Analytics and Conversion

Are You Measuring Your Mobile App Performance Correctly?

In the world of digital marketing it is so easy to get lost in the multitude of options available to us to grow our businesses. It is useful to remind ourselves of what Avinash Kaushik, a Google evangelist and one of the best known figures in the digital marketing world, calls the Ladder of Awesomeness. It gives you clear steps on how to prioritize along the journey of your digital evolution. There is time for everything and you should focus on building your foundations before you jump into any fancy tactics. One thing from the ladder is clear: mobile matters a lot. 

With one in four purchases made on a mobile device in the last holiday season, digital marketers are putting an increased amount of focus on everything mobile. With a focus on measuring performance, configuring Analytics solutions (such as Google Analytics) in your applications is vital for assessing engagement and performance.

This article shows you how to make sure your Google Analytics and other digital marketing solutions tags are firing properly inside your applications. We need to apply the same rigour of testing our implementations on apps as we do on the web. Doing QA (Quality Assurance) of our tags is easy on the web--we have tools such as WASP and Google Tag Inspector to efficiently and rigorously test everything.

Making decisions regarding your mobile app strategy should be grounded in quality data. Here is how to ensure that.

Testing Your Marketing Tags with Charles Proxy

The problem with testing mobile applications is that unlike websites, we are not able to easily see the source code and the network requests fired by the tags. If your app developers are working in the same office as you, you can easily work alongside them and see how they have configured the code and the requests being fired in real time. Issues arise when you are working with a third-party and your only solution is Google Analytics Real-Time. A recent project involved a third-party that has mistakenly changed the Google Tag Manager container ID inside an application, and we lost a significant amount of time unable to understand why the implementation was not working correctly.

A solution to see the requests made by an application and all the tags inside is to download Charles Proxy. Charles Proxy allows you to connect your iPhone/iPad/iPod/Android device to your computer and you are able to see in real-time on your computer the network requests being made. 

Essentially, every tag fired by the application on your device can be seen in real-time on your desktop computer. Once you are inside the application you can test if, for example, your DoubleClick tags are firing properly. If you have configured events and custom dimensions in your Google Analytics tags you can easily see the values being sent. Please note that you need to configure the SSL settings inside Charles Proxy to be able to see unencrypted Google Analytics data. 

Example: Testing Add to Cart events inside an e-commerce app

Data from e-commerce mobile applications is used to drive strategic decisions. Therefore it is crucial to rigorously test the data being sent. Questions that can be answered with the app data and can drive strategic decisions include: Which products have a significantly higher click-through rate? Which ones get added to cart? In what size? What is the total revenue generated by the application? Are people adding products inside the app and completing the purchase on the website?

As you can see in the example below where we clicked on an Add to Cart button inside an e-commerce iOS app, inside Charles Proxy we can easily see the tags fired and sent to Google Analytics. You can quickly see here if the correct Google Analytics ID is passed (the UA- number), if the second custom dimension passes the member value, and if you click on the Add to Cart button the correct event action is sent.

Note that the earlier issue with the GTM container ID could have been easily found if we passed it as a custom dimension to GA and quickly discovered that the third-party had placed the wrong one inside our application.


Even if your application does not offer e-commerce, you still need to have high-quality data coming from your applications. If you are testing Google Analytics tags, you will rapidly speed up the process if you use both Charles Proxy and Real Time inside GA. If you have advertising inside your app, Charles Proxy will help you see the requests made. Add Charles Proxy to your tag testing toolkit to make sure your data’s quality remains as high as possible.

This article was originally written by Hristo Vassilev.

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