How well has your app performed this week? If you’re thinking of a one-word answer—or no answer at all—it’s a sign that now’s the time to take a closer look at how your customers are using your app. After all, you want to make sure the app you’ve created is delivering the results that you want.
That’s where app analytics come in.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true: The numbers don’t lie—if you know how to read them. That’s why, whatever your approach to making a successful app may be, app analytics should be part of it. It’s also why we at Swiftic have totally redesigned our platform’s Analytics page to make it easy for you to track your app’s key metrics. Tracking those numbers is an important part of getting into your customers’ head, understanding their behaviors better, and increasing customer loyalty and sales as a result.
To help you make sense of those numbers, here’s a three-step strategy for optimizing your business’ app:
Step 1: Decide your app’s key metrics
Why did you make your app in the first place? As impressive and convenient as apps can be, that’s not one of the top reasons that small businesses decide to make apps. Clutch, a leading app development research company, recently published a survey finding that there are three main reasons small businesses create apps: to improve their customer service, increase sales, and be more competitive.
Which of these goals are relevant for your business? Are some more important than others? Are there other major reasons you wanted to create a successful app? Asking yourself these questions will help you decide which metrics to follow.
Our Analytics page shows four main types of metrics, each of which adds something different to your picture of how your app is performing:
- New users lets you keep track of your app’s growth. Following this number over time could tell you how well you’re promoting your app and encouraging customers to download it.
- Returning users helps you measure retention of your app users and track how often they open your app. Watching this number over time could give you a glimpse of how engaging your customers find your app to be.
- Pageviews and customer activities both help you form a clearer picture of what your customers are actually doing inside your app. Tracking these numbers over time can give you some indication of how engaged your customers are, while you can get more insight by watching pageviews for certain features and the number of times users performed specific activities.
Step 2: Interpret data and draw conclusions
Once you’ve decided which metrics are most relevant for your business, the next step is to examine these metrics and determine what insight they can give you into the ways your customers use your app. It’s important to understand what you can understand from these metrics, why that info is important, and how you can use it.
The general purposes of tracking new users and returning users are the same for most small businesses, but some businesses will have key features and customer activities that they want to focus on when checking pageviews and customer activities. For instance, if my business is based more on face-to-face sales than on mobile commerce, I may care more about how often my customers use coupons and loyalty cards in store than about how often they buy products through my app.
As you examine these metrics, you’ll want to look for two types of patterns:
• Trends—increases or decreases in your app’s key metrics over time. You can find these by simply examining changes in these numbers, as well as the breakdown of pageviews and customer activities.
• Correlations—relationships between your efforts to promote your app, the key metrics showing its performance, and results at your business. To find these, look at changes in your app’s key numbers (new users, returning users, pageviews, and customer activities), and see if they tend to happen after you take certain steps—for example, sending a push notification or posting a storefront sticker. You’ll also want to see if your sales tend to increase when your app’s key numbers jump.
Step 3: Make changes and try again
Now that you’ve analyzed your app’s usage, you’re ready to put that information to use. There are two approaches you can use here:
1. Do more of what works, based on the correlations that you’ve discovered.
2. Experiment with new ideas and see if they work.
Which approach is better for your business? That really depends on your business and your personal preference, but we recommend doing at least a little of each.
Let’s say you realize that whenever you send a push notification advertising a sale, your numbers of returning users, pageviews, and customer activities jump—and traffic in your business skyrockets. In this scenario, you’ll want to keep advertising your sales through push notifications.
But what happens if you switch from sending notifications once a week to sending them three times a week? Your results may improve, or they may actually drop if your customers become less excited about each push. Bottom line: The only way you can actually find out which approach works better is by experimenting. Of course, if you do try sending three push notifications in a week, you’ll want to pay close attention to that week’s number of returning users, pageviews, and customer activities.
As you’re deciding what to try, keep your priorities in mind. Think both about your goals and about trends in your app’s performance. For instance, if your goal is to increase sales at your restaurant, you may want to focus on certain customer activities, like the use of coupons and loyalty cards. But if the trends that you’ve identified show that your number of new users has fallen drastically in the past month, promoting your app to bring in more new users may be your top priority. It’s all a question of applying the information that you’ve already gathered.
So, if you wanted to know how to create a successful app that brings real results (and you probably do!), then the answer lies in checking your app analytics and optimizing whatever needs improvement. Remember: Getting the most out of analytics isn’t just about knowing whether you’re succeeding—it’s also about optimizing your chances of success. It takes some analysis, some experimentation, and some repetition. Most of all, it means focusing on your major business goals and searching for the most effective ways for your app to help you reach them.
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