Analysing Mobile Apps – Overview

This month I’d like to present a mini-series about tracking and analysing mobile apps.

This mini-series should give you everything you need if your job requires you to analyse your mobile apps. Some parts are relevant for the business (the friendly marketer as well as product management), some are downright for the developer who builds the app.

The whole story spans 5 posts, which means I should make an index. Here are the parts and who they are written for:

  1. Part — the Overview — you’re reading it right now. Intended to be the backbone, index, or guide.
  2. Part — Prerequisites — explains what you need to do before you start analysing and/or coding. Helpful for both, business and development. You’ve both got things to set up!
  3. Part — Tagging to a Reasonable Level — tells you how to add the libraries and what to do with them. Definitely aimed at developers.
  4. Part — Debugging — shows you some ways to troubleshoot the stuff you write. For developers who make mistakes, i.e. all of you.
  5. Part — Analysing — gives a quick overview of the reports that you get as a result of the coding shown in the other parts. For business users and developers! Coders, it makes sense for you to understand this!


I see two big reasons why analysing apps is crucial:

  • People are using apps quite a lot. It’s not like web sites are being swept away or will soon be obsolete, but if you ignore what happens in your app, you miss more and more of your customers’ interactions.
  • Apps are just different enough from web sites that we should figure out very precisely how people are using them. Just extrapolating web behaviour doesn’t quite cut it anymore.

While in principle, any app on any platform could be measured, there are native libraries for some of the ecosystems out in the market that will make the life of a developer a lot easier. At the time of writing (July 2014), these are for:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • PhoneGap (for iOS and Android)
  • WinRT for Windows 8
  • Windows Phone 8
  • OS X
  • Blackberry 10

The mini-series will focus on v4.x of the libraries, which is available for iOS, Android, Phonegap and Blackberry 10 right now.

We’ll also look at Adobe Mobile Services instead of the usual Reports & Analytics user interface. There are lots of good reasons for that, both for business users and developers.


My IDE of choice has been eclipse ever since I decided to give Java a try in 1999 and emacs and I sort of drifted apart in the process. You have probably noticed that I have posted screenshots of Android projects in eclipse in the past.

For this mini-series, I have decided to use Android Studio. I have no idea whether it is better than eclipse and I think I don’t even want to know. I just want to show more than one option, and Android Studio seems to be the big player next to eclipse, so here we go.

I will use the latest AppMeasurment library, currently 4.1.6, and I will use Android for all examples, because I do not have iOS and can therefore not run XCode.

Instead of Charles, I’ll be using Bloodhound this time. Even though I love Charles. You might have noticed.

The sample app that I will be building will do nothing useful at all. And that’s a promise!

I’ll post frequently, so we should get the whole mini-series done quickly. Too much space between the articles and everybody would just be too frustrated, including me.

12 thoughts on “Analysing Mobile Apps – Overview

  1. Hi Jan,
    I’m very excited and can’t wait to read the whole story, because I’m not staisfied with the mobile tagging’ & analyzing possibilities and their quality given by Adobe. Hoping you play around with widgets, pages/views, actions and of course lifetime metrics. So let’s see which way you’ll go and which solution/workaround you’ll take, perhaps it’ll change my point of view and redesign the implementation 🙂



  2. Hi Jan,

    Thanks for this wonderful series. Really excited and looking forward for the full series. I am sure it will be very much useful for me personally and also for our business.

    Note: You missed the latest SDK version by a few hours. Just now version 4.1.7 is released 😉

    – Jills


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