points of optimization and troubleshooting for your app that you probably have missed. A good customer success rep will also reach out to you proactively if they notice anything unique/irregular within your account. Don’t discount this. They can also help you establish the most streamlined process in terms of assessing the data itself. Create a cooperative relationship, pick their brains for insights, acknowledge their efforts, and who knows you just might become football pals! Ultimately, if you really want to call yourself “data-driven” you will need to establish a relationship with your customer success rep.
5. Pick tools that feed you information instead of requiring you to ask the questions
In a recent report by VentureBeat, app developers revealed what they actually want from their app analytics systems but feel they can’t get. One of the most notable unsatisfied needs was that developers don’t want an analytics system to just give them the metrics- they want it to tell them what the metrics actually mean. Now I’ve heard this sentiment loud and clear from not only app developers but all mobile app professionals. From meetups to conferences from one end of the globe to the other, the need is clear and far-reaching. This stems from traditional analytics systems, which supply mobile teams with masses of passive, quantitative data, yet leave them with a lot of questions. Quantitative data is of course important, but oftentimes involves A LOT of guesswork and time.
Conversely, UX app analytics like Appsee, empowers app teams to go a step beyond passive data and gain qualitative, actionable insights. No more mysteries, just answers. Take for example Appsee’s touch heatmaps and user recordings. These unique, robust tools allow you to actually assess user behaviors, conversion funnels, UI updates, new features and so much more, as if you are glancing over your app user’s shoulders.
Let’s say a specific user pathway from an “account creation” screen to your app’s shop has an extremely high quit rate. Of course you ask “why is that”? Traditional app analytics aren’t going to break things down for you in a clear-cut manner. You are going to have to do a lot of sifting through data until you hopefully, yes hopefully, get the answers you are looking for. At the end of the day, if you want to understand what’s going on inside your app, you need a system that provides qualitative data.
Mobile app professionals are clearly feeling like they are missing out on some valuable answers on their app. Don’t be like the developers in the noted research and instead capitalize on the power of qualitative UX app analytics.
So there you have it. No sugar coating- you’re curable, but it’s going to take some gusto and initiative on your part.
Remember, make sure you have a specialized system that is actually navigable and provides qualitative, visual insights (I also expect you to get in touch with your customer success rep after this).
At the end of the day you are working to make your mobile app as successful as it can possibly be, don’t settle for just anything when it comes to your analytics.
Have something to add? Would love to hear some analytics tales. Comment below.
Wishing you the best of luck,
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This post was originally featured on Appsee’s Product Mavens blog.