Everything’s been going mobile over the past few years: browsers, productivity software, games, and even business-intelligence tools. So it makes sense that Google—which curates Google Play, itself a considerable repository of mobile apps, in addition to Android, one of the major mobile operating systems—would design a way for developers and businesses to monitor the impact of their mobile apps.
Currently in beta, Mobile App Analytics offers acquisition and user metrics (downloads, new users, etc.), engagement metrics (retention, crashes, conversions), and outcome metrics (sales, in-app purchases). Moreover, it presents those metrics with some nifty graphs, allowing developers to see at a glance how, say, their second-rate “Angry Birds” rip-off isn’t selling very well.
“The new reports are part of a holistic experience tailored for mobile app measurement,” JiaJing Wang, product manager of the Google Analytics Team, wrote in a June 29 corporate blog posting, “including a new and lightweight SDK v2.0 that’s easier to implement and is opt-out ready, with a streamlined back-end infrastructure.” Mobile-app reports should be available to “all Google Analytics users” by “the end of the summer.”
The analytics will allow developers to assess the versions of the app currently in use, how frequently users activate the app, and how they move throughout the application (the latter presented via a nifty tree graphic).
Mobile App Analytics are available for both iOS and Android apps, although developers creating the latter will have access to Google Play metrics (including the aforementioned in-app conversions).
Apple and Google recently hosted their respective WWDC and I/O conferences, during which executives pushed either iOS or Android as the best foundation for mobile-app developers. While some third-party developers (including gaming companies) have the resources to build apps for both platforms, others can only build for one or the other.
In early June, analytics-and-advertising firm Flurry, which monitors when developers begin work on mobile software via its Flurry Analytics platforms, proclaimed that iOS was edging out Android as the platform of choice among app builders: for the first quarter of 2012, it found, some 69 percent of Flurry new project starts were iOS, versus 31 percent for Android.
Whether or not that means more developers are truly gravitating to iOS than Android, it helps reinforce that mobile app development is increasingly becoming a two-shop game.