App Store Roundtable: Analytics


For this installment of the App Store Roundtable, we talked to developers about analytics. On the web we’re spoiled when it comes to analytics. Simple plug-ins allow us to track where visitors come from, and what they look at. We can also use this information to track purchases and referrals over many months. It’s a different story in the App Store (s aapl), and many developers feel that the lack of quality analytics is hindering their marketing efforts.

Why don’t I know ANYTHING about the people that are looking at my store front. The biggest one is how many people that click on my app, actually buy it. I would love to compare the performance of different screenshots, especially the first one, and see what kind of conversion rate I’m getting. What about how many people are clicking through to my site, and how many of those go back and buy? Or what percent of my customers are reading more reviews than those on the front page?

— Evan McMahon of Veiled Games, developer of Up There

Absolutely! Not knowing where sales are coming from hurts us in two different ways:

1. Hard to tune our marketing strategies. What’s working and what’s not working? How much is it coming from a lite version vs. ads vs. reviews? Impossible to tell.

2. Impossible to set up sales-based partnerships. I actually talked to some flower companies about doing something together for Flower Garden. The idea being they can advertise Flower Garden in their web site or emails and they get a percentage of those sales. But we have no way of tracking how many sales came from there!

— Noel Llopis of Snappy Touch, developer of Flower Garden

We’ve had some success using the LinkShare affiliate program to track an app cross-promotion experiment that I ran with my friend – it was a little “ad” in Scramboni for another app that helps you learn SAT-grade words. We were able to get something like a 12% click-to-purchase ratio. LinkShare allows you to track marketing efforts from clickthroughs to purchasing, and gives you a commission on every copy sold.

— Peter Bakhyryev of Byteclub, developer of Scramboni

I go to great lengths to try to track the efficacy of my marketing efforts. I can track data right up to the point where a user enters the app store, but at that point it’s a black box. How many users who visit my app page buy the app? How many users search for a lite version after visiting the full version page? How many users who downloaded the Lite version bought the paid version? How many users found my app’s page because of a search? All of this data would make me feel more confident in spending more money on advertising and marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate how much information we get right now, but I’d love to have a lot more.

— Owen Goss of Streaming Colour Studios, developer of Dapple

Apple does a great job of taking care of things once an app arrives in the store itself, but they expect the developer to take care of the marketing aspect after that. It sounds like a reasonable proposition, but the reality is that there isn’t enough information available to developers to effectively do that for reasonable costs (particularly for the price tier 4 and lower apps). It’s essentially impossible to tell what marketing efforts have an effect on sales and which do not.

— Adam Byram, developer of Budgee

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If you’re an iPhone developer with App Store experience and would like to participate by sharing some opinions in future App Store Roundtables, please get in touch via our contact form.