Crashlytics, acquired by Twitter in early 2013, is the best tool for crash reporting. Until Crashlytics came around the biggest challenge for mobile developers was their inability to detect and fix crashes by real users in the open.
There were some tools that were able to send a basic crash report but because the code is compressed when building an app in Google or Apple stores, there was no way to detect which class really caused the crash. Moreover, on mobile some bugs happen only on certain devices depending on the vendor, Android version, App version and more. There was no way for developers to know all this data before Crashlytics came along.
Enter Crashlytics, with an easy integration on Android and iPhone we are now able to monitor all the crashes (that are unfortunately always there) in production. The crashes are sorted by priority, for each crash we can see:
1) Distribution by device.
2) Distribution by Android version
3) And most importantly the full stack trace with the real class names and row numbers. Crashlytics was able to achieve this very smartly by including dedicated plugin for Xcode and Eclipse, which takes care of uploading the symbols file automatically and seamlessly.
2) Google Analytics
Having analytics on your mobile apps is mandatory, and if that’s the case, why not use the most reliable tech company on earth? Ohh, and it’s also free.
Google Analytics (GA) for mobile have easy integration for both Android and iPhone. By just inserting one line of code to your app (together with the SDK of course), you’ll be able to immediately track:
1) Active Users
3) New vs Returning Visitors
4) Session Duration
5) Users device details including device model and operating system
6) Many more
However, there’s much more than just those parameters, with GA you can also define specific events that happen in your app such as: “user read article”, “user successfully connected to Facebook”, and so on. By defining the key events or KPI of your app, you’ll be able to track funnels like how many users did those specific events? Which country are they from? What are the effects of some changes you’ve made in the app on specific key events? Maybe distribute your users into 2 groups and A/B test to decide which group converts the best?
Google and Apple Stores give a lot of weight to the app rating. Most app developers don’t ask their users to rate them at the store, and that’s a big mistake. Having a rating over 4.0 can dramatically improve your app visibility at both stores. But how should you ask your users to do it?
1) You don’t want to disturb a user who just installed your app with this sort of msg. Maybe only in the 3rd or 4th session?
2) Maybe it’s better just to wait X days until prompt?
3) We want to remember the users who already got the “rating prompt” so we won’t bother them again anytime soon.
4) Maybe the best time to prompt the rating is not when the app is just opened, but later on when a user is doing some significant event?
As you can see, even though it may sound simple to just show a dialog with text and link to the store but like anything else, to do it properly you need to invest some thoughts and implement functionality.
Luckily, Appirater is an open source project that exist for both iPhone and Android which have all the functionality I just described, built in. Plus, it has vast multi-language support in case your app is targeted to more than just English.
We use Appirater to ask all our users to help us by rating at the store and currently we have a rating of 4.6 on both stores with tens of thousands user ratings.
4) App Annie
App Annie is a free service that allow you to track downloads from both Google and Apple stores. You might ask, why should you use it if all the data already exist for you at Google or Apple developer console?
First, App Annie saves all your data forever (unlike Apple in the past). It has a much better user interface which allows you to analyze stats easily. Moreover, you can compare your download numbers to your category average, and most importantly, you can get the full picture of your app stats in terms of its rating in each country and you’ll be able to see where and when you app is being featured.
Also, App Annie is a great tool to analyze any app from Google or Apple, You can look at your competitors and better understand their ranking, rating and where they are featured.
* Written by Oded Regev