AWS Mobile Blog

The Fastest Way to Analytics for Your iOS App

You just got a new customer for your mobile app. Congratulations! But be careful not to celebrate too early. Did you know that nearly 25% of customers never revisit an app after initial use? After a full month, the fall-off is nearly total. What happened?

Analytics are no longer an option for mobile developers—they’re a requirement if you want your app to succeed. Gaining and keeping mobile customers is expensive and challenging. Developers are rapidly turning to analytics to drive their customer acquisition and retention strategies.

In this blog post, we discuss why analytics are so important for acquiring and retaining mobile app customers, what type of data you should track, and how to begin. Let’s get started.

Why mobile analytics are important

Analytics play a huge role in two of the most important areas for mobile app growth and success: acquisition and retention.

Acquiring iOS customers is expensive, with an average cost of $7.52 per customer! The moment you gain that customer, retention efforts must begin. To retain customers, you need to understand and engage them. Understanding customer segments and behavior are key to defining the right customer experience.

Furthermore, analytics insights help you prioritize new features, help you decide which performance improvements to make, and allows you reach out to customers based on their usage. You can even use analytics data to reevaluate the business purpose and ROI of your app.

What analytics to track

We talked about how customer demographics (or segments) can be used and correlated with higher retention and how you can use those findings to acquire new customers.

Start by tracking customer demographics such as device type, OS, app version, and session length. Each of these metrics provides insights about your audience. Another dataset includes customer behavior trends. These help you understand each customer’s level of engagement, purchase activity, loyalty factor, and more.

How to begin tracking analytics

We talked about the importance of collecting customer demographics and behavior trends to identify and correlate retention and guide acquisition efforts for your mobile app. How can you start today?

First, engage with a cloud provider. You need infrastructure that scales and enables you to store large amounts of data for low cost. To integrate analytics, the best approach is to use an SDK from your cloud analytics provider. The SDK should be optimized for offline event storage (caching). It should store and forward events to the server when the app is connected and idle. In addition, a great SDK collects session data and all the required demographics automatically when your app is first launched. You integrate the SDK into your app and set up some optional custom events. The SDK sends raw analytics to a service endpoint that collects and aggregates your data.

Here’s how to use the AWS Mobile SDK for iOS with Amazon Pinpoint to track customer demographics and behavior today:

To enable mobile analytics for your app

  1. Sign in to the AWS Mobile Hub console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/mobilehub/.
  2. Create a Mobile Hub project.
  3. Choose Messaging & Analytics and then choose enable Analytics.

Now you are ready to integrate analytics into your app.

To collect analytics for your app

  1. Choose integrate from the left panel of the Mobile Hub console.
  2. Choose the iOS Swift tab and choose OPTION 2 for integrating the analytics SDK into your app.
  3. Download the SDK and helper code, and then follow the instructions for integrating the SDK and helper code into your existing app.

Let’s explore analytics for a sample notes app on iOS

Using a simple iOS notes sample starter app, we enabled the Messaging & Analytics feature in AWS Mobile Hub. We then followed the integration instructions to include the SDK and helper code into the app to immediately start tracking customer demographics and behavior. We also added a custom event to track the number of new notes created (see the code below). Here’s what the aggregated data collected looks like in the Amazon Pinpoint console a few minutes after the app was first launched.

[User Demographics]

[User Behavior] – custom event

*The function code is a custom event that is called when a new note is created.

In conclusion

  • Use analytics to make informed choices that help you acquire and retain mobile app customers.
  • Track both customer demographics and customer behavior trends to gain useful insights that guide you in building a compelling app experience.
  • Choose a reliable cloud service that provides a native mobile SDK and provides you with control over your own raw data. The SDK must provide methods to analyze, engage, and convert your customers based on the data you collect.