BERLIN and SAN FRANCISCO, April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Congratulations! Development and testing are done, and your app is ready to release. Before you enter the highly competitive mobile market, you need to realize that over 2,500 apps are submitted to the 3 biggest stores daily, and 70% of apps generate less than 5,000 downloads each.
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In the PC era, we couldn't update a game or any other product after its release, nor could we collect information on how the product was being used. Now we're able to rethink the app again and again, steadily improving its performance and maximizing user experience, based on observations we make about app usage. This is where data comes into play, helping to reach win-win relationships with users. It's a truly great source to learn, analyze and understand the real value users get from your app.
WHY do I need data?
Understanding the needs of your users and knowing what they like and don't like is the key to success. For example, acquisition campaigns are only effective if you take the time to find out who your users are, what they're interested in, at what time they're most responsive, and then set the right targeting for your campaign. And if you want to improve your ASO strategy, data helps you understand what app description, keywords and screenshots would appeal to your audience.
You can't get far without good data - from helping choose your beta testers to showing you how to optimize a screen in your app which has high churn rates. Data can help you develop the best possible user experience, and guide how you shape and optimize your marketing strategy.
In fact, your app's main value is the data it offers. Data optimization processes separate successful apps from the unsuccessful ones. Game Analytics analyzed 400 plus free-to-play games with more than 1000 installs, and found that the very first players who enter your game are the most valuable users. When you know who they are, you can invest resources in retaining them and keeping them happy.
WHAT data should I look I for?
With the vast wealth of data you have available, you'll get lost if you try to analyze it all at once. So, begin with the basics like geography, time, user ID, gender and age. Once you know these parameters, you can define possible behavior patterns, and increase your chances of offering your premium subscription to relevant segments. It's also critical to be aware of the life-cycle stage of your users - new/dormant/engaged user, risk of churn, etc. - so target them accordingly.
Time of day is crucial too. Do users open the app at 9 a.m. at work or at 7 p.m. on the way home? Conversion will differ whether you display an ad at work or at home. Every event gives you food for thought - clicks, likes, reposts and even uninstalls speak volumes about the user. Pay attention to your data points, connect the dots and you'll soon see the big picture.
Sport.com, a big publisher of fitness and health-related apps, found that female users make 43% more in-app purchases than males. Taking this into consideration, they optimized their acquisition campaigns, targeting more women and therefore bringing more valuable users into the app, boosting app engagement considerably and eventually increasing ROI by 24%.
WHERE can I get data?
All app permissions, in-app analytics services, tracking solutions and data-management platforms you use are invaluable sources of data. Your tracking company carries important information on your users, while your analytics company can connect in-app activities to retention KPIs. If you sync all your data providers, you'll be able to analyze the complete app user journey.
Location data gives you extensive information about app geography. If your app is popular in Country A, look at ways to monetize it better, localize or focus user-acquisition campaigns on that region. App permissions are a good resource, as most users don't mind what data you ask for, depending on which region you're in. Even if you don't need certain data for your app, it might improve monetization or IDFA value later down the line, so ask permission for it anyway.
And don't be afraid of communicating with your users after they installed the app. They're surprisingly willing to share relevant information. To go even further, add a social login button or create your own community within the app. Social networks can reveal a gold mine of data, so don't ignore them.
WHEN to use data?
Data analysis is an essential component to consider when defining your overall marketing strategy, not a last minute consideration.
"Deciding which data points to gather, collect, analyze and profile with, is a critical process which app developers should be aware of. The best way to approach this is to discuss this with your advertising and analytics partners in advance, to be sure that all possible data points are well covered by in-app event tags integrated into your app."
- Freddy Friedman, glispa CPO
Whether you're an advertiser or an app publisher, data is your helping hand. You can employ all the data points available in the app and launch much more successful campaigns with precise targeting and more relevant users, eCPM, LTV increase and more valuable IDFAs/IDs. In the long run, this will contribute to your product success, as well as a higher company valuation.
My colleague Freddy Friedman acknowledges that many app developers have already realized the true power of data as a key driver in all their activities: from conceptualizing the next big app, to trials with beta users, to driving installs with the right target audience, to driving engagement and retargeting of dormant users.
Before you start delving into your data, remember to keep an eye on the rapidly changing mobile ecosystem and make sure you are on the cutting edge of technology. Go beyond traditional patterns and find your own ways of getting the data you need. Don't hide what you're after, think outside the user data box (but ensure you respect their privacy), define your end goal, and you'll definitely rock!
Itamar Benedy is General Manager of glispa Israel and Vice President of Strategy and Apps, based in Tel Aviv. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.