Mobile App Marketing - New User Acquisition

You’ve got an app, and you see some pretty incredible things happen. But, how do you maintain the greatness? How do you scale using this information? What do you do with your app analytics next?

If you own an app or an app marketing manager/executive, and you don’t have these five things glued to your dashboards, you are doing something wrong.

Retention Reporting

It is no secret that there is much importance and emphasis on retention for mobile apps. There is a whole industry sector dedicated to maintaining and growing retention figures; it is that vital.

To the point, it is no surprise that it features at the top of this list.

Retention reporting is just one of many signals you can use to identify your users’ behaviour and watch for ROI signals. Analysing these signals then informs your strategy of how much money you need to be spending to increase your month-on-month growth.

 Retention can be a tricky report to navigate, however. It can often be confusing, and you will most likely be sitting there scratching your head in confusion.

Primarily, confusion can happen due to the way that retention reports get built. The typical method is to track users who do something and then return on a specific day and do something else. But what is this “something”? Good question because it means a fat lot of nothing. 

More often than not, your basic retention reporting in Firebase, for example, will be showing you who opened your app and then came back to open it again on specific days. Firebase will not give you the full understanding of your app analytics.

When you think of it like that, it’s a bit well, arbitrary, right?

And, in truth, it is, but it doesn’t have to be.

Our product analytics partners, Mixpanel, have in recent times upped their retention reporting game. Instead of looking at users who came back on specific days, you can now look at metrics showing when they come back on or after a particular time, giving you a more granular look at your retention stats.

When looking at retention stats, though, be sure to know how you are defining your analysis. Then, where possible, use specific actions like install and sign up or sign up and another significant mid-funnel event to get actual retention data valuable to you, your team, and your investors

Churn Reporting

Churn is the inverse of retention. They go hand-in-hand and make up hyper-granular app analysis to do some genuinely funky things in your business. 

You may be wondering why you would need this if you already have retention. To that, we say, down tools and go and create your churn reports right now. If you are not keeping an eye on your churn reporting clearly, you are missing something fundamental.

Now that you’re back here, churn reporting should be more than just numbers or a trend on your screen.

Of course, the best thing is to see this either plateau OR decrease over time, but this depends on HOW you define your churn cohort.

We would recommend you define your churn reporting by cohorts of users who signed up and have not done anything significant in the 7 & 14 days after that, and also those who have done something meaningful have not been active in the app for more than 14/21 days.

Once you have these cohorts, you can get to work understanding what they did BEFORE they churned. Additionally, you have the full capability to know what they hadn’t done before they churned so you can assess if the user got the right level of value from your app in the time they were active.

Based on your analysis, you can define a personalisation strategy bespoke to particular sub-sets of the cohorts you have created.

Where retention is poor, resurrection is king. The more people you resurrect or keep around, the more money back there is in the pocket of your business.

Advertising ROI

As a marketer or business owner, you know ROI is critical. You want to know your ROI, so you know what advertising tools/channels to double down. Your investors want to know your ROI so they can keep your business growth on track and know whether your business is a sure thing or not (works pre or post-seed investment).

So, how do you do it within your app analytics?

Traditionally, Google Analytics has played a large part in traffic source attribution for both websites and apps. As a result, Google has firmly planted itself in the attribution space, and a lot of the time, they do it with a significant degree of accuracy.

However, websites and apps are drastically different. What works for websites doesn’t always work for apps. 

The app world has a host of attribution tools to choose from to bring you the correct information in real-time.

The next step is then aligning this with your product and ongoing user behaviour analytics.

Most attribution windows are 28 days. After that, you won’t see what your users are doing.

At this point, you should be ‘stitching’ your attribution data with that in your product analytics tool. Only when you’ve applied an attribution model can you see what your users are doing in your app after the 28-day window and beyond.

ROI comes in various forms, in any case. Typically, it relates to money: subscriptions or purchases. However, the meaning of ROI is transforming and now is mainly looking at usage. When monetisation is not yet occurring, then you have to look somewhere for ROI.

Working our your Ad source ROI, therefore, can be seen as retention. Looking at your product usage by traffic source over some time will bring you a level of knowledge about your ad campaigns that very few people are getting into the swing of using nowadays. It will give you a leg up and learn how to supercharge your ad spends across your entire marketing mix.

MAU / WAU / DAU

Active users. The bedrock of any apps analytics.

Active user counts show how your business is retaining users and how they are falling through your funnel.

Your business model and the specific feature set in your app determine whether you more closely track monthly, weekly, or daily active users.

What do you think Instagram is choosing as their active user count? Sure, they use figures from monthly, quarterly and yearly when they report to the world. Still, those figures are more closely analysed in the daily and weekly stats to determine the more critical, more impressive-sounding metrics we all hear.

What’s important with this is understanding how to bring users back to your platform successfully. Typically, getting users back is achieved through re-marketing or customer automation (email, push, etc.). Your job is to keep your app front of mind for your users when they are most likely using your app. Communicating with your users regularly, but not in an annoying way, keeps you relevant and users coming back.

Why do you think Facebook sends you friend suggestions for people you have never heard of if you haven’t been back in a while?

Funnel and conversion rate analysis

Product owners love a good funnel analysis. Our stance is: so should marketers.

Think about it, you’re running campaigns, and your costs are starting to increase quite drastically. Is it your assets, the channel, or the marketer? 

Nope, it is most likely your product.

Do not get us wrong; certain marketing elements can go wrong to cause cost spikes. But, if you launched campaigns reasonably recently, and saw good results to begin with, then looking at your product analytics should be on your to-do list.

Feature funnels will help you to understand much more about how effective your campaigns are. For example, if you notice low conversion rates, then this will significantly affect your cost metrics.

Think about it; if you need 50% to convert from install to registration, but only 25% are completing it, you are significantly increasing the cost to acquire those users who go on to register with you. App analytics feed into much more than your business objectives.

To achieve a more granular view on funnel reporting, choose to analyse screen views. 

Note: you can do this by funnel events, but you can’t go deeper on a product view if you see a significant drop-off. You will see by device or campaign, but how much is this telling you about the product? 

Make sure you can see how users are hopping from one screen to the next so you can identify what might be causing a drop-off. Of course, you are in CRO territory here, but the ability to bring ideas to the table is the first hurdle in optimising your product to get better results.

There you have it, 5 of the best product and analytics reports you must have to grow your app consistently.

Check out our post on app analytics to continue understanding the importance of data in your business.


Envision Digital is an app growth agency; we help startup businesses grow using paid media, marketing automation and data & analytics. We live and breathe this stuff daily. If you are interested to know how we can help you, get in touch, and we will gladly discuss the options.

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