Tips on Integrating an Analytics Solution and Tracking Events

03/30/12

At Apsalar, we’re focused on providing the most powerful set of discovery and actionable analytics for mobile app publishers to increase user engagement and revenue.  Our mission is to help our customers improve retention and increase monetization from engaged users.  We’ve launched an educational blog series to help developers understand the various types of analyses available to better measure user behavior and increase user engagement.  Catch up by starting here.

This week we’re getting back to the basics and answering the critical question: “I know I want an analytics solution, but how do I get started?”  It’s a question we’re constantly asked from both independent developers implementing analytics for the first time, to major app publishers with teams dedicated to crunching behavioral data.  With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to map out a simple guide to getting started with an analytics solution.  By the end of this post, you will know how to implement a solution and track behavioral events.

To start, you need to decide whether to integrate an SDK or an API.  These are two different methods for sending user data to Apsalar.  Most developers opt to use our SDK because it is extremely lightweight and offers specific built-in functionality such as offline session management.  Here is a very brief overview of how to use both:

  • SDK Option: An SDK is integrated directly into your app code and records events which are then sent to our servers. (For a more technical breakdown of the SDK implementation, see our documentation on integrating with iOS and Android.)
  • API Option: An API allows for the transmission of raw user data that you are collecting from your servers directly to our servers.  Once the data is received by us, it is processed and made available to you in the analytics dashboard and reports.

Setting up your app code to track behavioral events is easy.  First decide what events you want to track within your application.  These are the specific actions a user will trigger while using your app.  Three examples are “launch app,” “level up” and “in-app purchase.” Events can even be enriched with attributes.  For instance, “level up + level number,” or “In-app purchase + purchase price and SKU number.”  Your specific events depend on what type of app you have and what user actions will be most valuable to track.

Next, you will need to instrument your actual app code to define, register, and record event occurrences.  The good news is that you only need one simple line of code to do all three for each event in your app.  Once you’ve instrumented the events with our code, we’ll begin gathering that data which will be made available to you in the Apsalar dashboard and reports.  For more detailed information on the actual code and instrumentation process you will use, here are two links to documentation focused on instrumenting events.

A best practice when onboarding is to create a “test” account when evaluating the solution.  Then, once you’ve tested and are ready to go live, you can create a second production account.  This will eliminate any commingling of test data and live data.  Creating a second production account does not require you to start the integration from scratch; you will simply update the API Key & Secret from the test account if you are using our SDK.

After you’re done instrumenting events, you can use our Event Tracking Console to confirm that data is being sent properly.  This tool shows Apsalar API calls for session and event data sent by the Apsalar SDK or direct use of the Apsalar API.  Instead of waiting for data to be delivered to your account (data is refreshed 3-times per day) you have the ability to immediately see if instrumented events and sessions are being received by the Apsalar platform.

When you see that events are being delivered properly, all that is left to do is grab the new API Key & Secret from the production account and insert into your production app.  Then you are ready to submit your app for approval with Apsalar integrated!

And there you have it.  Implementing an analytics solution isn’t complicated, and the actionable insights you will receive from the data will have a measurable impact on how well you retain, engage and monetize your users.  Give it a try today for free on Apsalar.com.

Next week we’re going to show you how to develop an intelligent events strategy.

If you have any questions about setting up your events, feel free to drop me a line at ted at apsalar dot com.

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