Ahead of its annual WWDC developer conference in June, Apple has opened up beta access to a new mobile app analytics service aimed at iOS developers. Simply called “Apple’s App Analytics,” an announcement inviting developers to request early access to the service appeared today on the iTunes Connect developer portal. Those with an iTunes Connect account can also reach the sign-up page using the direct link analytics.itunes.apple.com.
According to the announcement, the new service will allow developers to learn how customers “discover and engage with your apps.” Access to the service will be granted on a first-come, first-serve basis, says Apple, which means that not everyone who requests an invite will be allowed in, it seems.
There aren’t a lot of details being offered about the analytics service’s feature set at this time, but Apple says the service will offer developers the ability to track how often customers visit an app’s page on the App Store, find out how many users open the app over time, check on app and in-app purchase sales, create custom campaign links and follow the success of marketing campaigns, and understand which websites refer the most users.
— Ryan Hoover (@rrhoover) April 30, 2015
Apple’s move into this space – which will pit it with a number of third-party analytics providers, including Flurry and App Annie, for example – has been expected ever since Apple acquired Burstly in early 2014. Burstly was the parent company to a number of mobile services aimed at developers and publishers, including the app testing platform TestFlight, which Apple still operates. It also ran an in-app ad management program and a service called FlightPath, a mobile analytics solution, which was shut down prior to Burstly’s acquisition.
Apple teased its plans for the service at last year’s WWDC, noting that “free analytics” would be offered to developers alongside TestFlight for beta testing pre-release apps.
For developers, the advantage of using an Apple-run analytics service is direct access to the mobile download and engagement data, which is not available to third-party providers. Another plus is that, unlike with competing solutions, developers using the new Apple App Analytics service won’t have to write code or update their apps by integrating an SDK, for instance. Instead, once granted access, they’re able to view their analytics data right away directly from the iTunes Connect homepage.
However, while the new addition may cause some developers to drop their premium accounts with third-party analytics providers, many of those analytics companies today offer advanced feature sets that may not compare with Apple’s own product. If anything, Apple’s service could instead establish a sort of baseline toolset that others in the industry will have to best in order to attract and retain customers.
Apple is likely planning to offer more information about its new service at this year’s WWDC.