4 Takeaways from the New Apple App Analytics
One of the lesser-known facts about magazine apps is that publishers can glean very little information about them and how they are used, unless we have built in the coding for separate analytics. There is much less app data than what we've become accustomed to on websites, where you can tell which pages people are looking at, how much time they are spending, and a host of other information.
A few weeks ago, Apple started beta testing Apple Analytics. They have now opened up the beta to all, so you too have access.
See below for the new information Apple Analytics offers and for the tidbits I find most exciting about the service.
First, a warning: The analytics you are seeing is not the entirety of your data. App users must opt-in to share certain usage data. In one case, only 23% of users that installed the app agreed to share their data (see image for what notification looks like). Furthermore, Apple is only capturing data from iOS 8.0 or higher, which means you are missing another portion of your audience that hasn't updated their software.
So is there any use to these analytics? As limited as they are I have found four things that are exciting about the Apple Analytics:
1. Views: You can see how many downloads you've gotten and how many sales, plus how many people viewed the app without downloading. That allows you another measure of conversion data. You can now answer the questions:
- How many people looked at the app?
- How many people then downloaded the app?
- From there (assuming your app is free, but the issues housed therein are not), how many then bought a subscription, an issue, or a back issue after downloading the app?
2. Tracking: You can now distinguish your website promotions from email or your social media promotions. Apple has built in a URL generator that allows you to easily make links that you can attach to a post, a link on a website, or in an email. That means we can now have a real metric for:
- How many people clicked on a particular promotion
- How many of those downloaded the app
- How many of those bought something
This is huge for publishers and consumer marketers who live for good data.
3. Filters: Now you can filter and compare with the following metrics:
- App Purchase Date
- App Version
- iOS version
- Platform (iPad, iPhone)
4. Retention: Retention is simply how many people accessed your app after having installed it. This is not retention as we think of it in the consumer marketing world, but more like engagement and re-engagement as we think of it in the app world. This could become useful as we see which of our promotions not only generate more sales, but which cause users to go back to their app and re-engage -- a critical element for renewing them, and for upselling them.
There are some things I'd like to see as part of the analytics, like time spent on app and which pages are being read. For those of you on Adobe DPS, that information is available to you. But, it would be nice to have it all in one place.
More on digital magazine data: Top 5 takeaways from our biannual Digital Magazine Dashboard.
M. Thea Selby is a Principal in Next Steps Marketing, a San Francisco boutique firm that solves audience-building challenges in creative, customized way using practical "call-to-action" marketing techniques where the return is clearly measurable by clicks, online sign-ups, responses to direct mail, orders from partners, or sales at newsstand.
She was the 2010 Women's Leadership Conference Chair, is a co-founder and board member of Exceptional Women in Publishing—a national organization dedicated to supporting women in and through the power of online and print media—and is the former CEO and Publisher of Light Green Media, a digital publishing company.