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Heap adds mobile SDKs to track mobile experiences

Barb Mosher Zinck Profile picture for user barb.mosher April 18, 2023
Summary:
Too often we think of customer journeys and experiences in silos. Heap is offering mobile SDKs to activate tracking across all digital properties, to get a holistic view.

Man using mobile payments online shopping and icons showing omnichannel © PopTika - Shutterstock

Analyzing digital journeys is critical to understanding how your customers engage in your channels and what you must do to create the best customer experiences. By activating tracking across all your digital properties: applications, websites, and mobile apps, you get the data you need to do this critical work. But are you tracking the right way? Heap.io, a digital insights platform, now offers new mobile SDKs to ensure you are.

One experience is not like the other

Sometimes it’s easy to think you only need to capture activity on one channel and apply that analysis to other channels. But it doesn’t work that way. For example, Jack Schneider, Product Manager for Mobile at Heap, says you shouldn’t rely on web behavior to help you understand mobile application behavior because the use cases are very different.

This is why Heap has introduced mobile SDKs for tracking activity in mobile applications. The SDKs are an expansion of Heap’s existing mobile auto-capture capabilities. There are seven SDKs for Android and iOS, including support for React Native and Flutter, and they are built, according to Schneider, in a way that expands support for other technologies, such as set-top boxes, wearables, and auto car play. 

Schneider explains that you can now understand and optimize the cross-platform customer experience by implementing tracking in mobile applications. Heap’s vision, he adds, is to stand up analytics and create a cross-channel view that you don’t currently get when using multiple tools for tracking (which can create silos). Schneider also talks about the need to resolve identities across devices to enable you to track the journey as a whole.

Why is a cross-channel view of analytics so important? Because behavior is different on different channels and devices, you need to have that full perspective to leverage each channel correctly in the customer journey. A blog on Heap’s website by Sarah Chandler explains this idea with a real-world example.

Chandler worked as a Senior Android Engineer and was tasked with building the Android version of a company’s mobile application in five months. Many assumptions led to this short time frame, including using analytics from the website experience and building the same app features that were available on the iOS app. 

The timeline was too tight, but Chandler couldn’t appropriately trim features because the iOS app did not implement tracking. Using user interviews, server and website data, and customer feedback, they did end up implementing a smaller feature set. Still, they quickly found that they had built features customers didn’t use on mobile, copied features that didn’t work the first time on the iOS app, and prioritized the wrong things. What they did do was implement tracking so they could understand what worked and what didn’t, and it enabled them to create a much better Android app. Chandler says: 

This time, we doubled down on the features our mobile users truly cared about, and worked on removing friction from the workflows that gave them the most problems. We shipped way fewer features, but we tracked all of them and focused on the things that mattered to our users.

After doing this for just a few months, our Android app saw much higher app ratings, more engagement, and better user feedback.

The value analytics brings to the customer experience

Chandler outlines the work that would need to happen to custom-build activity tracking into a mobile application, including steps such as:

  • Create a tracking plan

  • Create a schema for tracking

  • Implement tracking

  • Ensure you capture basic information such as device type, OS version, etc., in addition to all clicks

This work can take a long time to build and test. Implementing a platform like Heap and using its SDK would be less work, argues Chandler. It combines manual and auto-capture capabilities (Heap CEO, Ken Fine, has referred to Heap as a “digital vacuum cleaner”) and helps you build complete, trusted datasets across all your devices.

It can also help you identify friction in the customer experience. As the customer journey crosses channels and devices, you need analytics to help you understand where they are having issues. Mobile analytics will tell you how your customers are using your mobile apps. Have you implemented features that they only use on the website app? Are you missing key features that they want on the mobile app, or are the mobile app features not working the way customers expect? 

You can also create segments from the analytics and sync those segments with HubSpot to improve customer communications and marketing. Schneider adds: 

Marketing can set up workflows and campaigns around segments (lists) that automatically activate as the segments update. Add customers to sales sequences used by SDRs or BDRs to nurture prospective customers to take the next step. And if you use HubSpot for customer support, you can see how customers are using the application and may be getting caught before they need to reach out for help.

Schneider also explains that analytics could highlight areas for innovation that you might otherwise not have been able to budget for.

My take

Think about the last mobile app you downloaded (that wasn’t a game) and how that experience was for you. Did the app make it easy for you to complete your tasks? Are there things you wish it could do that it doesn’t? Do you think the mobile application owner is building the right features for you?

Mobile applications are often used very differently than website applications. They are less about administration functions and more about collaboration, notifications for reviews or updates, and simple things that are easy to do on a small screen size. But you won’t fully understand how your mobile app is being used (or not used) if you aren’t tracking its activity. 

And if you aren’t connecting that activity to the rest of the experience, you might miss out on creating the best experience for your customers. Too often, we think of marketing, sales, and customer support in silos (and silos within silos). Journey analytics can stop that. 

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