How Analytics Can Help Drive the Success of Your App

3. Increase Your Retention and Lifetime Value with Cohorts

  • The keys to your app’s success are retention and lifetime value of customers. To effectively measure these metrics, you need to look at  cohorts, a marketing term for groups of people who share experiences, actions or other factors, which can help you compare the actions of people using your app at different points in time.
  • Understanding lifetime value is critical for mobile apps because it often costs you more upfront to acquire a new customer than you can earn back from them in their first month of use.

In the above example from Facebook Analytics for Apps, you can see the retention of people that install on a specific day and continue using the app days later. Looking down the chart, you can see  how the darker colors are indicating that retention is higher than normal on certain days. For instance on October 5th, retention was higher than normal. It's possible that on this day, the developer tested using a promotion that resulted in increased engagement in their app.

In the above example, the developer is measuring the lifetime value based on people who install their app on a specific date but make a purchase later. Overall, users monetize at higher rates later into their use of this app. But the February 10 and February 11 cohorts (in dark blue) show a new high in user spending.

Imagine you run an app that sells subscriptions for people to stream music and videos. You charge a subscription fee of $10/month to use your service. You can use a cohort to determine how much it’s worth to acquire a new customer, taking into account the average revenue per subscriber per month, estimated margins and monthly churn rate (the average percentage of people who cancel their subscription).

4. Improve Your Marketing Efficiency through Automation

  • To market your app and grow your audience, it’s important to focus on relevance, recency, and revenue. Looking at behavioral signals and continually building audiences based on your best customers helps you improve your overall marketing efficiency. Think of this as automation; By using analytics tools to focus on your proven highest-value customers and acquire more people, you can focus your efforts on other important issues.
  • Let’s explore two strategies that are key to a successful marketing strategy: acquisition and re-engagement.
    • Acquiring new customers is always challenging, but there are many tactics you can use to bring people into your app from organic options to paid marketing such as lookalike targeting. Lookalike targeting creates audiences that share similar characteristics as your your best customers. Automating this process will continue to attract audiences with the most potential for your app.

TinyCo wanted to drive mobile app installs and in-app purchases for its game, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. Using lookalike targeting the company was able to find other players similar to its existing high-value audience to effectively scale its reach and drive revenue. By incorporating this into its strategy, TinyCo saw an impressive 64% higher click to install rate and a 46% higher average revenue per purchasing user.

  • Re-engagement allows you to reach customers that have already expressed interest in your product through other channels, or customers that have lapsed in their app usage. Re-engagement is most effective when marketers leverage dynamic audiences and relevant creative. By automating re-engagement, you can continually locate--and potentially monetize--customers who have not yet engaged with your app.

Zynga wanted to re-engage lapsed players around the world for its game, FarmVille 2: Country Escape. To achieve its goal, Zynga targeted players who had lapsed. Zynga created lists of paying and non-paying players who hadn’t used FarmVille 2 for a while. To drive engagement and sales, Zynga advertised a 10% off discount using localized creative and messaging to better connect with a global audience. The mobile app ads and photo ads included a “Play Now” call-to-action button to encourage immediate action. The strategy proved successful, driving a 5.6X return on investment in 3 days and the mobile app saw re-engagement with 2,285 re-installs on new devices at $3.90 estimated Cost Per Install (eCPI).

Be sure to read the next Analytics article: How to Connect Klipfolio to RESTful APIs like Google Analytics


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