What Are Mobile App Analytics and Why Do They Matter?

Mobile app analytics refers to the systematic analysis of data collected from mobile apps and the broader mobile app economy. While mobile app analytics can be used for anything from market research to competitor analysis, it is most commonly deployed by developers to improve conversions, app performance, user experience, app store optimization (ASO), and more.


At 42matters, for instance, we deliver mobile app analytics via a host of useful APIs and the 42matters Explorer. This includes insight into: app metadata, publisher details, country availability, language options, categories, IAB categories, monetization, permissions, SDKs, app-ads.txt, and more. Our data is based on:

  • 3,382,948 published Android apps, 6,794,012 unpublished Android apps, and 750,347 Android app publishers
  • 1,772,366 published iOS apps, 2,009,320 unpublished iOS apps, and 1,342,369 iOS app publishers

(This data is from July 16, 2020. For the latest numbers, check out our store stats pages.)

In this article, we will endeavour to answer some of the most frequently asked questions concerning mobile app analytics. We’ll start with the basics — Why do businesses need mobile app analytics?; Why are mobile app analytics important?; How do mobile app analytics work?; etc. Then, we’ll get a little more specific:

  • How do you track mobile app downloads?
  • How do you track mobile app reviews?
  • How do you track mobile app ratings?

If you make it to the end, we’ll conclude by telling you the best way to get started with mobile app analytics. Let’s begin!

Why do businesses need mobile app analytics?

The long and short of it is this: mobile app analytics enable businesses to make informed decisions that impact all departments — development, operations, sales, marketing, etc.

Now, of course, the kind of analytics that a business uses, along with the nature of the business itself, determines what sort of decisions they’re able to inform. To make sense of this, let’s look at three concrete examples:

  • App Developers and Mobile Game Publishers: Mobile app analytics can be used to gain knowledge about user behavior and competitor activity. This comes in the form of download trends, rating histories, review sentiments, SDK usage, localization and monetization strategies, etc.

    Consider our
     Explorer platform, which provides data on every iOS and Android app. A publisher could use it to:
    • Compare average daily and monthly downloads
    • Determine which SDKs are most common amongst their rivals
    • Use the review analysis tool to determine what users like or dislike about their apps or their competitor’s apps
    • And more!

  • Ad Networks: Analytics can help Ad Networks bolster lead generation, boost mobile ad performance, and fight ad fraud. For more on how, we highly recommend you check out some of our previous articles on the subject:
  • Market Researchers: Mobile app analytics facilitate market research by highlighting trends in the mobile app economy. And, due to the pervasiveness of mobile apps, it can also help market researchers understand other market sectors; finance, education, entertainment, gaming, sports, photography — you name it.

    As a matter of fact, we recently published an article comparing the UBS, Credit Suisse, and Swiss Raiffeisen Bank apps to demonstrate how mobile app analytics provided by 42matters could be used for market research in the financial sector. Check it out.

Think your business could benefit from mobile app analytics? Let’s chat.

Why are mobile app analytics important?

In a word, advantage.

Mobile apps and games are big business; as we mentioned previously there are over two million app publishers and five million apps across the Apple App Store and Google Play. Moreover, mobile advertising alone is projected to generate over 117 billion dollars in revenue in 2020.

So, on the one hand, this means the mobile app economy is a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs, start-ups, established businesses, and everyone in between. On the other, it means there are a lot of publishers jockeying for position and any advantage could be the difference between success and irrelevance.

Now, it’s unlikely that any given app will be the next Instagram. Still, mobile app analytics enable publishers to identify target audiences, establish dominion over a particular niche in the market, and use those gains as a platform to increase market share and grow revenue.

How do mobile app analytics work?

It depends on the data being analyzed and the company providing the analytics. That said, the mobile app analytics industry largely reflects the competitive nature of the mobile app landscape.

So, while it would be entrepreneurial malpractice to spill the beans on the nitty-gritty details of our tools, we can tell you this: our APIs, file dumps, and Explorer platform analyze thousands of data points for every app across all major app stores in near real-time. This includes data on both iOS and Android apps, as well as those found on the Amazon Appstore, Tencent Appstore, Apple TV tvOS App Store, Fire TV, and Roku Channel Store.

To give you an idea of what our products can do, check out our app store stats pages. You’ll find that we have a side-by-side comparison of Google Play and the Apple App Store, as well as individual near real-time analyses for:

Want to learn more about how our analytics work? Set up a meeting!

How do you track mobile app downloads?

If you’ve published an app, most app stores will provide you with some means of obtaining performance insights — downloads, reviews, ratings, etc. However, they will not share similar insights for apps that you do not own. And it should go without saying that if you are not an app publisher, you’ll be left completely in the dark.

So, to acquire download statistics for a particular app that you do not own, you’ll need to find a service that specializes in mobile app data. At 42matters, we provide daily, monthly, and total download estimates for all iOS and Android apps. 

Here’s an example of daily download statistics from our Explorer platform, in this case for the Android version of Instagram:

Daily downloads by country for the Android version of Instagram — mobile app analytics

Here’s how to use the Explorer for app download stats:

  1. Register for a 14-day free trial
  2. Activate your account and launch ‘Explorer
  3. Select either ‘Android Apps’ or ‘iOS Apps’ from the ‘Explorer’ section of the ‘Launchpad
  4. Select the app(s) that you’re interested in
  5. Scroll to the ‘Downloads’ section of the app tile

Aside from daily downloads, you’ll also find monthly download estimates by country:

Monthly downloads by country for the Android version of Instagram — mobile app analytics

And estimated total downloads:

Total app downloads — mobile app analytics

How do you track mobile app reviews?

All app reviews are public. However, it’s quite time consuming to sort through each review to find which provide useful information.

For instance, if you’re an app publisher whose app receives 100 reviews a day, you probably don’t want to spend your time reading each one to generate a user consensus about what is and is not popular about your app. And, of course, the same rule holds true if you’re doing research on a competitor.

Fortunately, there’s a way around this. If you want insight into an app’s reviews, or if you want to read reviews in bulk, a service that specializes in mobile app data is your best bet.

At 42matters, we provide two options:

  • App Reviews APIs (Android version, iOS version): These will enable you to pull a sorted list of reviews for any app. Each result includes:
    • Review rating
    • Language of review
    • Review content
    • Date of review
    • Version of the app being reviewed
  • Explorer: Unlike the App Reviews APIs, the Explorer does not provide review content. Rather, it analyzes the reviews for every app and compiles review sentiment charts. With this, you’ll be able to tell what users like or dislike about any given app. See here:

App reviews analysis — mobile app analytics

Once you determine which aspects of an app are least appealing to users, you can use that information to start doing some research. For instance, if you find that your competitor is having issues with their log-in experience, you can use Explorer to see which SDK they’re using to provision sign-ups and logins. This will simultaneously give you the ability to avoid the pitfalls of your competition while leveraging those pitfalls for sales and marketing purposes.

How do you track mobile app ratings?

App ratings are super easy to track. For the latest ratings, simply look up the app you’re interested in on any app store. You can also do a rough cross-store comparison by Googling the app. Typically, you’ll find results for every store on which it is available and each result will include the app’s star rating. Like so:

App rating search results — mobile app analytics

However, if you want something a little more sophisticated — something that tracks how many times an app receives a 5 star rating, that enables you to compare ratings for apps in specific categories, or that charts the average rating over time — you’ll need to turn to an app analytics service.

The Explorer, for instance, enables you to view both the number of ratings for each app, as well as the average rating over time. Check it out: 

Number of app ratings for the Android version of WhatsApp — mobile app analytics

Average app rating for the Android version of WhatsApp — mobile app analytics.

Here’s how to use the Explorer to view an app’s rating history:

  1. Register for a 14-day free trial
  2. Activate your account and launch ‘Explorer
  3. Select either ‘Android Apps’ or ‘iOS Apps’ from the ‘Explorer’ section of the ‘Launchpad
  4. Click the app you’re interested in, then scroll to the ‘Trends’ section of the app card


One tip: Many apps — especially new apps or apps that have relatively few users — are only rated highly because they have a handful of good ratings. To get around this, add another filter: select a specific app category, exclude apps with fewer than 100,000 downloads, etc.


Alternatively, you can use the ‘Rating’ filter in the ‘Store Stats’ section, which lets you filter apps by their average rating and the number of ratings they’ve received. See here:


App ratings filters — mobile app analytics

Finally, if you’re more technically savvy, you can use one of our APIs, such as our App Reviews API or our Advanced Query API, to sort apps by ratings.

How to get started with mobile app analytics...

At 42matters, we provide app data, insights, and analytics via a host of useful APIs, file dumps, and the 42matters Explorer.


The Explorer, which is free for 14-days, is an app market research tool that provides a comprehensive look at app trends and statistics. This includes in-depth, visual insights into app download trends, categories, IAB categories, metadata, rating and review analyses, and more. You can also download this data as CSV and leverage it however you like — in your own algorithms, analyses, products, studies, etc.


To learn more about mobile app analytics from 42matters, schedule a free demo with one of our experts. We’ll show you how they can improve your business!