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How your business goals affect your mobile application data collection

Mobile app analytics are free, more accurate than web analytics and a powerful tool to improve your business critical application. But sometimes you end up with a pile of data that you can’t act on. This happens when data collection has not been connected to the business goals of your application. If you just go with the “let’s track everything and figure out later what to do with the data” approach, you’re likely to monitor app downloads and users, but that’s about it. Or you drown in data and lose your focus. If you don’t know how your application connects to your business goals, you can’t take actions to improve your business. As I see it, mobile tracking brings the most value when planned.

We use a methodology built on a white paper by our lead web analyst Vincent Kermorgant. The core idea of the approach is to break down the overall goals into smaller ones and connect them to the mobile application resources, i.e. features. Each goal has its own Key Performance Indicators and relevant metrics to follow.

Define your business goals

You’ve probably already thought of your application’s business goals, so this should be quite straightforward. Ask yourself: why are you making this application? Where does the money come from? How does it save you money? Look at the problem from your client’s perspective, too: what would they do with the application? How do their and your goals match?

Divide business goals into subgoals

Sometimes business goals are on such a high level that  it makes sense to break them up into subgoals. For example, your business goal could be to improve customer engagement with your services so they’ll see more advertisements. If this is the case, providing interesting content, helping them contact you and find like-minded people would be relevant subgoals.

Connect subgoals to the features

Connecting the subgoals to the planned features of the application is often a very revealing process. You might find out that your application is missing some important features or that you have not correctly prioritized the features. Ask yourself “why”. What would make my customers spend more time with the application? Why would they contact my company? Why would they want to interact with other customers?

Measure the application with KPIs and metrics

Finally, connect each subgoal and the features that support it to Key Performance Indicators or metrics that are used to measure it. If your goal is, for example, to engage the users of your application, you might measure the content viewed on a visit or visits per user ratio. Our Key Performance Indicator should ideally be easily understandable and something you can act on. Everything you measure does not have to be a KPI: you can call them, for example, metrics. It’s best to reserve the name KPI for things that really matter - the ones you consider the core of your business success.

You get the idea: try to understand why you are developing the application, define its goals and make sure your application supports them. Yes, this does take some time, but it helps you avoid aiming for one thing, but putting your effort into developing something else instead. If you have trouble finding a KPI that you can act on and that has an impact on the success of your business, you might want to reconsider that part of your business case.