Apple Services iOS Developers With New App Store Analytics

Apple will soon give developers more tools to help them make money. 

At its Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday, Apple announced an update to iTunes Connect, its dashboard that helps developers manage apps, advertising campaigns, bug testing, banking, in-app purchases and more. Apple will update iTunes Connect with a fresh look later this year as well as provide a new analytics dashboard to track users visit and downloads.

“Most importantly, we are adding variable analytics,” said Apple’s apple vice president OS 10 platform experience Andreas Wendker at the WWDC Platforms State Of The Union address. “These analytics will tell you how many people visited your App Store pages. How many users went on and purchased your app, how many remained active over time. And best of all, connecting all of this information displayed right to iOS and is completely automatic. There is no need for any special libraries or code on your part for analytics.”

Wendker’s announcement drew applause from the developer crowd at WWDC, showing just how lacking Apple’s iTunes Connect has been in the area of analytics. Many app developers, studios, marketers and publishers have implemented third-party app analytics software into their apps, usually via a small software development kit and library. Apple’s new App Store analytics will not necessarily displace third-party analytics though, which tend to track user interaction and behavior within an app and across platforms.

Since the App Store was born in 2008, companies like Flurry, Localytics, MixPanel, New Relic, Apsalar, Upsight (formerly Kontangent/PlayHaven) and others have made decent businesses providing app analytics that include user retention and engagement to developers and marketers. 

“This is very different from app analytics,” said Henry Cipolla, co-founder and CTO of Localytics. “This focuses on performance of the app in the store. This is helpful for users trying to optimize their app store SEO and understand which apps are driving the most purchases. App analytics are more focused on what users in the app are doing and providing tools to engage with these users. App store analytics are a great compliment to usage analytics as they provide a view into what users do before they download the app.”

Catching Up To Google Play

iTunes Connect has long been Apple’s oddly named developer portal into all the background functions that app maker’s need to conduct business. iTunes Connect is where developers can submit apps to the app store and set up payments to their bank accounts. But, despite Apple being the biggest and most prestigious of app stores, iTunes Connect has long been a sparse collection of bureaucratic forms and fields. Outside of getting an app on the App Store, some basic analytics and getting paid, iTunes Connect did not have much use for developers.

See also: Making Android Pay

“This announcement is great news for developers working on improving their app store conversions,” Cipolla said. “This is surfacing a lot of useful information that was previously unavailable. However, as app owners look at their app as a cross platform service there is a need for services like App Annie/Distimo to collect a cross platform view.”

Put iTunes Connect into contrast with how Google has updated its Google Play Developer Console over the last two years at its own I/O developer conference and the differences are dramatic. The Google Play team led by the likes of product manager Ellie Powers and director Purnima Kochikar have added robust analytics integration into the Google Play Developer Console as well as features like human-contracted translation so developers can target native languages to specific regions. Google also added optimization tips, staged alpha and beta rollouts (which Apple just announced with TestFlight) and referral tracking at I/O 2013 to help developers optimize their apps and make money across the world. With Google I/O 2014 coming at the end of June, expect the Android maker to rollout more resources in the Google Play Developer Console soon.

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