Twitter’s Crashlytics Launches Free Real-Time Metrics With Answers

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Crashlytics is a rare bird in today’s developer tool landscape — and a breed that is getting rarer by the day.

Namely, a suite of developer tools that includes crash reporting, beta testing and now real-time retention and usage metrics that is not owned by Apple, Google, Amazon or Microsoft. The bigs have their hands in this pie because they must. Developer tools are not something that they can afford to leave to third parties — they must provide the most holistic and welcoming environment possible for the developers that they hope to woo long-term.

But what about those developers that want to offer cross-platform products and not run a half-dozen different bits of tracking code in their apps? You want universal, you want (relatively) low-agenda products and you want to know it’s going to be around a while.

That’s where the strength of Crashlytics lies. They’re owned by Twitter, sure. But Twitter is a platform that exists outside of the major app stores (at least for the forseeable future) and it’s also one that caters to advertising needs of app developers. Just see its recent foray into app install ads to see how serious it is about being a viable app discovery and adoption tool for developers.

Back in May, Crashlytics announced its first post-acquisition product, with the addition of free cross-platform beta testing. Now, it’s announcing another, called Answers.

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Answers is real-time tracking of user growth, engagement and retention metrics. It’s bundled into the current Crashlytics dashboard, it’s free and it requires no additional code. It’s going to be a very big deal for those developers already using Crashlytics, and should be a big draw for those not yet doing so.

“Answers streamlines the process of revealing the key drivers of your app’s growth. With just one click, and no extra code changes, you’ll have the power to understand your app’s key usage and retention metrics,” said Twitter’s Brian Swift in a blog post today. “We intelligently and quickly send data at low impact times to optimize and reduce traffic on your app. Built into our existing Crashlytics SDK, Answers gives you instant visibility and a constant pulse on your app’s key metrics. “

The Answers product will monitor percentage of retention within days, weeks or months of installing your app. It will also show you the total number of user sessions and the average number of sessions per user. Session length is also measured, and, of course, crash reporting is charted in real time.

There are some third-party options, independent of any ownership, like Hockey, Raygun and Ubertesters still left around. And Hockey is really well respected among the developers that I speak to. Still, Crashlytics Answers provides an interesting proposition, especially at the current price for all of its offerings: free.

Currently, we understand that Crashlytics’ acquisition by Twitter hasn’t hurt growth, and that makes some sense, for the reasons stated above. Yes, there are great options out there that aren’t owned by any big company (yet), but Twitter has an opportunity here to act as an app Switzerland, and attract some ad business while it’s at it. Good buy.

Image Credit: Martin Cathrae