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Mobile apps are a great way to draw your customers' online attention into your company's own dedicated space (and firmly away from that of your competition), while also building brand loyalty and collecting a wealth of data about their preferences, habits and locations. But to enjoy this potential to the fullest, you'll need to make use of built-in mobile app analytics -- and this area can prove something of a mystery to first-timers. Let's clear things up a bit by looking some of the basic points of how to make mobile app analytics work for your business.
Getting Up and Running
A mobile app designed to appeal directly to your target audience offers several advantages. For one thing, it gives you an exclusive channel to your customer base so your message isn't getting lost amidst the larger "mega-channels" of Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media giants that cast such a long shadow over the mobile landscape. By encouraging customers to rely on your mobile app for certain essential online activities and information, you're ensuring their loyalty while powerfully reinforcing your brand. Better yet, you can track and evaluate how they're using your app directly through the app itself, expanding the treasure trove of Big Data you have to work with.
Building analytic capabilities into your app is usually as simple as inserting a snippet of code into its programming. The exact code used will depend on both your analytics provider and the platform the app is made for. Google Analytics, for instance, provides the necessary code and implementation guidelines for Android, iOS and other platforms. Flurry Analytics (now a part of the Yahoo Developer Network) provides mobile app analytics codes for Blackberry, iOS, Android, Windows Phone and mobile web platforms. Simply pick an analytics service, paste the code into the appropriate spot, and you're ready to start tracking!
Monitoring App Usage Patterns
One of the most important benefits of mobile app analytics is their ability to give you a snapshot of user behavior. Just as standard web analytics can help you see how visitors scan your site, where they drop off, and how much time they spend on particular pages, mobile app analytics reveal how frequently, and for how long, users work with the app. This lets you determine whether they're getting lots of value out of the app, or whether they're exiting it earlier than you'd like. Perhaps some refinements to its interface, structure or visual design are in order.
Using Geolocation Data
You don't just want to know how your app is being used -- you also want to know where. Geo-targeting enables you to refine your app's appeal for specific audiences in various corners of the world. Mobile app analytics can go a long way toward showing you where your app is making the most impact, which in turn lets you perform targeted market research to understand exactly what these audiences want and appreciate (and will buy). The only limitation to this feature is the fact that some users will inevitably opt out of geolocation for privacy purposes, but you'll still benefit from the high-level picture your data reveals.
In-App Advertising Revenue
Did you know that your mobile app can participate in your analytics provider's ad programs? For instance, if you're using Flurry Analytics, you can host paid in-app ads through Yahoo App Publishing. Google Developers offers a program called AdMob for monetizing your mobile app through in-app advertising. These programs are integrated into the provider's analytics system, which means you can see exactly which ads are producing what income for your business.
From understanding how your customers are using (or not using) your mobile app to measuring the extra revenue stream created by in-app advertising, mobile app analytics can serve as a roadmap for interpreting and optimizing your app's success -- and ultimately, the success of your online enterprise. Once you begin taking advantage of this powerful resource, you'll wonder how your business ever managed without it!
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