What Is Mobile Analytics? The Complete Guide

Mobile analytics give you the insights you need to identify performance issues, understand your users and make data-driven improvements to your app. Read on to learn how to apply them in your business.

Mobile Analytics

A comprehensive guide to mobile analytics

Key takeaways

Mobile apps and websites are complex creations, so understanding why they’re successful—or not—often requires deep analysis.

Thankfully, mobile devices gather incredible amounts of data that can help you identify issues and make improvements. However, the sheer amount of data available can be overwhelming for app teams. To uncover the hidden insights lurking in your data faster, you need a secret weapon: mobile analytics.

In this guide, you’ll learn how mobile analytics help you understand your app’s performance and users, so you can:

  • Understand what app users are doing (and where they get stuck) and user interactions.

  • Identify performance issues that affect user engagement and retention.

  • Prioritize improvements and feature development.

  • Choose the right analytics tools for your teams.

Mobile analytics are the key to creating better mobile experiences that users love—so let’s dive in!

What is mobile analytics?

Mobile app analytics means learning from the data you gather in your mobile app. It involves analyzing your app’s performance to understand the user experience, including user sessions, app events and the way your users interact with your mobile platform to find opportunities for improvement.

By looking closely at this data, you can learn what’s going wrong and where users are getting stuck. This helps your team optimize the app to increase engagement, conversions and retention—and then track the impact of your changes.

Examples of mobile analytics

Mobile analytics involves any data your app gathers about your mobile users' performance or how mobile users interact with it. Common examples include:

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Glassbox interaction maps show how far users scroll on mobile app screens.

Why do companies use mobile analytics?

In the current landscape, businesses need to serve up excellent mobile experiences to remain competitive. There are over seven million apps competing for users’ attention today, and the standard of experiences they deliver is ever-increasing.

Accordingly, users have high expectations for mobile apps and websites—and if they don’t like what they find or experience an app crash, they go elsewhere. Mobile apps generally have a high churn rate, and customers delete half of the apps they download within 30 days.

By monitoring mobile analytics, companies can resolve issues and improve their app to keep users coming back.

Why are mobile analytics important?

Data gives you powerful ways to understand how users are thinking and behaving using their mobile devices in your app. Most importantly, it lets you spot trends in user behavior across thousands of different customer journeys by understanding mobile traffic.

For example, mobile analytics data might show you that visitors on Android devices experience slower loading times and leave your app more often. This discovery leads you to improve the loading time for your Android users—a small change that could mean a significant revenue boost.

However, insights like this are almost impossible to achieve via other research methods like customer interviews or user testing. Mobile analytics platforms are the most efficient way to get the hidden insights you need to detect mobile experience mistakes.

How are mobile analytics different from web analytics?

Both involve similar goals and processes, but web analytics focuses on gathering data around websites. Mobile analytics specifically focus on mobile data, and the nature of mobile apps means there is a greater range of data available:

  • Mobile analytics focus more on tracking individual users. With websites, it’s generally difficult to know who is visiting your site. But with apps installed on a mobile device, it’s easier to segment users and analyze how their journeys evolve.

  • Mobile analytics look at different user behavior data to web analytics. While desktop users navigate with clicks, mouse scrolls and keyboard shortcuts, mobile users navigate with scrolls, pinches and taps.

  • Mobile analytics track different KPIs. It helps you gauge the success of your app with metrics like downloads, feature usage, location, installs, app launches and in-app purchases—which aren’t typically part of web analytics.

How do mobile app analytics work?

Gather relevant data. Using a digital experience intelligence platform like Glassbox, you can automatically capture information about app performance, user engagement and user behavior.

Visualize and analyze data. Advanced analytics tools will allow you to segment your data, or to sort it in a way that reveals key insights. In addition, some tools will allow you to visualize your data—for example, with graphs that show where users drop off in your funnel.

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Create a feedback loop. After gaining key insights about what’s happening in your mobile app, you can then launch an improved version of it. By using mobile analytics to assess your changes and do more of what’s working, you can create a positive feedback loop in your development processes.

Understand your funnel’s performance with Glassbox

Glassbox lets you measure custom metrics from your funnel, so you can understand conversions, abandonment and revenue impact.

> Discover Glassbox funnel analysis

Different types of mobile analytics to consider

Mobile app analytics platforms give you virtually limitless options for exploring data. Depending on your business model and goals, you may want to focus on one of the main types:

Mobile advertising analytics

In-app advertising can be a major source of revenue for your business. Mobile advertising analytics show you how your ads are performing and who’s interacting with them, so you can find opportunities to generate more revenue.

App monetization analytics

Even if your app is free, you may be monetizing it through in-app purchases on mobile devices, subscriptions or affiliate marketing schemes. Monetization analytics allow you to see the success of these strategies and the revenue they generate.

For example, if you’re charging a subscription fee, analytics data could show you which plan is most popular and how long the average user stays subscribed for.

Tracking these metrics could help you optimize different aspects of your strategy—like your plan prices—so you can maximize the revenue you generate.

In-app engagement analytics

In-app engagement analytics give you quantitative data on how people audience segments use your app on average. Key metrics could include:

  • How often users open your app on their mobile devices

  • How long they use it for

  • Which features they use most

App store analytics

Your performance in the app store will affect how many people find and download your app. App store analytics help you track key metrics like:

  • Rank in app listings

  • Downloads

  • Device type

  • Reviews

Analyzing this data can help you find ways to improve your ranking, target the right audiences, and ultimately acquire more users.

Performance analytics

Your app’s performance directly impacts the user experience, and ultimately, your retention rates. Identify issues that could cause users to leave by checking performance analytics data like:

  • Loading times

  • Error reporting

  • Crash reporting

How do different teams use mobile analytics?

For companies that drive revenue or engage with customers through an app, mobile analytics can be a game changer. They’re useful to various departments including marketing, product, technical, UX/UI design and customer success.

While their goals might vary, all these teams are focused on understanding and serving users—and mobile app analytics gives them the insights they need to do so.

Mobile analytics for marketing teams

Mobile analytics allow marketers to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns. By learning more about the people who convert and make purchases, marketers can optimize their strategies to target the right audiences.

Marketing teams can use mobile analytics to:

  • Segment users (e.g. by acquisition channel or purchasing behavior)

  • Check in-app conversions (e.g freemium user to paid user)

  • Track ROI on marketing campaigns

  • Identify the most profitable marketing channels

With the insights they gain from these processes, marketers can optimize their funnels for maximum conversions while minimizing costs.

Mobile analytics for product teams

Product teams make it their goal to continuously improve their app so that customers keep coming back. However, in order to identify the most important areas for improvement, they need real data about what customers need.

Mobile analytics offer several ways for them to do this:

  • Visualize all user journeys and instantly see which ones drive the most conversions

  • Idenfity the screens customers are struggling on and where the app is crashing

  • Examine app usage to learn which features users are more interested in

  • Gather data on how the app affects customer satisfaction

  • Measure the results of A/B tests within the app

By listening to the data left by users, product teams can avoid common mobile app traps and make decisions about what features to add, change or remove.

Mobile analytics for UI and UX teams

UX and UI teams are concerned with optimizing the user experience in their app. Since one of their key goals is to remove friction from the user journey, mobile analytics play a vital role in identifying where users are struggling.

Mobile analytics help UI and UX teams to:

  • Identify common customer journeys in the app

  • Gather data on what users’ motivations and pain points are at key points in the journey

  • Examine usage data to learn where and when users typically exit the app

  • Learn what users do on individual pages via heatmaps and interaction maps

  • Observe user journeys to look for signs of frustration

Mobile analytics for technical teams

Technical teams use performance analytics to ensure their app runs smoothly, without any errors or crashes. This is an important activity because users are highly sensitive to apps that are slow or buggy. According to Google, 29% of users will switch to another app if the one they are using takes too long to load.

Technical teams typically look at KPIs relating to app performance, such as:

  • Crash reports

  • Carrier latency

  • Uptime

  • API latency

  • Exceptions

Mobile analytics for customer success teams

Customer success teams work directly with users to help them have a better in-app experience. Because they proactively reach out to customers who might be struggling, customer success teams need to understand trends in user behavior.

Mobile analytics can help customer success teams to:

  • Map out the common journeys that lead to customers achieving their goals

  • Look at session replays to take a closer look at what went wrong on a specific customer’s journey

  • Identify customers who might churn based on the way they use the app

  • Identify customers who might benefit from account expansions or subscription upgrades

  • Liaise with marketing, product and UI and UX teams to share feedback on user needs and pain points

10 common mobile app analytics mistakes to avoid

Using analytics for mobile apps and mobile products is a skill in itself. Avoid these common mistakes to get better insights from your data while speeding up the learning curve.

1. Starting without clear optimization objectives

With the sheer amount of data available, mobile analytics can be complex. If you don’t have a plan, you’re likely to get overwhelmed or end up with irrelevant data.

At bare minimum, you should establish:

  • What are our current optimization goals?

  • What questions do we need to answer to meet those goals?

  • What data could we track or analyze to answer those questions?

2. Focusing too much on a single success metric

Keeping things simple is a good idea, but using a single metric to gauge your success can be misleading.

For example, tracking downloads shows you that large numbers of users are acquiring your app—sounds great, right? But without knowing how much users engage with your app, you don’t yet know if it’s serving your target audience well.

Similarly, if you only worry about conversions or ad revenue, you won’t learn whether customers are actually getting value from your features.

3. Trying to track everything

At the other end of the spectrum, it’s tempting to simply track every vaguely relevant metric. But analyzing hundreds of different events or tracking every single screen touch can leave you overloaded with data.

Glassbox’s mobile app analytics captures and classifies more than 1,000 events in an average session–but ensures the meaningful insights bubble to the surface–giving users actionable insights without spending countless hours on data mining.

4. Not analyzing data deeply enough

Often when looking at analytics data, our own biases kick in. We look for data that confirms what we already think is true—or simply accept the easiest answers.

For example, imagine you’re trying to understand why customers drop out before completing your app’s onboarding sequence. To investigate what’s happening, you look at the user behavior flow and find that some users do complete onboarding—suggesting that there are no bugs with the app’s functionality.

Your initial conclusion is that the onboarding flow works and users simply get bored when completing it. But if you’d have looked further into the data, you’d have learned that a specific segment was experiencing the high drop-off rate: users on iOS. Taking data at face value can often lead you “off the scent” of what’s actually going wrong.

5. Just doing what everyone else is doing

Like any industry, software and mobile development has its own trends and movement. It can be tempting to track certain metrics, or jump to a specific conclusion about your data, just because it’s the current popular idea.

We’re all guilty of doing this sometimes—but be sure to base your important decisions on in-depth analysis and knowledge of your app.

6. Not looking at behavioral data

Product and marketing teams often rely heavily on numerical data when analyzing trends in their mobile app.

However, numerical data—like raw numbers around conversions or clicks—only gives you part of the story. In other words, it tells you what users are doing. In order to find the why behind the trends, you need take a closer look at customer journeys with tools like session replay and heatmaps or interaction maps, the next generation in heatmap tools.

7. Relying solely on mobile analytics

Depending on your business, it can be helpful to analyze user behavior across channels and platforms. This is particularly true for e-commerce, where users may interact with blogs, desktop websites, emails and your app before finally purchasing.

8. Choosing difficult criteria to identify DAUs (daily active users)

Measuring DAUs is an effective way to assess your app’s growth, but be careful not to overcomplicate your definition of a DAU. If your DAU criteria filter out everyone except power users, you can’t effectively measure the growth of your app. What’s more, you may miss the opportunity to learn more about important segments.

9. Not naming your event parameters carefully

When setting up your analytics, you’ll have the option to track specific events—like when a user clicks “add to cart” or uses a key feature.

Many analytics platforms will give you the option to name these events and their categories. Be sure to give them meaningful names at the moment of setup, or you’ll struggle to understand your reports later.

10. Not considering different team’s needs

Your product, marketing, design and customer success teams will all have different goals for mobile analytics data. Rather than creating a general dataset for the whole company, consult with each team to find out what metrics they need.

Important mobile app analytics KPIs to track

Mobile analytics tools give you the ability to measure almost any KPI you could think of. However, most companies focus on KPIs that help them measure engagement, retention and revenue generation, such as:

  • App store ranking. See where your app ranks for relevant search terms.

  • Downloads and installs. Track these metrics to see what percentage of visitors go on to become users of your app.

  • Uninstalls. Understand how frequently users uninstall your app to assess customer satisfaction and calculate churn rates.

  • In-app purchases. Find out how often customers buy, and how much they spend, then try to improve your baseline over time.

  • Plan upgrades. Find out how many users switch from free to paid plans.

  • Ad clicks. Track how often users click ads and which positions get the most clicks.

  • Daily average users (DAU) and monthly average users (MAU). See how your app’s engaged user base changes over time.

  • Monthly average users (MAU). Track monthly users to see how your app’s popularity and engagement changes from quarter to quarter.

  • Average session length. See how long users stay engaged with your app during a typical session.

  • Custom events. Track specific actions relevant to your goals—like when a user clicks “add to cart” or uses a core feature.

When it comes to using mobile analytics, the skill is to interpret these metrics correctly for your business.

For example, a long average session length is good news for a gaming app. But for banking apps designed to offer fast assistance, a long average session length could indicate a usability problem. A good app engagement tool can help you interpret these metrics.

Read our Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Mobile App to learn more about how tracking KPIs can unlock helpful insights.

What mobile app analytics tools do you need to get started?

There are many mobile app analytics tools on the market today, so we've compiled a list to help you find the one that best fits your company's goals and needs.

1. Glassbox

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Glassbox is a digital experience intelligence platform that helps you understand and optimize user journeys.

It allows you to see the big picture of what’s happening inside your app, with detailed visualizations and performance reports. And to uncover the why behind key trends, Glassbox gives you a close-up look at the journeys of audience segments and individual users.

What’s more, Glassbox uses a lightweight SDK that gives you access to a suite of analytics tools without slowing your app down.

Features: Mobile app analytics, session replay, heatmaps and interactions maps, funnel analysis, customer journey mapping, struggle & error analysis, product analytics, advanced privacy and security features

2. Google Firebase

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Source: Firebase

Firebase is an app developer platform backed by Google. It’s designed to help you build apps that meet Google’s standards—and on top of this, it offers free access to a range of helpful mobile app analytics tools.

Included in Firebase is Crashlytics, a tool which helps you resolve issues and find out why crashes occurred. The platform also enables Google Analytics for Firebase, which is a free app measurement solution.

Features: Crash reporting, event tracking, performance monitoring, app usage monitoring

3. Google AdMob

Source: Google

AdMob is Google’s advertising platform for mobile apps. Designed specifically for app developers, it allows you to monetize your app by displaying ads from Google Ads and other third-party ad buyers.

The platform also allows you to place your own ads so you can market your app elsewhere. Google AdMob is free to use and syncs with Google Firebase to give you a range of mobile app analytics tools.

Features: Automated ad bidding, multiple ad formats, analytics and reporting, easy integration through the AdMob SDK

4. Apple App Analytics

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Source: App Store Connect

App Analytics is a mobile app analytics tool created by Apple. Part of a larger suite of tools called App Store Connect, it shows you how people are engaging with your app in the Apple store.

While it only works with iOS apps, the tool provides fundamental insights you can use to make marketing and product decisions. Learn how visitors discover your app, what channels bring visitors to your product page, what your app store conversion rate is and much more.

Features: Marketing campaign analysis, app store conversion insights, user engagement metrics, sales and trends reports

Maximizing mobile potential: Integrating Google Analytics with digital experience intelligence

Integrating Google Analytics with mobile analytics within a digital experience intelligence platform can offer several benefits, enhancing your ability to understand and optimize the digital experience for mobile users. Here are some advantages of this integration:

  1. Comprehensive user insights: By combining Google Analytics and mobile analytics within a DXI platform, you gain a more comprehensive view of user behavior across different devices and platforms. This helps you better understand how users interact with your website or app, no matter where they access it.
  2. Cross-device tracking: DXI can help bridge the gap between different devices and track users as they switch from mobile to desktop or other devices. This allows you to create a seamless and personalized user experience, as you have a more complete view of their journey.
  3. Deeper user engagement analysis: Integrating DXI enables you to delve deeper into user engagement metrics and behavioral analytics on mobile platforms. You can track interactions, user flows, and in-app actions to gain insights into what drives user engagement and causes drop-offs.
  4. Mobile app performance: You can monitor the performance of your mobile app, identifying issues like slow load times, app crashes or navigation problems. This information helps you enhance the mobile app experience to keep users engaged and satisfied.
  5. Conversion path analysis: With DXI, you can analyze the entire conversion path for mobile users and set up conversion funnels from the initial visit to the final conversion. This allows you to identify the critical touchpoints and potential bottlenecks in the mobile user journey.
  6. Personalization: By combining the data from Google Analytics and mobile analytics, you can create more personalized and relevant experiences for mobile users. Understand their preferences and tailor content or offers to match their needs.
  7. Real-time user monitoring (RUM): DXI often includes real-time monitoring and alerts. You can quickly identify and address issues on your mobile platform to ensure users have a smooth experience, which can positively impact engagement and retention.
  8. A/B testing and experimentation: Integrating these tools allows you to seamlessly conduct A/B tests and experiments on your mobile platform. This helps you optimize the mobile user experience and improve engagement based on data-driven insights.
  9. Data validation: Ensure that the data from mobile analytics is accurately tracked and reported in Google Analytics, providing a consistent and reliable source of data for analysis.
  10. Holistic insights: The integration of Google Analytics and mobile analytics through DXI provides a more holistic view of your customers’ digital experiences, helping you make informed decisions and optimizations to improve user engagement and overall digital experience.

Integrating Google Analytics mobile app metrics with mobile analytics within a DXI platform helps you gain a deeper and more unified understanding of user behavior across devices, leading to improved mobile engagement, better user experiences and higher conversion rates. This data synergy empowers you to make data-driven decisions and continually enhance the mobile aspect of your digital strategy.

3 questions you should ask before selecting a mobile analytics solution

Q: How does the solution meet our privacy and compliance needs?

Data security and privacy is a growing concern for consumers and businesses alike. According to Pew research, 79% of Americans are concerned about how their data is used. At the same time, industries like finance and healthcare are seeing increasingly strict requirements for handling data securely.

So when it comes to analytics for mobile apps, you need tools that can guarantee data privacy—and meet the compliance needs of your industry.

Glassbox has built-in privacy controls that actively omit and mask secure data, such as bank details, from session replay. We are the only digital experience intelligence provider to be ISO 22701 certified, and are compliant with regulations including HIPAA, GLBA, PCI, CCPA and GDPR.

Q: How much free time do we have for mobile analytics?

In fast-paced industries like software development, teams are under pressure to work quickly. However, most app analytics tools require you to manually tag page elements, events and conversion points in order to track key metrics.

Over the course of a year, these actions could add up to days, weeks or even months. And if you don’t tag a specific screen or event after a mobile app update, you won’t have data on that element available for funnel analysis later.

With Glassbox, you capture 100% of sessions and 100% of session events without any manual tagging. The platform captures every event, including user behaviors and technical events, so you can make sense of your data while taking back your time.


Q: Will additional SDKs slow our app down?

Software development kits (SDKs) help you add features and functionality to your app without custom coding. But while they cut down on development time, they can also increase your app’s size and slow down its performance.

The average app leverages more than 17 separate SDKs, and each of them requires monitoring and updates. And if you don’t perform regular upkeep on your SDKs, you risk viruses, malware, crashes and performance issues—also called SDK fatigue.

All this means that when it’s time to choose a mobile analytics solution, the size and quantity of SDKs you use is important.

With Glassbox, there’s no need to deploy three separate SDKs for qualitative, quantitative, crash analytics. Our proven lightweight SDK covers all three, giving you the analytics functionality you need without affecting app performance.

Use Glassbox to find the insights hidden in your data

You’re already gathering a whole lot of data—and that means there are some game-changing insights waiting for you. But with so much information to sort through, analyzing your data can feel like an uphill struggle.

Fortunately, the right tools can help you solve your mobile challenges faster. With Glassbox, you can capture, analyze and visualize 100% of your data—and get answers to the most difficult questions about your product and audience.

> Get a demo


Frequently Asked Questions about Mobile App Analytics.

What is mobile analytics?

Mobile analytics means using data to understand how well an app serves its users. It involves measuring the app’s performance and how users interact with it. App teams can then analyze this data to learn how they can solve issues, improve user journeys and generate more revenue.

What is the difference between mobile analytics and web analytics?

Web analytics focuses on desktop websites, while mobile analytics are concerned with mobile apps and websites. Mobile analytics also look at some data that web analytics does not—like app store ranking, downloads and installs, in-app purchases, and app loading speed.

Why do companies use mobile analytics?

Companies use mobile analytics to understand how people are using their app. This allows app teams to:

  • Improve the user interface

  • Prioritize feature development

  • Fix crashes

  • Optimize performance

What are the types of mobile analytics?

There are five types of mobile analytics, each focused on a key aspect of your app’s operation:

  • Mobile advertising analytics

  • App monetization analytics

  • Performance analytics

  • In-app engagement analytics

  • App store analytics

What are mobile app analytics tools?

Mobile analytics tools gather and analyze data that show you how well your app serves users. This includes tracking the app’s performance—like its loading speed and error rates—along with user behaviors like clicks and purchases.

Mobile analytics tools can also look at data from outside the app itself, such as the app’s ranking and reviews in app stores.