Counting App Downloads ≠ Mobile App Analytics
According to a 2016 Adobe report titled Actions Speak Louder Than Downloads, “today’s consumers spend up to 80 percent of their time using apps.” That’s great news for app developers but only a select few. Even if you want to grab just a fraction of that precious time, if you’re not Facebook, WhatsApp, or Google, you’re not likely to get it.
You might be expending a lot of effort to generate app downloads in an attempt to boost your mobile app analytics — and possibly command a bit of that 80 percent. But, are downloads really driving you to the ultimate goal of generating revenue? Maybe you shouldn’t be focusing on app downloads at all.
Having someone download an app that will be deleted or never used again isn’t getting you closer to revenue. Why? Because, the half-life of an app nowadays is only five to six months — and most aren’t used more than once.
Think of tracking mobile app downloads like analyzing visitors to your brick-and-mortar store: you may track the number of people coming through the door and even how long each visitor spends inside your store — oh, the magic of geofencing! However, if those store visitors never buy anything, what have they done to directly impact your business? Nothing, right?
The same applies to app-download measurement. If users download your app (enter your store) but aren’t moved to purchase, what is the app doing for your brand?
Define the Business Value of Your App.
Measurements should be tied to how well you meet customer needs. To determine the best measurements, you must first define the app’s business value — driving purchases, motivating users to visit physical stores, encouraging users to watch videos, or maybe just getting them to the airline terminal on time. What is your business-success metric? The associate director of analytics at global marketing firm Mirum Agency, Tom Mintun explains, “A shopping app may have a business goal of converting a sale. But, if it’s a fitness app, the goal might be session length.”
Start with the intended business use, and then, take a look at your consumers. Why are they using your app?
Identify the Moment of Need.
As we’ve seen, not all apps are intended for or used all day. So, identify that moment of need, determine how to quickly provide solutions during that moment of need, and provide satisfaction so your app remains sticky.
What makes an app sticky to users? It’s delivering high-value, engaging experiences in a customer’s moment of need. It’s that simple. And, it doesn’t require a big chunk of that 80 percent I mentioned earlier.
Travelers who use the Delta Airlines app, for example, can receive text messages that say either “Your flight is on time” or “Your flight is delayed.” They can then make travel adjustments right from within the app. This is a great example of getting users engaged with an app. I shouldn’t have to use the app all day every day for it to be successful. By improving travel experiences and offering small conveniences like app messaging alerts, Delta keeps its app sticky, making it easier and more appealing for travelers to continue purchasing flights from them.
Focus On Engagement.
Instead of download metrics, focus your mobile app measurement on engagement activities. Which activities are performed most often? Where are users when they open your app? The key is to measure mobile app engagement — particularly engagement that ultimately leads to purchases.
You have to understand what the mobile app metrics are telling you. App engagement will mean different things to different brands (and, sometimes, the metrics will be counterintuitive). When retailers — like Kohl’s, for example — offer mobile coupons within their apps, a metric like session length may not be a good indicator of its business impact. For instance, if users are simply opening the app to confirm that there is indeed a coupon for the product or service they are about to buy once inside the store, the session-length metric isn’t going to be as valuable as it would be to a media company that looks for engagement during video streaming.
Measure Success With Mobile App Analytics.
Once you’ve surfaced the business use and moment of need for your users, deploy mobile app analytics in a way that leads to better outcomes for your brand as well as its app users. For instance, Redbox — which offers DVD rentals via self-service kiosks — looked at its push-messaging campaigns and found a 2x lift in rental numbers within the first hour of a message being delivered when messages were sent at 9:00 am, allowing them to lift sales. In another case, Argos (a UK retailer) used mobile analytics to surface which devices were being used to purchase goods. By identifying the devices being used, they were able to modify their marketing spend to target campaigns to specific devices.
You are right to measure mobile app usage, but don’t focus on the wrong metrics. Downloads get customers through your door — now, how do you motivate them to exit with your products in hand? Join my conversation and tell me how you measure your app success.