Some things are such forehead slappers, you've got to wonder what took so long for them to become reality. And when it comes to Google's long-overdue decision to offer Mobile App Analytics, no sentiment has ever been truer.
For the uninitiated, analytics is basically a breakdown of a site's traffic, with dishy details like how many visitors it gets, which webpages they're looking at, whether they stick around for a bit or bounce right out, how they're finding the site (via Google search, YouTube, or other referrers) and much, much more. There are several ways for web developers to get their hands on this data, with Google Analytics being one of the most common, but however you go about it, the information is crucial for anyone who runs a website or blog.
Well now, it seems that mobile app devs have (finally) been invited to the party. Sure, Google's standard analytics included some mobile web data before, but this beta-release is a spiffy new analytics reporting tool specifically geared for them. According to Product Manager JiaJing Wang, the change will be apparent from the get-go: The service asks if you want to track your website or mobile app. Choose the latter, and you'll get mobile application reports covering three key areas — acquisition and user metrics, engagement and outcome. For the first category, devs can track new and active users and user breakdowns across various software versions, devices and OS. Engagement analytics will include usage frequency, engagement flow and crash reports. And data relating to outcomes will cover things like conversion and in-app purchases.
Both iOS and Android devs will get the same reports, with one key difference: Developers with Google Play apps will also get reporting on which traffic sources are responsible for new downloads and conversions.
The explosion of mobile has been so well documented, that this announcement seems really, extremely, ridiculously late to the party. Still, I guess it's better late than never. The service debuts in beta for now, with a rolling admittance, but the company hopes to open things up by summer's end. (To sign up, click here.)
In related news, Google has also announced a new Android app to access analytics data. While an iOS version doesn't exist yet, the team hasn't ruled one out for the future.