iTunes Connect Analytics Provides Marketing Insight for Developers

Apple unveiled iTunes Connect Analytics at the Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday. The first glimpse of the web-based tool looks promising considering Apple’s lackluster history of providing data to developers.

iTunes Connect Analytics will give app developers insight into their app performance, including App Store views, engagement and retention numbers. While all of this data is obtainable through third-party SDKs, it has never come directly from Apple. Currently, only downloads and sales figures are passed along in iTunes Connect’s Sales & Trends.

Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff posted a photo of iTunes Connect Analytics from a side session after Monday’s keynote. In the photo, you can see three menu options: Metrics, Sources, Retention.

Metrics provide a number that’s been widely desired: App Store Views. With millions of app users hitting the App Store each day, there’s always been a question mark as to how many people actually see an App Store listing. If not many, it means you need a new app store optimization strategy. If your app is getting lots of views, but few downloads, it means you need to refine your App Store presence — screenshots, description, app icon, etc.. Figuring out conversion (views divided by downloads) will be helpful in refining one’s organic marketing strategy.

Among the other data points under Metrics include App Units (i.e. Downloads), In-App Purchases, Sales, Average Sales, Installations, Active Devices, Sessions and Stickiness.

I don’t know what the menu option Sources contains, but I would love if it’s referral traffic. My guess is it will show how much traffic you receive from App Store search versus direct linking. Perhaps even traffic from smart app banners. That would be insightful enough, right? For now, maybe.

If you look closely at the Ulanoff’s photo, the dropdown reads “Email Campaign May.” This could just be a report of a defined period of time when a marketing campaign was run. However, if Apple gets into the referral attribution market, that would be one of the biggest breakthroughs from today’s session.

The final menu option is Retention, another data point that has been obtainable through third-party integrations. Nevertheless, what’s important about this is the information contained in the iTunes Connect Analytics dashboard is the same data that Apple uses in their App Store algorithm.

For example, if your downloads are down, but retention and engagement is up, and so is your search ranking, Apple is rewarding you for having a loyal audience. If downloads are up significantly following a burst marketing campaign, but retention is obsolete, your search ranking for keywords might not change much. This is the same data Apple is looking at to determine your place in search.

One final point is that we never knew how much app data Apple really has. iTunes Connect Analytics shows us they have more than many of us have given them credit for. This new analytics portal will serve as valuable insight into our apps and becomes one more helpful piece of information as we try to gain exposure in their App Store.

No release date has been set for iTunes Connect Analytics.

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