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Who’s actually using my app? A quick case study of the GodTools mobile app analytics.

Our team has been excited to be working on the latest version of the GodTools mobile app. As a concept, the idea of having a Gospel presentation and other evangelistic material on your smartphone is great – after all, we are now accustomed to always having our phone with us, but how often do we have something to explain the Gospel with us?

It is also exciting seeing the number of people downloading the app and using it as well. In less than 6 months since the latest analytics was installed we had over 20,000 downloads and over 50,000 sessions! That’s a lot of evangelism, right? Well … not so fast.

Not All Data Is Equal

It is very easy to get excited about numbers like this, but we need to take a step back and ask ourselves what these numbers mean in real life. And how does that translate to what we want to achieve through the app?

What we really want to know is how many people are using the app to share their faith, and how often. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way for us to know if the person is sitting next to a non-Christian or not. But we can use our analytics with an understanding of how people will use the app to give us a better idea.

Understand Your Users

Remembering that many apps get downloaded without ever being used, we want to try to get in the mind of a user of GodTools:

What would they do when they open the app the first time?

They will probably have a look around the different pages in the app and see what’s there. That’s good, and we want them to do that, but it’s not evangelism, and we need to remember that when we talk about how many people are using the app to share their faith.

One of the simple stats that Google Analytics returns is a breakdown of New vs Returning Users. It is highly unlikely that New Users are sharing their faith in that session.

The next important statistic is how long each session lasts. And we see that over 24,000 of our sessions (almost a half) last less than ten seconds. That’s not enough time to share the Gospel. So how long does it take to share the Gospel? We figured that any session of over 2 minutes would have a good chance of indicating a spiritual conversation of some depth.

Segmenting Your Data

The best way to find out the data we want in Google Analytics is to use segments. A segment will give you a subset of either users or sessions based on certain criteria you give. So we will add a segment limited to only those users with a segment duration of over 120 seconds.

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 Now because we have segmented by user data we are limited to only the previous 90 days of data. This shows us that out of the 12,000 users over that time, less than 5,000, or about 40% of them had a session of 2 minutes or more.

But remember what we observed about first time users before. Some of these 5,000 users would be first-time users browsing the app, not sharing their faith. What we really want to find out is “How many people are using the app to share their faith regularly?” So, what if we look at a segment that shows how many of these users use the app approximately weekly or more for more than 2 minutes at a time?

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By segmenting the data to this level we find we have less than 200 such users. This doesn’t sound as exciting as 20,000 downloads, but it is much more significant, because now we know how many people are using the app regularly for a significant period of time, and we can track how these people are using the app so we can make it more useful for them. We can also investigate what causes someone to become a user like this so we can help more people to begin to use the app in these ways.  For GodTools, success is not simply having thousands of people having the app on their mobile device, success is helping more people more effectively share their faith using the app.



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