Tracking analytics for mobile apps: The data CIOs need to capture

By James O'Brien

For chief information officers (CIOs), the mobile app is a window to consumer behavior.

Thanks to tracking analytics, apps are a veritable data mine, rich with information for evaluating a development team’s product deployment, adoption progress and responsiveness to customer needs and next steps. To capitalize on the mobile app advantage, CIOs need to hone in on the kind of data that serves tracking analytics best. Read on for some key approaches to identifying and using the metrics mobile apps bring to bear.

User Behavior Is the Primary Data Resource

Working with user-generated data allows you to tap into the details of how customers engage with your company’s mobile apps. Entrepreneur and investor Dave McClure, who is deeply rooted in the Silicon Valley startup space, suggests categorizing user data along the following lines: acquisition, activation, retention, referral and revenue. Where do your users come from? How many of them are engaging in positive ways with your app? How many re-engage after their initial experience? Do users recommend the app to others? What kinds of behaviors can your team work to monetize?

Beta Testers Matter, Too

Tracking analytics when mobile apps are flight-ready and released to the public is only one part of the project. CIOs should encourage data gathering and analysis all the way up the pipeline to beta testers. At this point in the app development life cycle, early ideas and innovation can emerge from the ways apps work — and don’t work — for primary waves of potential adopters.

Real-Time Data Is Critical in the Mobile App Space

“To accurately track performance and support intelligent decision-making, mobile marketers need to be updated in real time with information that identifies the reasons behind the numbers,” according to Business 2 Community. Time is both money and the determining factor in whether an app can retain its adopters. If your tracking analytics reap only next-day actionable data, your team stands to lose users frustrated with the app’s potential flaws. Mobile users almost always have other options than the solution you provide. Real-time data drives the opportunity to capture and keep consumers before they jump to a competitor’s app.

CIOs Need to Prioritize Clean Data

Pushing for real-time data doesn’t let CIOs off the hook for ensuring that data is clean and pure. Agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are paying more attention to how algorithms impact people. The FTC is especially on the alert for economic discrimination against applicants. For example, they may crack down on an algorithm that highlights certain groups as default risks.

The mobile space stands to get more interesting in the coming months. For example, upcoming developments in content blocking may curtail some of the key marketing tools used to measure and communicate with customers, according to The Next Web. With tracking analytics in place, the user marketplace is a learning tool for companies and their creative developers, but it will be up to CIOs to track changes such as these. The CIO will continue to play a crucial role in keeping user behavior information flowing to the app-building teams that need to use it.

Written By

James O'Brien

Technology Reporter

For the past half decade, James O'Brien has covered technology and the ways it intersects with our lives and work. His points of focus include data analytics, the mobile sector, driver-less cars, the Internet of Things, IT infrastructure, data security, 3-D printing, and technology…

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