Below is the text of a brief email interview conducted with Christian Poppelreiter, Account Specialist at Flurry, for an article about app analytics that will be published soon to the XDA Portal. If you have any experiences with specific analytics providers, post them in this forum.
What are the most valuable pieces of data that come out of your product? Why? Give examples of how I might get actionable data, make a change, and improve results.
Flurry Analytics reports a variety of metrics related to app usage, user engagement and audiences. In addition to standard metrics, like how many sessions are taking place or how many unique users appear during a specific period of time, we also report metrics that indicate how "sticky" an app is, or how likely the prospects for longer term success. For example, Flurry Analytics has sections which report on session duration, session frequency and overall rate of retention as an application ages. Beyond this, developers can customize how they collect data through events tracking, which can be used to examine user behavior particular to that app, such as when someone likes a status, shares an article, beats a level or makes a purchase. Once events are set up, developers can also segment out sections of their audience either according to behavior (i.e. purchasers) or according to more traditional audience metrics like age, gender or location.
There are also features in Analytics which can help a developer formulate a monetization strategy. The typical length of a session can tell you how many ads might be appropriate to place in an ad supported app. Developers can track how long users typically spend within different sections of the app, can detect when users are most engaged and also see conversion rates from tracked event to tracked event using the Funnels tool.
What most differentiates you from your competitors (features, pricing, etc)?
We are the leader among mobile app analytics providers for a number of reasons. First, as I mentioned before, Flurry Analytics is highly customizable and is designed to work on a variety of types of apps on a variety of platforms. Of course we support iOS and Android, but also Blackberry, Windows Mobile and HTML5 / Mobile Web apps. All of the features mentioned in my response to your previous question are available for each platform.
What's more, because we are the leader and we have the largest sample of data with close to 1 billion unique mobile devices and over 300,000 apps worldwide, we offer features that other Analytics providers cannot, like benchmarking the performance of apps versus other apps in a given category. We can also show what users among a developer's audience belong to behavioral segments called personas, based on their longer term app usage (i.e. what apps they have on their device that also use Flurry. Benchmarking and segmentation by persona would be what I would describe as "features from scale".
There has also been a concerted effort to consolidate the range of services we offer to developers within a single SDK, so anyone that is using Flurry Analytics can create ad spaces to code into their app and monetize using Flurry AppSpot, or launch a promotional user acquisition campaign with Flurry AppCircle, all powered by the data we've collected from Flurry Analytics.
Finally, Flurry Analytics is a free product, which has no doubt contributed to our leadship position in the market. Analytics is also used by a range of customers, from your solo indie developer on up to some of the biggest media and consumer products companies in the world. Many other Analytics providers charge for their products, and very often there is a component of paid consultancy as well. Our platform is designed to be primarily self service, which we've found is very often preferable to smaller scale enterprise.
Explain your range of pricing and, if you have a low tier or free option, what features are only available to premium users?
Once again, Flurry Analytics is free to use, and there are no premium features - all features are included as standard in the only version of Flurry Analytics which exists. When our customers decide to promote their apps on our network they can pay for display ads or videos, or if they decide to monetize their apps using Flurry, there is a revenue share model. If you're interested to learn more about promotion or monetization, let me know, happy to explain more.
Are there any technical aspects of implementation that would be helpful to explain?
Anecdotally, most developers love the ease of use of Flurry and say that integration typically takes less than 30 minutes to do. Technical details related to integration and making use of the advance features of Flurry Analytics can be found in our support portal:
What advice would you give to help make new independent app developers more successful?
I would say focus on your customer experience and design the app the way that you would want to use it if you were the customer. Many developers start with a great idea, but compromise the user experience with something that is either poorly organized, with limited functionality or something that is overrun with advertising. People download apps because they want to perform some kind of task, whether that task is sending a message, reading an article or playing a game. They don't want to feel disrupted, nor do they want to feel like they're being given a hard sell, and I think a lot of developers need to tread carefully on the fine line between what engages the user and what earns them money.
A while back I did a survey of how many of the top non-gaming apps were being monetized and I noticed that in most instances, advertising was non-intrusive, and in many instances, advertising was not included, because the developers just wanted to retain the users. That said, the baseline expectation of your typical app user is that each app has some minimal functionality and that a good experience can be reached in a reasonable period of time, and that once the user has returned and gets an idea of what the app does, they'll be more likely to tolerate ads, pay for premium services or premium functionality. You could think of using an app like the experience of going into a store. You don't have to buy something to think well of the store and keep them in mind for a future purchase. Once someone goes into the store, or in this case, downloads an app, developers have the opportunity to market to that user indefinitely.
Related to the above, in your mind what makes an app successful? Why do some "great" apps not get noticed?
Great apps get noticed for a variety of reasons - their value is clear, they give something valuable away, their brand is recognizable, they're offering something unique. That the app is thoughtfully organized, is bug free and has basic functionality included is implied. Unfortunately there is no objective formula for success, however there are objective quality metrics, such as the engagement metrics reported in Flurry Analytics and other key performance indicators (KPIs). Each app offers something different, so in each case, these KPIs will also be different.
"Great" apps don't get noticed because discovery is a huge problem in the AppStore, which is how we've been able to build up the user acquisition side of our business. This will not last forever as discovery improves, but I would also argue that if an app is truly remarkable, then the word will spread, and if the word does not spread, there are any number of reasons (app quality, functionality, presentation, pricing) why success isn't immediate. Flurry can help to constantly improve apps until the experience aligns with the expectations of users.