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App analytics – From a good sales app to a great sales app

One of Mubaloo’s senior mobile strategy consultants, Richard Newhouse, discusses the need for analytics within apps. By using the example of a sales app, Newhouse argues the case for a strong analytical framework, and a deeper understanding of the impact analytics can have on future sales and future refinements to apps,

According to a recent report from Mubaloo’s partner Apperian, companies are seeing a 20% increase in new revenue or service delivery opportunities thanks to apps.
A key component in the design of apps is a strong analytical framework. Analytics help companies to deliver on the key business objectives listed above, though aren’t visible to end-users.
Analytics can identify the parts of an app that rarely get used and assess the user journey. If we take the ‘sales funnel’ as an example, analytics can show where users hesitate, and where they drop out of the funnel.  These data points provide a fact-base for considering improvements to the app design, or perhaps the proposition being presented on mobile.
App analytics may not be needed to show whether sales have risen as a result of introducing an app, but what they do reveal is the potential for future sales.
A number of ‘analytics packages’ – such as Google Analytics or Flurry – are readily available to help.
These packages help to show potential issues with real-world app performance, providing data in real-time, and over time. This provides companies and developers with the ability to make correlations with external events, or simply weekly cycles to show whether improvements can be made.
Whilst it’s all very well and good talking about the importance of analytics, understanding how to use and interpret them can be a challenge for resource limited firms.
Once the mobility roadmaps have been defined, at Mubaloo we start with being very clear about the objectives and KPIs for each app before we start design. Once the outline design has been completed, we work with clients to define the ‘events’ that should be available for the analytics service.  For example, as we work through the wireframes, which linkages are important to monitor?  By working it out at that stage, we can build analytical events into the development cycle.
We provide an analysis service to many of clients, offering quarterly reporting; this proves to be a great basis for clients to think about improvements that can be made.
Experience has shown that, however much thought goes into the design, it is very hard to predict how users will really use a new app.  Having good analytics helps to speed up the process of refining the design, to create a great user experience and deliver on those business objectives.
For the ultimate expression of utilising analytics for strategic long term value, a holistic approach to analytics is needed. This will take into account data via the app, online, and real-world information. By doing so, businesses can understand what is preventing that potential from being achieved and implement changes to support ongoing success.
By Richard Newhouse, Senior Mobile Strategy Consultant, Mubaloo

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