5 reasons to set up events in Fabric

By Shobhit Chugh, Product Manager

Fabric-events-and-kpi

You’ve probably heard the famous saying, “Actions speak louder than words” many times before. This idiom means a person’s behavior tells you more about them than what they say - and this sentiment holds true in mobile too.

The actions your users take inside your app shed light on how engaged they are and how intuitive your user interface is. This information is vital to retaining users, improving your app, and growing your mobile business. Fabric makes it easy to track user actions and other important in-app events, so you can see how people interact with your app in real-time.

Here are five reasons why you should instrument events in Fabric and what you can learn by doing so.


1. Events illuminate in-app user behavior and patterns, so you can take the right action

Events track a wealth of user actions - including in-app purchases, content shares, logins, etc. to help you understand how people use your app, what actions they take most (and least), and if user behavior is changing week over week. Events can also provide additional context, color, and insight into trends about each action in the form of attributes. For example, news and media apps can learn which content is most popular by instrumenting Fabric’s “Content View” event with supporting attributes like content name and content type. The “Content View” event will tabulate each time a piece of content is viewed, while the attributes will help you pinpoint the most popular one.

In Fabric, you can find all of this information (and more) by clicking into the event page from the new dashboard.

Let's review the main sections of the event page.

The first row of graphs gives you raw counts.

The second row of graphs tells you the average number of times each user has completed this event today, and what percent of your total active users have taken this action.

These graphs reveal interesting user engagement trends. For example, if you manage a social media app and you notice that a smaller percentage of people are sharing things, you may need to run marketing campaigns to encourage sharing and boost engagement.

As you scroll down the event’s page, you’ll see that each event attribute has its own chart.

These charts highlight the top 10 values of the attribute over a 30 day period.

For example, if the event you are looking at is “Sign In” then a corresponding attribute could be “Sign In Method.” The top 10 section would list which log-in methods are used most (for that particular day), such as Facebook, Twitter, email address, etc.

Finally, Fabric provides audience insights for every event

For instance, this chart can answer questions like, “Do people with interests in politics tend to log in more often?” or “Do females tend to share more on social media?”


2. You can set a key performance indicator to track your most important in-app action

Although you can instrument up to 3,000 events in your app, there is probably one key event that matters most to your business. For example, an ecommerce app’s KPI (key performance indicator) will likely be “Purchase” while a gaming app’s KPI could be “Level End.” Fabric allows you star this event as your key performance indicator so it appears prominently in your dashboard and across other areas of the platform. Setting a KPI makes it easy to see how your app is doing at a glance. When there are major changes to your KPI, we’ll let you know immediately by highlighting them.

Pro tip: As a general rule of thumb, your KPI should be the ultimate in-app action you want users to complete - this is the action that has the biggest impact on your app’s success.


3. By instrumenting events, you can unlock new insights within the platform

In addition to learning how users are behaving in your app, you can also unlock new insights across other areas of Fabric’s platform by setting up events and picking a KPI. On the growth page, you’ll start to see what percent of new users are completing your KPI. If you allow purchases within your app and you set up the purchase event, you’ll get a dedicated revenue tile in your Fabric dashboard that tracks how much money you’re earning daily.


4. We’ll guide you through the set-up process

Now that you know how events can illuminate user behavior, you’re probably wondering how to set them up. Don’t worry - we’ve made this process easy! When we launched events a few years ago, we listened to your feedback and examined our data to identify a set of core actions that a majority of app teams want to track. Then, we built a guided set-up process so you can start tracking these core events quickly, straight from your Fabric dashboard.

We even provide recommendations for which events might be worthwhile to track and outline their corresponding attributes. Here’s a sample of these predefined events and their suggested attributes:

  1. E-Commerce apps → Add to cart, Start checkout,
  2. PurchaseContent apps → Content view, Share, Search, Rating
  3. Gaming apps → Level start, Level end
  4. All apps → Signup, Login


5. You have the flexibility to create custom events

We realize that apps may want to track unique user actions, so in addition to the core events listed above, Fabric also gives you the option to instrument custom events and custom attributes (we accept both numeric and string attributes). For example, if your app is available in many different countries, you could use a custom event to track keyboard setup with a custom attribute of language. This would help you understand your users’ geographic dispersion and preferred language of communication.

Pro tip: You can also use custom events to set up negative event tracking. For instance, a sports app could track when users are unable to view videos because they encounter a playback error. This type of event tracking would help unearth backend or network issues.


Get started with Fabric events today

Fabric events help you understand what users are doing inside your app in real-time, so you’re empowered to nurture the right behavior and keep people engaged. It’s easy to get started with events - here are our best practices on how to set them up correctly.
 

Learn from app leaders: How Doodle redesigned their app using Fabric & Firebase

By Todd Burner, Developer Advocate

Learn from app leaders header

In this new series, we feature customers that have used our platform in an innovative way. For this installment, we chatted with the app team at Doodle who used the Fabric and Firebase platforms together to redesign their app to be more user-centric. If you want to participate in this series, please email support@fabric.io.

Recently, we sat down with Alexander Thiele who is a senior Android engineer at Doodle, a company that helps you find the best date and time to meet other people. As early adopters of Fabric’s Crashlytics and Firebase Remote Config, his team has expert familiarity with our platforms. The focus of our conversation was on how they redesigned their mobile app using analytics and crash data from their Fabric and Firebase dashboards.

Doodle logo.png


Q. How did you approach the redesign?

“The redesign is a complete overhaul of our app. We started by updating our onboarding flow to help people understand the best ways to use Doodle. We wanted to show users how they can poll each other to quickly find the best meeting time. We divided the redesign into three phases, first improving stability with Fabric’s Crashlytics, then A/B testing our poll creation feature with Firebase Remote Config, and finally measuring the results of our tests and production rollout by monitoring our app metrics in Fabric and Firebase analytics."


Phase 1: Finding tricky crashes

The team at Doodle wanted to understand how stability was impacting their app quality. That’s why they first focused on getting their crash-free user rate as close to 100% as possible.

Fabric’s Crashlytics helped them track crashes and prioritize them so they could improve their crash-free user rate. One feature they found particularly useful is adding logs and keys to crash reports.

Q. How did Fabric’s Crashlytics help you improve your app stability? 

“Crashlytics saved us a ton of time by surfacing crashes and helping us pinpoint their cause. I remember one really rare crash which we couldn't find the source of ourselves. We also don't have many crashes so we were really eager to find it. We then started to log everything that could be related to this crash, like page visits and the current internal database size. We also recorded those instances when our database couldn’t find something. After a few releases with custom logs, we found the bug. It happened in a really rare case where the user went to specific screens and used some specific features. Without custom logs, we wouldn’t have been able to find this bug.”

The team at Doodle also logs all crashes that they manually catch in the code to Crashlytics as non-fatals. This gives them more insight about what's going on in the app. By taking advantage of these unique Crashlytics features, Doodle has been able to move faster and add new features into production with less anxiety.


Phase 2: User-centric design

 The second phase of the app redesign was focused on updating the user experience and design. The goal of this phase was to refresh the look and feel of the app and introduce streamlined flows so users could accomplish their tasks faster (and with fewer screens/steps).

Q. What types of UI changes did you make in the redesign?

“The changes we made during this stage included everything from changing the color palette to introducing new screens and adding new app functionality. By monitoring the 7 day retention metrics in Fabric and Firebase, we saw that some new users didn’t understand the concept of Doodle immediately - so they didn’t return to our app. That’s why we changed the whole onboarding process to make Doodle easier to understand and use from the first time it’s installed.”

doodle app screen.png

Q. How did you test your changes?

“We used Firebase Remote Config. We tested our user onboarding and the flow users go through when creating a poll. We tried 4 different kinds of flows, which we tested using Remote Config. In the end, the data showed that one flow resulted in more polls being created than the others. Our key performance indicator for the A/B test was the numbers of polls created by users, and we tracked this KPI with Google Analytics for Firebase.“

Q. Did you use Remote Config for other things? 

“We also used Remote Config to test feature switches. For example a few months ago, we implemented banner ads on our scheduling screen and enabled them through Remote Config. We noticed that these ads didn’t perform well so we turned them off easily with Remote Config. Then, we tried inserting native ads into a few other places in our app. Through Remote Config, we were able to discover the right placement for ads in our app without disrupting our users or requiring them to update their app to see the changes.”

By tracking crashes and non-fatals with Fabric and deploying changes with Firebase Remote Config, the team at Doodle didn’t have to depend on the app store release cycles to understand their users and update their app accordingly. They could see user behavior change in real-time and make appropriate changes to their app before problems arose.


Phase 3: Measuring and going forward with Firebase and Fabric

The team at Doodle plans to keep using both the Fabric and Firebase platforms to monitor and improve their app - and display their metrics throughout every stage! 

Q. Now that the redesign is live, what dashboards do you find yourself using the most?

 “Our most important metrics are how many polls a user creates and how many people participate in a poll. We monitor these in the Fabric events dashboard and in Google Analytics for Firebase by logging events.

I’m also a big fan of the new TV Mode for Fabric, we have a big conference room and we put up our dashboard on the TV during launches so the whole team can see how we’re doing. The new Crashlytics dashboard looks nice too, especially device and OS filtering. We keep an eye on most of the dashboards daily.”

Q. What Fabric and Firebase features do you plan to adopt next?

“Over the next few weeks, we have plans to adopt Firebase Dynamic Links and to set up more in-depth Fabric custom events. By using Dynamic Links, we’ll be able to make it even easier to share polls. For example, our users will be able to invite other people to participate in polls via SMS and deep link right to the relevant app screen (even if the people they are inviting to the poll haven’t installed the app yet). We’ll track more events, like content views, to understand where our users find value in our app.”

Q. What advice do you have for other app teams who are considering redesigning their app?

“Two things: test ideas constantly and put your app users first. By combining Crashlytics’ real-time crash reporting with the ability to deploy remote changes to a subset of users through Firebase Remote Config, you can learn how valuable a new feature is, identify potential issues, and take action immediately.”

Q. Can you share some results of the redesign?

“This redesign greatly improved our in-app poll creation process so users could create polls faster and more easily. We measured the success of this redesign by looking at our daily active users (DAUs) in Fabric and our retention numbers in Firebase/Fabric, which have risen beyond our expectations!”

How to monitor your app retention in Fabric

By Shobhit Chugh, Product Manager

How-to-monitor-retention-in-Fabric

A common misconception in the mobile world is that number of app downloads is the strongest indicator of success. But what if you have a ton of users, yet they rarely interact with your app? What if people download your app and then churn the next day? Looking at your total number of app users or installs in isolation doesn’t paint an accurate picture of your app’s health - you also need to pay attention to retention. Retention helps you understand how often people return to your app. It’s important to measure retention because if your hard-earned users aren’t sticking around and regularly engaging with your app, you cannot build a sustainable mobile business.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to track your retention over time through Fabric’s new retention page (which is part of our new dashboard).

 

Measuring retention from three angles

To give you a holistic view of how strong your app retention is, we focus on three things: active users, activity segments, and new user retention.

Let’s review how each angle helps you better understand retention.

1. Fluctuations in active users

The first sign of how well you’re retaining users is the number of active users you have on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis - and if these numbers are trending up or down over time.

When you navigate to the retention page, you’ll see these metrics in the top two graphs:

  • Daily active users (DAUs - how many people have had at least one session with your app today)

  • Weekly active users (WAUs - how many people have had at least one session with your app in the last seven days)

  • Monthly active users (MAUs - how many people have had at least one session with your app in the last 30 days)

The pulsating DAUs graph gives you real-time insight into how many people have used your app so far today, compared to this time last week. The second graph provides an additional lens by highlighting changes in weekly and monthly active users.

Steady, consistent growth in active users is a good signal that your retention is strong.

 

2. Changes in activity segments

The middle section of the retention page is centered around activity segments. Based on session data, activity segments groups users into buckets, ranging from inactive users (people who have not launched your app in more than a week) all the way to high activity users (people who have used your app almost every single day in the past seven days).

Activity segments provide a deeper look at your retention by revealing how engaged your active users are, how many are at risk of abandoning your app, and how people flow from one segment to another.

This graph can tell you a few interesting things about retention. First off, look at how people are transitioning between states. For example, if you see a large and healthy flow of users moving from “low activity” to “medium or high activity”, their engagement level is changing in a positive way - meaning that retention is improving.

Another interesting thing to monitor is the correlation between the number of new users and the growth in each segment. For instance, if you’re earning thousands of new users every week, but you’re only seeing a corresponding bump in the low activity segment - this means your new users are not deeply committed to your app. In this case, consider improving your onboarding flow to showcase the value of your app to new users.

Pro Tip: Move the slider at the bottom of this graph to see your activity segments at different times during the last 30 days. You can also use this slider to compare how active your users are during the weekday versus the weekend.

 

3. New user retention rate

Finally, the last graph on the retention page shows you what percent of new users are continuing to interact with your app after one day, seven days, and thirty days. This graph helps you see whether or not new users are still active after their first session at key time intervals. For instance, the day one metric means that X% of people who installed and used your app for the first time yesterday, also used it today.

The higher these percentages are, the stronger your app retention is because it means that a large amount of new users are turning into loyal, habitual users. If we notice any irregularities (i.e. an unusual increase or decrease in your new user retention), we’ll flag it so you can dig into what happened on that day.

 

From understanding retention to improving it

Fabric’s new retention page helps you measure retention from three different angles: active users (how many people are using my app?), activity segments (how engaged are my users?), and new user retention rate (how often do new users come back to my app?).

Armed with this insight, you’ll develop a baseline understanding of your retention, be able to recognize when it becomes a problem, and act quickly to combat churn. 

If you’re already a Fabric customer, click here to check out your retention page.

If you’re not currently a Fabric customer, get started by signing up and installing Crashlytics.

The new Fabric dashboard: all the analytics you love, reimagined

By Shobhit Chugh, Product Manager & Marc Richards, Engineering Manager

Blog-header-new-Fabric-dashboard

When we launched Fabric’s Answers three years ago, our mission was to provide app teams with analytics they didn’t need to spend hours analyzing. Just as the name implied, Answers made sense of your data by organizing it into insightful, real-time graphs of user behavior. But as our platform evolved to better serve you, two things became apparent:

  1. Our customers used Fabric to accomplish a set of goals, but our dashboard was structured around our tools rather than your needs. Consequently, information about each goal was scattered, which meant that you had to jump between different graphs and screens.

  2. As we built deeper integrations between Fabric’s different components, analytics became the heart of our platform, so it no longer made sense to keep Answers as a separate, siloed brand.

In an effort to provide more clarity and bring data together in a more meaningful way, we’re excited to introduce the new Fabric dashboard! Centered around your top app goals, this dashboard gives you a holistic view of your app’s performance in one place. All the metrics you know and love are still there, now grouped more intuitively by the business impact they have.

Fabric’s new dashboard gives me a bird’s eye view of the areas of my app that need attention, which helps me make smart decisions and spend my time wisely.


 

Monitor your app from every critical business angle

Over the last year, we spent time listening to your feedback on how you use Fabric, which key  things you measure, and what your top business priorities are. We found that all app teams, regardless of the type of app they develop and manage, have a set of core goals that are vital to their mobile success. They are:

“I want to build a stable app and monitor my latest release.”
“I want to understand what users are doing inside my app so I can engage and retain them.”
“I want to grow my business by acquiring new users and earning revenue.”

Armed with this insight, we updated our dashboard so it’s easier to understand how your app is doing from each of those business-critical angles. Here’s a quick overview of how your brand new Fabric dashboard is organized, and what you can learn from each section.

At the top, you’ll see a real-time graph of your active users. These are people who are using your app right now.

The first row of charts shows you how often people return to your app (retention), how many new users you’re acquiring each day (growth), and how many users are completing your most important in-app action (the KPI - key performance indicator).

The second row of graphs will help you monitor your app quality and gauge the success of your latest release.

As you scroll to the bottom of the dashboard, you’ll see how engaged your users are around the world and what actions they are taking. And if you sell physical or virtual goods in your app, the revenue chart will show you how much money you’re making.

Pro Tip: The new Fabric dashboard compares your data week over week, in real-time. This means that each delta shows you how that metric has changed from what it was at the same time last week.

 

Dedicated pages provide more context about each app goal

While the main Fabric dashboard gives you a bird’s eye view of what’s happening in your app right now, you can also zoom in on each app goal to get more information by simply clicking on it.

For example, let’s say you recently launched a mobile ad campaign and you notice a corresponding bump in your Daily New Users. Does this mean that your new user acquisition campaign was a success? Maybe at first glance - but you need more information on the caliber of these new users. Are they sticking around and engaging with your app? Are they completing key in-app actions? To get the answer, just click on the growth section.

Now, you’ll be taken to a new growth-focused page that sheds light on the quality and activity level of your new users. We unveiled this growth page back in December, and today, it’s fully integrated into the new Fabric dashboard!

In the next few weeks, we’ll go through each page of the Fabric dashboard in more detail and share best practices on how to make the most of it. Stay tuned!


 

Iterating for clarity in a chaotic world

As the mobile industry matures, complexity ensues. Our mission is to always provide opinionated, real-time analytics that help you focus on the areas of your app that need attention - without overwhelming you with data.

We enhanced Fabric’s dashboard for clarity to make it easier, and faster, to find the information you need on your most important app goals and business priorities. In the immortal words of the great Leonardo Da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

If you’re already a Fabric customer, click here to check out your new dashboard.

If you’re not currently a Fabric customer, get started by signing up and installing Crashlytics.

Launching Answers growth dashboard: understand your app’s growth

by Steve Wilber, Product Manager

In the mobile industry, the adage “if you’re not growing, you’re shrinking” is as true as ever. Today, there are more than 2 million apps available in the app stores, meaning that competition is fierce and growth isn’t easy. In fact, 13 of the top apps in the U.S. saw their growth rate decline by ~20% this year. Mobile teams know that they cannot simply build an app and expect users to flock to it - they need to actively monitor and grow their users.

To help mobile teams understand their user growth, we’re announcing a new growth analytics dashboard. With this new dashboard, you can answer important questions like: “How many new users did my app gain this week vs. the last? Are they completing key actions inside my app? Are they sharing my app with their friends?”

Understand your user growth in real-time

It’s important for product managers and app marketers to stay on top of their new users count everyday and measure their progress each week. That’s why the new growth dashboard features three key data points at the very top:

  • cumulative number of new users today
  • new users count at this same time last week
  • percentage change based on today’s count versus last week’s

By combining this data, your dashboard gives you an instant snapshot of how your app has been growing today and how well you’re performing comparing to the same point last week. It also helps you understand your growth trend for the week and whether you’re improving overall on a weekly basis!

Know the quality of your new users

The key to sustainable growth is not just getting new users, but ensuring they are taking meaningful actions in your app. With the new growth dashboard, you can now see the percentage of new users who performed a key performance indicator (KPI) each day. This helps you measure how engaged your new users are and see if your daily marketing efforts are attracting one-time users or highly engaged users.

Highly engaged users will come back to your app more often, so another way to gauge user quality is to look at your new user retention. The new growth dashboard helps you keep tabs on the percentage of new users that came back to your app after a day, a week and 30 days of installing your app. If the retention rate on a given day is higher or lower than expected vs. the week before, we’ll call this to your attention. This way you can address any issues quickly if there are any!

From our friends at Ticketmaster:

We believe that winners like scoreboards, and this new growth dashboard has been our favorite scoreboard for our mobile app development and QA teams. Retention is a valuable metric that is less sensitive to concert on-sale dates and the growth dashboard has provided us with several new metrics for us to follow how our fans are engaging with our apps in real-time.



Measure and optimize your organic viral growth

For many mobile-driven businesses, in-app referrals can be one of the most effective channels for user growth. Studies have shown that up to 50% of all buying decisions are a result of word-of-mouth referrals. To help you measure your app’s virality, the new growth dashboard shows you how many users are sharing your app’s content or inviting their friends to download your app. One big question remains though: Are their friends actually installing your app from those invites?

The new growth dashboard gives you the answer via its viral installs graph. Powered by Branch (a multi-channel, deep linking and attribution tool), the viral installs chart shows you how many installs came from the invites sent or content shared by your users with their friends. It also gives you the power to drill into which channel is more successful so you can double down on the one that gives you the highest return.

Your command center for growth in 2017

We’ve built this new dashboard to help you understand your user growth and know where to invest your marketing efforts. With 2017 on the horizon, we hope this dashboard will empower you and your team to march into the new year stronger than ever. Here’s to next year!