Google is bringing its Analytics to mobile apps — both Android and iOS-based — to help give developers greater visibility into their apps’ performance.
The free tool, called Mobile App Analytics, is being released in beta on Friday. The reports are designed to give developers (and the brands they work for) data about who is using the apps, how they’re using it and if that use is leading to purchases.
JiaJing Wang, product manager for the Google Analytics Team, says that such data is already out there, but not all in one place. “You can get information in different places,” he says, “but you can’t engage from it and make a determination from it.”
Google’s motivation for providing such analytics for mobile is obvious: For the first time, customers began spending more time on mobile apps than the web last year, according to Flurry Analytics. Google itself is also putting more of its R&D behind mobile as evidenced by the introduction of Google Glass and the Nexus 7 Android tablet. However, this is a case in which Google’s role as an information provider trumps its mission to spread Android products. Since Google is providing metrics for iOS as well as Android, the company is in theory helping Apple app makers as much as it is helping Android developers. (The one gap in Mobile App Analytics is for referral traffic; such information isn’t available for iOS apps.)
One possible end game for Analytics is that Google will get developers to become so dependent on the information that they will at some point be able to charge for it. At the moment, though, there is no charge at all. There’s not even a premium version. Says Wang: “We really want to make [Mobile App Analytics] available and make it helpful for marketers to have the end-to-end information. We wanted to make sure we didn’t only focus on the platform we own to help them make the best decisions.”