By Caleb W.
For mobile app developers, knowing how their target audience uses their product is an important part of the app’s development cycle. Knowing demographic information about the user, like their age and gender, help developers keep the app relevant to their interests. Tracking usage of the app allows developers to see where users are having difficulty with the app interface and streamline it for a more pleasant user experience. Developers can focus their efforts on improving key functions by logging user activities, like creating accounts, posting comments, and liking content. Integration of analytical tools into apps allow for a wealth of information into how apps are used and the people who use them.
Implementing analytical tools is a typically straightforward process, although ease of use can vary among different software. After importing the software library, some tools may require additional calls within the code in order to track events. The software is able to associate all instances of an app through a uniquely generated API token. Once conditions are set, the app will report when the event defined by the corresponding condition occurs. The developer can then segment the data, filtering it by a specific demographic. This gives developers the information they need to cater to the specific needs of each of their users.
Flurry is an effective analytics tool that can be deployed easily and quickly. Many of its users noted its support for many different platforms and the ease of integration of its SDK. Flurry also has built-in installation tracking, allowing the developer to see the ads that resulted in the user downloading the app. Flurry is free to developers as well, and also has the ability to push ads and notifications to the user. Being free software, however, comes with several drawbacks. Flurry is unable to process data in real-time, usually taking about a day to generate reports. It has limited setting of conditions and segmentation, thus depriving developers the chance to dig deep into certain parameters they may want to track. This inflexible reporting is compounded by several user complaints that some metrics needed to be defined more accurately. Flurry also lacks detailed external support for its API, limiting the methods by which apps can report usage data. Nevertheless, for a free product, Flurry is perfect for developers who simply want to get the ball rolling on mobile analytics.
One of Flurry’s more robust competitors is Mixpanel. Although developers reported difficulty in understanding and integrating the library, they also widely complemented the ease of usage of the app’s interface and its ability to optimize the end user’s experience. The app also provided concise reporting of data and allowed developers to easily set conditions and segment the funneled data. Along with reporting data within seconds of the corresponding events being triggered, Mixpanel also provided support for third-party installation tracking services, as well as a publicly documented API. Mixpanel’s biggest disadvantage, unsurprisingly, was its cost, with its only free option limiting event reports to 25,000 data points or 1,000 unique profiles. Given all the benefits that come with it, however, Mixpanel makes a much better choice for developers needing much more breadth and depth in usage analysis.
Tracking mobile app usage in today’s technological age is a must for any developer. With app stores filled with so many different apps performing so many similar functions, it is important for an app to stand out to users in its functionality and ease of use. For the very low price of free, Flurry is able to provide basic analysis of user activity and demographics. If developers want more insight and control into their data, however, Mixpanel fits the bill. Failure to take advantage of mobile analytics software, however, leaves developers in the dark on how to effectively cater to the needs of their app’s clients.
Flurry Analytics. Retrieved from https://developer.yahoo.com/flurry/docs/analytics/
Help Center. Retrieved from https://mixpanel.com/help/
Lin, Y. (2014, July 30). App Analytics Strategies & Tools. Retrieved from http://blog.kiip.me/developers/mobile-app-analytics/
Khorkov, E. (2015, March 6). Mobile analytics: Mixpanel vs Amplitude vs Flurry vs Localytics. Retrieved from https://medium.com/polecat-blog/mobile-analytics-mixpanel-vs-amplitud-vs-flurry-vs-localytics-aeb6bf02b734#.2mnklr62f