Custom Variables For Your Android Applications

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | 12:39 PM

With the power of the Google Analytics Mobile SDK, you can track activity within your mobile applications the same way you track activity on websites. In fact, this SDK turns Google Analytics into a great tool for analyzing mobile application usage, with the option to use many of the same great features like advanced segments, goals, and custom reporting. However, you could not apply custom variables to the pageviews and events you sent from your mobile application to Analytics... until now. Get ready for a holiday present.


We’re pleased to announce the addition of custom variables to the Mobile Analytics SDK for Android. Using the same simple interface, you can now apply custom variables to your mobile usage data, making for dead-easy segmenting of that data when it comes time to analyze usage and optimize your mobile application.

How, you ask, can custom variables be used to optimize an Android application? The same way they help you optimize web applications: by providing actionable context. Some starter ideas for how to segment your Android application users:
  • Free vs Paid users: What percentage of users went from demo to full version? How long did it take them?
  • Application Version: What version of your app gained the most users? Which version lost some users? Look at where things went wrong and fix them. Fast.
  • Platform version: Would bumping up the minimum version of your application cost you some percentage of your user base? Should you stay backwards compatible with cupcake, or focus on the juicy new features?
You can also use custom variables to tell how users interact with your application:
  • Modes of interaction: UI-wise, do your users use menu-items or long-presses more often?
  • Help/Tutorial: How many features of your application are explored by users who finished the built-in tutorial? How many get used by those who didn’t? What’s the conversion rate to paid users?
  • Portrait vs landscape: What mode are people in during most of their interaction with your application?
Thanks to the flexibility of the Google Analytics platform, this information is now available to include in your Android applications. And because it’s Google Analytics, you still have the advantage of analyzing all this data with our web interface, as well as all the data analysis and visualization tools provided by our ridiculously awesome community.

From all of us on the Google Analytics team, we hope you enjoy!