As a mobile strategist, I work with organizations across all industry verticals–insurance, energy, retail, healthcare, supply chain, etc. I’ve come to realize there are common challenges every company faces when it comes to continually delivering great mobile experiences. One of the most common challenges I help clients face is that of determining the return on investment (ROI) of mobile apps.
With consumer mobile apps it’s a lot easier to measure your ROI: simply subtract the cost to build (plus the ongoing cost to support) your mobile app from the revenues you generate from your mobile app. Unfortunately, an enterprise mobile app’s ROI is not as easy to measure. Far more components must be accounted for, including target users (employees, contractors, business partners, etc.) and use cases.
In order to determine if your mobile investments are generating the desired return, your organization needs to establish a clear measurement of progress against business objectives, proactively track performance, and create actionable insights to guide future mobile app development initiatives.
Oddly enough, this is one of the most commonly overlooked components of the enterprise mobile app development process. Let’s look at why.
From my experience, client mobile app delivery teams are so focused on what’s needed to get the app deployed, they forget about what they need to do to ensure its success, achieve the desired ROI, and deliver a great mobile UX.
It’s imperative to have a plan right from the start for measuring, tracking, and improving your mobile app over time. This is what makes a Mobile Analytics Strategy so critical.
Mobile analytics can be a complex subject to take on, due to the wide variety of analytics one can measure (e.g. business, performance and usage) along with the vast number of vendor solutions to choose from.
Here are three steps to help you create and implement your Mobile Analytics Strategy:
Step 1: Have a Plan
In order to accurately gauge the success and ROI of your mobile apps, capture metrics in these three categories:
- Business Value. Whatever your business drivers are, make sure the data required to calculate each key performance indicator (KPI) is accurately defined and captured. Note: your KPIs may evolve as the mobile apps mature and provide more insight into how they’re helping to achieve your business drivers. Keep the following key items in mind:
- KPIs are intended to measure success and grow naturally from an organization’s key business objectives.
- Once you’ve defined your business objectives, mark your achievements as you progress.
- KPIs should be well-defined, quantifiable, applicable to your lines of business, and communicated throughout your organization.
- Performance. If your mobile app doesn’t perform as expected, users will not adopt it—plain and simple. For this reason, it’s vital to track and manage your mobile app’s performance (e.g. response times, app crashes, network connectivity, etc.).
Ensuring your mobile apps are reliable and work as expected requires you to proactively monitor performance analytics to identify and resolve any surface defects and performance issues (before they appear in a negative App Store review or result in app deletion).
- User Behavior. Arguably the most important analytics to measure. Understanding how and when users use your mobile app, and which features, interactions and paths are used most is vital. Connecting the data points reveals insights to guide your efforts to improve the user experience for greater overall success.
Remember, the data you track should either alert you to issues to address or highlight opportunities to explore to achieve the desired ROI. This information may be historical (older than 24 hours), operational (today) or real-time.
As with any task that at first seems overwhelming, begin with a small number of metrics that captures test-data accuracy and relevance, and adjust accordingly. Then, assess the data and information you’re getting (or not getting) and optimize the data being tracked (and perhaps also the tools being used) to ensure you’re generating actionable information. Lastly, ensure everyone has access to this data so they may also contribute to the app enhancement process and help achieve your business drivers.
Step 2: Tool Selection
When should you select mobile analytics tools? The answer is: as soon as you’ve established your mobile app roadmap and supporting technology stack.
Selecting the right mobile app analytics tools is not as easy as you might think. Many vendor solutions are available, and each differs slightly in the types of reports and analytics they measure (e.g. app store analytics vs. crash data vs. defined user-event analytics).
The following are some tips to help you find the right analytics tool(s):
- Leverage what’s free and basic. Firebase and Flurry are two popular tools. These, along with App Annie (if your app is in the public app store), should provide a strong foundation.
- Pick tools according to your mobile app’s intended use and target users. Don’t pick an analytics tool geared for consumer apps (product purchasing) if your app is meant for employees to perform business processes and tasks. Also, assume that over time a combination of tools may be necessary to meet your specific needs.
- Understand your mobile app roadmap. Pick analytics tools that can grow with you as you add features, users and platforms (smartphones, tablets, wearables).
- Look for features that enable you to clearly comprehend user behavior. Two such features are session playback, which lets you watch a simulation of actual user’s actions, and heat maps, which help you visualize which areas of your app are used most. Some tools to consider: Appsee and LogRocket.
- Ensure your mobile app architecture is designed to let you use multiple mobile analytics tools, as needed.
- As you refine your tools and approach, don’t forget to leverage enterprise data from operations, customer support, marketing, or other relevant sources to generate unique insights into your business and customers.
Step 3: Don’t Wait
Using an early adopter group or a savvy user set will provide valuable, actionable analytics during your app’s pilot launch.
This is vital because you may immediately discover that users don’t use your app the way you envisioned, and will alert you to the navigational, usability, or project changes that need to be made (e.g. dropping or adding features, optimizing performance, or re-prioritizing your roadmap). Having the right tools and capturing analytics data across the categories mentioned above is often your first alert, allowing you to be proactive in resolving issues before users call customer support, leave a bad review or simply delete the mobile app.
Once your mobile app goes live, be sure to establish a regular schedule for reviewing the analytics data. Provide all stakeholders with regular KPI reporting, as well as any actionable insights you’ve uncovered. Finally, ensure the information generated from your mobile analytics is appropriately factored into the continued planning of your mobile app roadmap.
And lastly, if you’re still not sure which mobile app analytics you should be using or which tool is best for your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to get you started.
Sr. Strategist & Client Partner Manager