Tracking iPhone/Android App Usage with Google Analytics

Yesterday, Google announced the Google Analytics for Mobile Apps. What this adds, is the ability for you to track how your users are using your Mobile App.

Current Support

Analytics for Mobile Apps SDK is currently available for Android and iPhone use. The SDK currently tracks Events and Page Views.

  • Pageviews – The standard unit of measure for a traditional web site. It is used to calculate visits, session length, and bounce rate.
  • Events – The method used to track user interaction of a web site. It is used to track button clicks and similar user generated interactions. Events are grouped using categories and may also use per-event labels, which provides flexibility in reporting. For example, a multimedia app could could have play/stop/pause actions for its video category and assign a label for each video name.

Important Notes

The major downside to this type of tracking and currently all usage tracking methods, is the requirement of an Internet Connection. The connection is needed to upload the data to the Google Analytics servers for your research. The SDK will continue to track usage, but it will not be able to upload any data without a connection. This means, WIFI on an iPod Touch or either 3G or Edge on an iPhone or Android-based phone.

Also, Google requires that “you must indicate to your users, either in the application itself or in your terms of service, that you reserve the right to anonymously track and report a user’s activity inside of your app.” Something you should be doing without Google asking you somewhere in your Terms of Use agreement.

Current Known Issues

  • Possibly inaccurate timestamps – Timestamps are recorded at the time the application dispatches to Google Analytics, so if a user experiences long periods of offline use, the timestamps may not be 100% accurate.
  • Referrals/Traffic Sources – It is currently only possible to trace the campaign/referral source of an app download on Android. iPhone tracing is not currently available.

Instructions on how to add Google Analytics to your iPhone or Android app are available on the Analytics Tracking for Mobile Apps site.


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