Using Google Analytics to Track Use of an Android Application

No matter what amazing Android App developers may code, there is often some difficulty in determining what features of the app are actually being used by the app’s users.  While it is relatively easy to track downloads via the Google Play store, and one might suggest that users will report crashes via reviews of the app, it still leaves the challenge of determining how users interact with the device.

That is, it was challenging until now.

Enter Google Analytics

If you’ve ever done any web development work, you have likely used Google Analytics to track traffic and flows through a website.  But what you may not know is that it is just as easy to track an Android or iOS App with the same tool.

If you create an account on Google Analytics, one of the first things that you’ll be asked is if you want to track a website or a mobile app.  We’re going to step out on a limb and suggest that you should select “track a mobile app”.

To do this, just head to http://www.google.com/analytics/mobile/, and create an account.  Interestingly, you’re not limited to just Android app tracking – you should see options to track iOS and Windows Mobile apps as well.

Once you have everything configured, you can use Google Analytics to track things like new and active users, devices used and operating system versions.  All great stuff to know if you’re thinking about creating an update or might need to patch a bug.  You can also use it to track conversions of your goals – maybe an in app advertisement’s click through rate – or in-app purchases.

Give me my Engagement Report – let’s see how the masses are interacting with the app

There are plenty of ways to track engagement, but we’re going to assume that you’re looking for a little bit more than an activation report.  Here are some of the highlights:

User Behavior – Find out how often your users use the app.  From this you can get a sense of loyalty to your app, and break down users into “loyalty groups” – that could be by location, age, gender or a mix of those attributes.

Use Google Analytics to see how users interact with your Mobile Apps

Tracking your app’s user engagement is a snap with Google Analytics

Track the Engagement Flow – What happens after they launch the app? Do they immediately start using it as intended, or are they always going to the help/options section? This can shed some light on how others perceive your functionality and how intuitive your app really is. It’s a painful truth – you know how to use your app because you wrote it. This is a great way to learn how the newbies view the proceedings.

Android App User Flow Chart

Access the user flow chart to see how the user moves through the app

Business Impact Reporting: Determine of the users are reaching your desired goals

Goaltending – Set up some goals and conversion events in your app, like using it for 15 minutes or clicking on a sponsor’s advertisement. If no one is converting to your desired goals, you may have some issues with the app or the interface that need to be resolved, pronto.

Establish goals in Google Analytics for your mobile app

Establish goals in Google Analytics and then track if they are being reached.

There are a number of resources that can give you the need-to-knows on how to implement Google Analytics for your mobile apps. We suggest taking a look at the Android Cookbook website for some fantastic insight – http://androidcookbook.com/Recipe.seam?recipeId=1503

Have you been using Google Analytics in your applications? Do you find it worth the trouble? Are you getting actionable data? Let us know in the discussion section below.

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