Crittercism App Success Playbook

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    App Success Playbook: The 5 Ms to Mobile App Success

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    Table of Contents

    Introduction ................................................................................................... 3

    1. Mission ..................................................................................................... 4

    2. Manage..................................................................................................... 4

    3. Measure.................................................................................................... 6

    4. Modify (A/B testing) .................................................................................. 10

    5. Monetize ................................................................................................... 12

    Conclusion .................................................................................................... 15

    About the Author:

    Dr. Einar Vollset is the owner of AppAftercare, an app maintenance and

    optimization service. Vollset co-founded the YC funded startup ReMail, which

    was subsequently acquired by Google. Previously, he was a visiting professor

    of Computer Science at Cornell University. If you have any questions or would

    like help in any way, dont hesitate to contact him at [email protected]

    or visit http://appaftercare.com.

    App Success Playbook

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    Introduction

    Getting your app approved in the AppStore is a monumental step, but it

    should only be the start of a longer, albeit less intense process. If building yourapp is a sprint, ensuring it is a success is a marathon. In this book, we outline

    the main components of mobile app success.

    Weve broken down each of the steps of app success into 5 sections,

    otherwise known as the 5 Ms. Your rst order of call is to clearly understand

    the mission of the app in terms of business objectives. The next step is tomanage the app to ensure it is stable and performing well. These steps are

    then followed by measuring and optimizing the apps performance regarding

    user engagement and conversion rates. If there are any changes that need

    to be made, the next step is to then modify the mobile app. If your app is a

    consumer-facing app, the last step is to look at ways of monetizing your app.

    App Success Playbook

    Mission

    Manage

    Modify

    Measure

    Monetize

    App Dev/Test/Release

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    App Success Playbook

    1. Mission

    Hopefully you have a good grasp on the reason you had a mobile app built

    in the rst place, but its worth going back to those business objectives nowthat your app has been released. Some questions to ask are: What does

    success look like for the app? and What business objectives are you looking

    to achieve?

    Some of the most common aims businesses have for releasing a mobile app are:

    Increasing customer engagement and extending existing services

    Increasing customer satisfaction

    Brand awareness and new customer acquisition

    Driving revenues through increased sales or expanded ad inventory

    Reduction of operating costs

    You should not only fully measure these metrics as they relate to your

    business objectives, but also be able to nimbly respond and pivot to optimize

    those metrics. An app without a well-dened set of business objectives is likely

    to fail, and success metrics such as downloads and opens are meaningless in

    the absence of a clear business goal.

    2. Manage

    The rubber hits the road once your app enters the AppStore. But because noapp launch is entirely without issues, it is important to actively manage these

    issues. To do so, there are two key aspects of your app you need to stay on

    top of: app crashes and server issues.

    App crashes are the number one reason why people abandon your app or

    leave a 1-star review. It is also almost inevitable that any reasonably sized

    app with more than a handful of users will experience crashes. However,

    without the right tools, it can be difcult to track down specic causes of these

    crashes. Compounding this problem is the fact that you may not know the

    percentage of your user base that is experiencing a specic crash, hence

    prioritizing can be tricky. Unfortunately, relying on Apple to report crashes ismassively misleading, and you are innitely better off going with a dedicated

    third-party solution.

    Managing server issues is just as important if your app depends on server

    side components (whether that is your own server, or a third party). Your app

    wont necessarily crash just because your server is returning an error, or a

    third party service is slow; it just leads to an unbearable user experience for

    your customers. This can ultimately lead to users quickly abandoning your app.

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    App Success Playbook

    Recommended Vendor:

    Crittercism is a one-stop shop for handling crash detection and monitoring

    server endpoints, both in-house and third party.

    Once youve installed the Crittercism SDK and pushed the update to the

    AppStore, youll be presented with a dashboard that gives all the information

    you need to effectively manage your app. As a rst step, try to get a sense the

    biggest offenders, or the worst crashes.

    Figure 1. This screenshot shows how you can easily prioritize issues by thenumber of users affected. Armed with this information, you can use Crittercism

    to get detailed stacktraces, diagnostics, and even re-trace the users steps

    leading up to the crash, saving you time trying to gure out what is occurring.

    Best Practice:

    After wrestling your worst crashes to the ground, you need a detailed view into

    whether service calls are slowing down your app.

    Figure 2. The screenshot below shows all web services your app interacts

    with (both your own or third party) broken down by latency, error rates, data

    transferred and more. It makes it easy to monitor and troubleshoot network orservice issues that affect app performance.

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    App Success Playbook

    3. Measure

    Once you have managed operational issues and are condent the app is

    performing optimally, it is now time to start measuring app store performance

    and user engagement.

    Optimizing app store performance requires monitoring two metrics:

    1. Discoverability and 2. Categories. Discoverability refers to how people nd

    your app in the app store, and is usually done through keywords. Categories

    is a bit more complicated where users will pick two categories that are chosen

    through competitive analysis and other methods, and measure how they are

    ranking in each of those categories. If needed, users can buy an ad to purchase

    a bump in category rankings.

    The second dimension to measure is user engagement. User engagement

    can be carved up into many facets, and the solution used to measure it is

    analytics. As an example, you may have the number of downloads, but how

    will you know if you are getting people to take the nal pay-off measure?

    More importantly, how will you get insight into all of the events that are

    occurring and nd where people in the funnel are falling off?

    The tools used for measuring analytics are different from mobile app

    performance management (mAPM) tools. mAPM solutions look at correctness

    to answer questions like, Are the app and associated services performing

    as we would expect? Analytics tools are used to answer questions such as:

    Okay, the mobile app is working correctly, but can we make it perform better

    in terms of our business objectives?

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    App Success Playbook

    It is important to understand that the two are complimentary, but the

    management aspect is foundational. For example, it would be suboptimal to

    start measuring and optimizing user engagement if the app is crashing for

    50% of your users.

    Recommended Vendors:

    Some of the tools that will help in this space are Applause Analytics, App

    Annie and appFigures. There is a lot you can do with App Annie, including

    diving deep into competitor intelligence, but the most popular features are App

    Ranking and App Reviews. These provide a check on whether rankings are

    trending up or down, and App Reviews give important clues to bigger issues

    that may need to be resolved.

    Figure 3. This App Annie screenshot shows the ranking of an app over its

    lifetime. Note, you can choose the time horizon. As you can see, the app was

    previously ranked in the top 100 nance apps, then slipped into obscurity.

    The reason for the decline was due to new, well funded entrants into the

    marketplace, and radical changes to AppStore search algorithms (after Apple

    bought Chomp, the app didnt rank as well). This highlights the kind of issues to

    keep abreast of.

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    App Success Playbook

    Figure 4. The screenshot below shows the most favorable reviews.

    The next important question you will want to answer is: Given that we want

    users to perform some conversion action, such as buying an upgrade or

    cli

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