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They say build it and they will come. Sure. That is wishful thinking. Let’s face it. A lot of work goes into building an app. Even more goes into marketing it and making it stand out in the app universe. Even if you put in a massive app marketing effort, it’s not enough for it to stand out. It has to shine out there among the millions out there in app land.

There sure are a lot of apps out there. Apps that allow you to schedule your days, nights, buy last minute airline tickets to Honolulu, weathers apps, educational apps. The list goes on and on. What sets the successful apps apart from the not so successful is the amount of time app publishers dedicate to mobile app optimization by seeing first-hand how their target audience are using the app, where they are getting stuck, frustrated or experiencing some confusion or friction as they move from screen to screen.

For example, say, there are 12 items on your wish list you’d like to select for purchase. You tap on the items you want, pinch them, double tap and they just won’t respond. These unresponsive gestures frustrate users and faster you can say “Attention Mobile Shoppers” they are gone, more than likely never to return.

Say, you came back to a shopping app you left temporarily. You quickly discover that the app crashes and doesn’t allow you to purchase. Unless there was an item or two you could not get anywhere else, especially for that price, you’d probably bounce from that site, never to return. I know I would.

The key to building not just a bunch of downloaders but an engaged community of followers is by finding out what they are looking for and delivering it to them in the smoothest fashion possible. By not seeing first-hand how users are interacting with your app and experiencing difficulty, optimization would just not be possible.

Analyzing your App

  • Optimize Based on the WHY

There are quite a few mobile analytics tools out there, including Google’s. However, these are traditional solutions that only provide key metrics in numbers. App developers need to put on their deep dive helmets and start using a visual mobile analytical tool. This type of tool will provide you with more than the what. It will allow you to discover the WHY you need to maximize your optimization strategy and get that new and improved app to market.

  • Visual Mobile Analytics

By using a visual mobile app analytics tool you can drill down into the actions your users are taking on particular screens. Basically, you can see the app being used through your users’ eyes. Where are they converting? Why are they frustrated when on a certain screen? Perhaps it is because that image you had on a particular screen looks too much like a clickable icon and it takes users nowhere, much of the time just causing users to bounce from the app and perhaps even deleting it to make room for another that works.

  • Analyze via Live User Recordings

User recordings allow you to witness how your users experience your app. See where they are tapping, swiping, pinching, see the most used user flows between screens. If you see some hiccups in the registration process, for example, identify what they are, remove them, rerelease and analyze again. (Screenshot is taken from Appsee Mobile Analytics).

  • Gaining More Feedback

If your app has a point system, perhaps you can offer users points for taking a survey and providing you with feedback. You can gain much insight from surveys. Yet another place you can gain insight into how users see your app is by studying review sites. See what people are saying about your app.

Acting on Insights Gained from App Analytics

Refine where needed. What works? What doesn’t? The knowledge you gained via analysis utilizing the aforementioned strategies will give you the information you need to make important decisions in your optimization strategy.

After conducting this phase of optimizing your app, it’s time to re-release it, get your app out to market. Don’t forget to update your app store description with what you did, adding keywords as needed.

As a developer, you know that app optimization is a constant process. Repeat the optimization process, since you will always find new things to optimize based on your analysis.

As you can see there are many roads to get there, but app optimization is key to success for any app developer.

Guest post by: Alon Even is VP Marketing of Appsee, the most advanced visual mobile analytics solution. His areas of expertise are online marketing, mobile analytics and mobile UX. You can connect with Alon on LinkedIn or Twitter.