New Facebook Tools Let Developers See What Users Are Doing In Their Apps

Author

Selena Larson

September 17, 2014

Facebook has a new plan for helping application developers monitor the success—or failure—of their applications. And that’s true whether they’re developing apps specifically to work with Facebook or not.

On Tuesday, the company introduced two new functions in App Insights, a tool that lets developers monitor traffic and Facebook interactions for apps. The new capabilities give app developers more detailed information about user behavior and app performance.

App Insights requires the Facebook software development kit (SDK), but works for general mobile apps as well as desktop apps that are integrated with Facebook.

Developers can now categorize groups of people by using “label cohorts” that group individuals into specific categories based on actions they’ve taken in a particular app. This information enables simple A/B testing, in which developers introduce a change for a subset of users to see how they react.

For instance, mobile game developers can provide one group of people with a digital gift and then track that cohort to see if it leads them to eventually spend more in the game.

Facebook offers four preset cohort types. These include “action-based,” for groups of people who done something specific, like clicking a button or making a purchase, and “time-based,” for users who all downloaded an app at the same time. Developers can create their own unique cohort types as well.

The second update provides specific, time-based data on how frequently people use an application and what kind of action they take after downloading it. This data is available up to 14 weeks after the person installs the app, and can be found in Facebook’s new App Event retention charts.

These charts monitor different “events,” like installing the application or making an in-app purchase. Developers can use this data to find out how fast users get to a specific level in the game, or how soon after downloading an application a user makes a purchase. 

To start using the new tools, developers should install the Facebook SDK.

Photo courtesy of Facebook

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