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3 Mobile Analytics Platforms for Measuring User Engagement

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The cable television industry is in real trouble. Flurry Analytics and the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics found that in 2015, the average U.S. consumer spent 168 minutes each day watching television and 198 minutes per day engaged in mobile apps. And in 2014, a comScore whitepaper reported that total mobile usage officially outweighed desktop computer usage, 60 percent to 40 percent respectively.

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So while it's undisputed that mobile apps are big, they can only remain heavy-hitters as long as they remain relevant, and the best way to know that is through proper measurement and analytics. In other words, you don't know if you have a successful app if you're not measuring how users engage with it.

Related: 4 Ways to Use Mobile to Skyrocket Sales

A 2014 Aberdeen Group study found companies using mobile analytics reported an 11.6 percent increase in brand awareness, and an 11.2 percent increase in return on marketing investment (ROMI). Conversely, those companies lacking a mobile-specific analytics strategy reported a 12.9 percent decrease in brand awareness.

If you've invested in mobile technology, you can't afford not to use analytics in your technology stack. Gathering analytics will not only show customer usage patterns, but it will allow you -- as a business owner or chief marketing officer -- to tailor your marketing strategy to those patterns, making clear decisions driven by real data. You also just might learn something surprising about your customers.

For instance, how are people finding your app? A recent report from Data "N Charts looking at the customer journey found that 52 percent of all mobile app installs were a result of customers simply browsing their online app stores with the balance discovering apps based on advertising, blogs and word of mouth.

Whether yours is a small business or you run a Fortune 500 company, here are three analytics tools that can do the measuring for you.

1. AppSee mobile analytics.

Integrating the AppSee software development kit (SDK) into your iOS or Android-based app allows you to improve your user experience through what AppSee calls a "simple and powerful visual in-app analytics platform."

The User Recordings feature allows developers to watch video recordings of user sessions, capturing everything from screen swipes to the amount of time users spend in the app. Touch Heat Maps is a feature that captures all taps, swipes and gestures to understand what interests users and what is being ignored. This allows you or your developer to create a more streamlined user experience and ditch anything that's not working.

Related: Tweak Your Mobile Marketing With These Can't-Miss Strategies

The program's Realtime In-App Analytics measures where users are spending the bulk of their time, which screens have high quit rates and which screens are problematic, while conversion funnels break down the successes or failures of such steps as logins, payments, and abandoned shopping carts.

What sets it apart: AppSee records all actions and automatically measures all user events, so you don't have to pre-define events. The complex analytics tool doesn't simply give you numbers; it distils those numbers down so you understand the reasons why a user abandons an app.

AppSee offers a comprehensive demo on its site along with special startup pricing and an enterprise premium plan.

2. Adobe Analytics.

It's already a publishing platform powerhouse, so it's no surprise that Adobe threw its hat in the analytics ring with a suite of integrated mobile tools. Adobe's Experience Manager helps build apps while Adobe Analytics measures them … and then the company's Marketing Cloud product helps to optimize your ROI.

In addition to delivering visual results, the Adobe product uses a single method of data collection for native or hybrid apps while providing detailed measurements and insights into everything from cohort analysis and geolocation to retention length, crashes, and trends on session length and user engagement.

Though unpublished online, users report that pricing runs about $5,000 per month.

3. Flurry.

Recently acquired by the Yahoo Developer Suite, Flurry's free mobile analytics tool provides an excellent starting point for small businesses. With Flurry, you'll get the basics on audience demographics, session times, and user preferences. The easy-to-understand tool is widely used by big companies like Skype and Facebook. It provides real-time data, and offers cohort analysis.

But, at the price point -- free -- (the company makes its money by recommending apps to users from whom they collect information), it's still a worthy player in the mobile apps measuring interface.

Related: 4 Marketing Analytics Tools That Are Shaping the Industry

There are, of course, plenty of other worthy apps analytics programs out there. These programs give you as a marketer or high-level decision maker a clearly defined edge to better understand customer preferences while capturing rich data at a granular level. Using a mobile analytics tool enables you to figure out what's working and streamline that user experience to not only acquire new users but to retain loyal customers.

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