The Benefit of Gathering User Data

Gathering User Data

Developing an app has many benefits to your company, clients, and customers, but there is an added benefit which, if used correctly, can help you in all aspects of your business, and give you the tools to anticipate the needs of your users: Gathering user data.

In this online age so many people are wary of privacy issues, yet people are willingly giving up their info all the time. You know all those quizzes on Facebook that go through surges of popularity…

What 3 pictures describe you?
What does your Vegas trip look like?
Who is your soulmate?

They all require users to give access to their info before seeing results. And droves of people do it! In spite of the vocal minority speaking out against privacy issues online,  either many of us are unaware of privacy concerns, or we just don’t care.

So how does gathering user information benefit your business? In countless ways. Here are just a few:

Marketing

The most obvious use of user data is through marketing. Knowing a user’s demographics, location, and desires gives you the ability to target your advertisements to your key audience. Tracking what they are interested in and actually using on your app highlights your projects successes and failures, and gives you the tools to improve things in a targeted way.

Anticipating Needs

One thing you can and should be doing with your app is tracking what your users are clicking on, how long they are on each module for, and what they are attracted to. You can even see the peak times of day your app is used. This gives you a massive opportunity to learn about your user and, before they are even aware of it, you can give them what they want.

Privacy Policies

It’s important to note that each app store has privacy policies which every app must adhere to. For instance Apple’s privacy policy forbids the gathering of e-mail addresses, serial numbers, and other information that can be used to track users. Make sure you are fully aware of these regulations before launching your app.

Better User Experience

Gathering user information is not only beneficial to the app administrators, but also to the users. In obvious cases you may need permission to access a user’s location, contacts, camera, or be able to deliver push notifications in order for the app to properly function.

But other aspects of learning about your user will help them have a better user experience as well. Discovering what your users are drawn to can give you the ability to target your newsletter and emails to their needs, giving them what they want, instead of guessing.

Knowing that a majority of your users are reading or listening to something can help you speak to them as well, by featuring stats that include them. For instance you could have the ability to say “70% of you listen to the new Adele album…” showing users a sense of inclusiveness.

Right away, or wait?

So should you start collecting this information right away, or wait until your app is beyond a MVP? Most sources will tell you to start right away. Even if you don’t know what to do with the information you gather, it will be extremely valuable at a later time when you know what to look for and do with it.

Many people who now have successful online brands regret not getting a database of user info – in particular email addresses, from users who came to them in the beginning. Having a way of gathering contact info for your users, while maintaining privacy guidelines, is so important. If you don’t do it from the get-go, you are missing out on a way of reaching thousand of potential customers in the future.

Getting the Info You Need

How does one go about gathering the user info and making sense of it?

Many people do something as simple as having a form each user needs to fill out when signing up for the app. This would automatically target the areas you are interested in learning about your users, and could be anything from age and place of residence, to household income and how many pets they own. What goes in that form is up to you, but some people will warn against this type of information gathering as many people are lazy and/or suspicious, and could back out from signing up with such an in-your-face request.

A very common way of gaining access to important user information nowadays is by logging in with a social media account rather than creating a new account specific to your app. This not only is more convenient for the user because it is as easy as the click of a button, but it gives the app administrator access to aspects of their profile.

Others simply include their data gathering in a terms of service that the user needs to agree to before using the app. While an easy way to get access to the information you are looking for, many experts say it is better to be upfront about the data you are requesting.

Whether you are a startup, or you missed the boat on gathering this information from the start, talk with your developer about what you are hoping to learn about your users, and how to access that database. Get on it as soon as you can, for the benefit of your company and your users.