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Mobile App Measurement is Changing for the better.

When it comes to mobile app measurement, the times they are a changin’. And that’s an excellent thing, if you are someone who cares about the role that mobile app measurement can play in driving better marketing decision making and richer consumer insight.
In digital, lots of new services and platforms surface every year. Some meet critical needs. Some don’t. Some survive. Others don’t. That’s part of what makes this wacky world of electrons such an exciting and dynamic environment in which to work.
When a solution type “sticks”, there’s usually a fast progression that begins with clients seeking the rock bottom price for basic features. That quickly changes when first progressive companies – and then most companies – expect a great deal more. They still want a great price, but recognize that price and value aren’t synonymous.
Mobile app measurement began as a service primarily focused on gaming companies, and primarily concerned with attributing installs to the specific media provider that drove them. These are important metrics, and ones that the various companies in the space have more or less perfected. There are many data challenges in the app space, but ultimately this business boils down to counting. While a number of us can do very well.
Lots of companies found the least expensive mobile app measurement platform that could do these basic tasks, and were satisfied, at least for a time. Heck, we used to offer a limited free option that did some of these basic things. And it made clients happy. For a while.
With mobile app measurement, though, marketers begin to see how much more measuring that should be doing. First to understand the interplay of various media vendors. And then to facilitate a rich understanding of what customers do in-app. In-app activity matters a great deal, of course. After all, the average American spends more than half of their connected time in apps, and what they do in those apps provides the foundation for — scratch that, IS — your mcommerce business.
Most leading app attribution platforms provide some visibility into in-app consumer actions. But if you are looking for real insight into what your consumers do in your app and what makes them take these actions, you need to sweat the details of the differences between platforms.
Here are six sweaty things (sorry for the metaphor) to consider as you evaluate your measurement alternatives.
  1. Mobile App Measurement and Time Horizons: To truly understand customers, you need to choose a platform that lets you understand consumer behavior and change over the lifecycle of their app relationships. Lots of platforms limit lookback to 30-days. One month. Hey, I don’t know what sort of business you work on, but I have NEVER worked on a business that had (or at least wanted) customer relationships to last for 30 days or less. And yet, if you choose one of the low cost providers with a 30-day lookback, you will have to forego critical insights like true LTV, ARPU, purchase frequency calculations, whether customer choose to spend more with you over time, and a great deal more. If you find yourself satisfied with a 30-day lookback …well, I hate to be the one that says it but … you may find yourself needing a new job before long.
  2. Mobile App Measurement and Events Measured: Marketers need rich and granular information about customer actions in order to understand consumer motivations, identify bottlenecks, and drive continuous improvement in customer experiences. If your provider limits the number of events you can track, or causes you to give yourself self-imposed limits because each measured event costs you money, you may find it difficult to do your job as well as you might want. Data-driven marketing requires data. It’s right there in the name. And arbitrary data limitations can create real problems as your formulate optimization strategies and programs.
  3. Mobile App Measurement and Media Companies Measured: People take a lot of actions before they install an app, and lots of other actions before they make an in-app purchase. In order to understand the drivers of customer actions, you need to be able to see and understand everything that the consumer is experiencing. If you can’t easily access consumer event data from across all partners, you have a partial view that can drive sub-optimal decision-making.
  4. Mobile App Measurement and Usability: If you don’t use your tools, you can’t get benefit from them. Well-designed user experience makes it easier for you and your team to get all of the information and insights that you need from the tools that they use.
  5. Mobile App Measurement and the World Beyond the Install: More and more marketers are seeking ways to engage their install base, drive purchase intent, and foster frequent transactions. Unfortunately, measuring and optimizing such “remarketing” tasks requires a platform focused on delivering robust solutions to these tracking challenges, not workarounds. Understand any limitations in this area as you evaluate your options.
  6. Mobile App Measurement and Vision for the Future: Every company worth its salt has a plan for how it will improve and expand its services. Make sure that the provider you choose can articulate that vision – and that it’s one that you share. For example, our focus at Apsalar is to provide a broader range of data and insights services that bring unbiased, third-party perspective to more tasks as we help brands put their in-app insights to work. Improving marketing effectiveness. Lowering costs. And providing the insight necessary to drive better customer experiences.
That’s our vision and what we’re doing. You may, or may not, think it’s right. But the point is to ask the companies you are considering, and see what you think about where they’re headed. It matters. This space will continue to evolve, and successful companies will make the right bets on the direction it will take. 
But make no mistake. The mobile app measurement world is changing. And it’s change for the better.
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