What are app analytics?

App analytics monitors the performance of mobile, desktop, and other device applications. Companies use app analytics software to quickly make better-informed and more data-driven decisions. The infusion of new insights allows companies to improve their product, marketing, and overall profitability. With app analytics, companies unlock growth opportunities whereas without them, they run great risks.

Why do companies use app analytics?

Companies of all sizes use app analytics to see how users interact with their products. Analytics are necessary because, by default, most applications aren’t built with the ability to self-evaluate and conduct their own reporting. They may generate tremendous amounts of data but most don’t collect it or organize it in a way that companies can make use of.

App analytics excels at capturing and visualizing this data. Analytics also captures data from multiple sources which is critical because most apps don’t exist in just one place. Their code and data are often scattered across operating systems, devices, networks, and servers. Companies that want a centralized dashboard to view all their app data rely on app analytics as their single source of truth.


By 2022, more than 50% of all enterprise mobile apps will use mobile analytics tools to improve the user experience. – Gartner

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Why are app analytics important?

The market for apps is incredibly saturated and businesses count on app analytics to give them a competitive edge. According to Statista, there were more than 6.5 million applications in the leading app stores as of March 2017 and in each category, countless competitors. To stand out and craft compelling user experiences, app creators must have insights of the sort that only app analytics provides.

It’s a crowded market: There are more than 6.5 million apps.

On the other side of the fence, a lack of app analytics can spell doom for an app. Companies without analytics are unable to collect and make sense of their data which forces them to rely upon overly simple metrics — such as total revenue or downloads — which tell an incomplete story. If companies can’t see what combination of features, users, and marketing activities contribute to their app’s success, they can’t control churn, negative reviews, abuse, or fraud. In short, they can’t steer the ship.

“By failing to gather user feedback and use mobile analytics, organizations risk complete abandonment of the mobile app by the users.” – Gartner

Total downloads or revenue are just the tip of the iceberg.

How do companies use app analytics?

App analytics software serves two core functions upon which all other features are built:

  1. Tracking, collecting, storing, and managing data
  2. Manipulating and reporting on data

App analytics gathers the data and allow companies to play around with it. All manner of stakeholders can then analyze it to draw out their own insights and make clearer, data-backed decisions without all the complicated math. Some teams explore user behaviors while others test profit models, plan marketing campaigns, and measure the top app analytics metrics. Below are the most common features.

Common features of app analytics platforms:

  • Tracking: Automatically track everything that happens inside your app
  • User profiling and segmentation: Find out who users are and segment by OS, time, region, demographics, behaviors, and more
  • Notifications: Communicate with users and send alerts to the product team
  • Customer funnel: View customer journeys and marketing funnels
  • Testing: A/B test variants of features or messaging
  • Data visualization: View both templated and custom reporting and dashboards to make sense of data
  • Measurement: Measure engagement by user or feature

With these tools, marketing teams can increase profitability and acquire new customers.  Product teams can debug and test new features, analytics teams can furnish the rest of the company with insights, and leadership can lead with greater confidence.

To make the best use of app analytics, companies must apply features to business objectives. While the goals of each company will vary wildly, some are nearly universal to those with app offerings, from enterprise web applications to mobile ride-hailing apps or mobile gaming companies. Here are just a few.

Common goals when using analytics for apps:

  • Improve app retention
  • Analyze features and test changes
  • Better allocate marketing spend
  • Decode customer churn
  • Segment app users by persona
  • Discover pain points

Armed with app analytics, companies are far better prepared to understand what users want and deliver more satisfying experiences as long as the app analytics platform they have offers the necessary features.

Should I build or buy app analytics?

There are many ways to implement app analytics platforms, both paid and unpaid. With the unpaid route, companies may either choose a provider that does not charge for their service or to build analytics themselves (known as DIY). In both cases, what at first appears to be cost saving can become expensive.

Companies find that unpaid applications are often feature-poor and cause their apps to underperform, according to Gartner. And according to research by Mixpanel, it can cost 8 times more to build analytics than to buy them, for the following reasons:

  • Most companies lack the experience to build a highly functional analytics platform.
  • The cost of developing and supporting analytics frequently exceeds expectations.

To learn more, read: Build or buy your analytics? Or talk to someone from the Mixpanel team.

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Paid analytics, on the other hand, are more likely to offer premium advantages such as:

  • A feature rich system: Companies who offer premium analytics platforms plan for a wide variety of use-cases. Their software often comes pre-built with all the features you need now, as well as ones that you’ll grow into.
  • An intuitive UI: Many companies fail to make use of app analytics because they’re reliant upon the one internal power user who fully understands the system. Paid analytics are more likely to have intuitive interfaces that allow non-experts to use the system and democratize data insights.
  • Data security: Paid platforms are more likely to invest in protecting your data.
  • Scalability: Paid platforms often cater to clients both large and small and are built to scale between feature sets.

With app analytics, companies have a better understanding of what happens within their apps. These insights allow them to improve their product, marketing, and app management in order to grow with greater confidence.

Interested in analyzing your app for improvements? Read about how Signal offers instant insights.