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SaaS app analytics guide: tools, tips, and metrics to track

Kerry Leech 18 min read
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App analytics can make or break your SaaS marketplace app’s success. The truth is, no app is perfect, and even the most successful apps run into problems. But with the right analytics insight, you can identify potential problems and react to them – sometimes before they arise.

This makes app analytics such a crucial part of the app development process. And it’s no secret continuous development and improvements are key to SaaS marketplace app success.

In this article, we look at why SaaS app analytics is important, key metrics to track, which tools to use, and tips for success. We’ll also cover the basics of implementing app analytics on your app.

SaaS app analytics: What is it and why is it important?

SaaS app analytics helps app developers understand their app performance and customers better by generating actionable insight into customers, customer journeys, and app health.

SaaS app analytics will help you answer important questions such as:

  • How many customers do you have?
  • How long do they use it for?
  • How often do customers open the app?

In summary, it helps you understand if everything is working as it’s supposed to while identifying customer pain points to help you grow your app. All of these questions highlight a key element of the customer journey – the user experience.

Think about it. Nothing will interfere with the customer experience more than clunky functionality. And if a user hits a problem, that could be enough to cause them to potentially churn.

For instance, if you can see that everything flows smoothly up until the registration page, but then customers drop off, you know that you might need to revisit this particular aspect of your app to improve the UX or fix a bug.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the key app usage metrics to track.

4 app usage metrics to track and why are they important

As a SaaS marketplace app developer, your focus will be on building relationships with your customers and ensuring they get what they want from your app through a seamless onboarding experience and getting the first value. It’s also important to ensure that your app provides added value to the end user to grow and retain your audience. So, which usage metrics should you track and why are they important?

Usage metric #1: App engagement

As the name suggests, app engagement will help you measure how engaged your customers are with your app including:

  • How many customers do you have? How many of these are free users, on a free trial period, or paying?
  • How often do customers interact with your app?
  • How frequently does a user abandon your app?

Why this is important: Monitoring and optimizing your app engagement rate will set you up for long-term success.

Usage metric #2: User retention

Retaining new customers is much easier than acquiring new ones. And if your retention rate is high, then it shows you’re doing something right and meeting user expectations.

To understand how well you are retaining customers, look at:

  • Yearly user retention rates
  • Monthly user retention rates
  • Fluctuations (e.g. seasonal variations etc)

Why this is important: The average user retention rate will vary according to industry, but in short, the higher the retention rate, the higher your chances of success.

Usage metric #3: Activity milestones 

Tracking the activity milestones through your app will help you understand how customers move through the funnel. The activity or milestone will be different according to your app use case and how customers use it, so it’s important to measure the frequency of activities.

Consider how customers move through the funnel including:

  • Install
  • First use
  • First value
  • Conversion to pay

Why this is important: If you’re seeing high activity throughout the funnel on your app, you can be confident that the customer journey is seamless.

Usage metric #4: Churn rate

This one is a bit more obvious. After all, when it comes to churn rate, the lower the better. Try and measure this metric regularly, at least monthly, but ideally bi-weekly, so that you can pick up on any potential issues quickly.

Why this is important: Once a user has installed your app, you want to make them stick around, so if you are seeing users unsubscribe from paid plans and churn rates rising, try and analyze the customer journey to see what might be causing it.

What tools can you use to track SaaS app metrics?

As we’ve just seen, when you track the right metrics you can gain unimaginable insight into the health of your app, how seamless the customer journey is, and whether any problems need fixing. But all of this raises one key question: What tools can you use to track app metrics?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all software that provides analytics on every aspect of your SaaS app, here’s our round-up of the six top tools:

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics helps you to monitor traffic so that you can analyze how customers interact with the app. While it’s typically popular within the marketing industry, it’s handy for developers too.

How do developers use it?

  • Monitor user behavior: See how long customers stay on a page. Is there a high bounce-back rate, indicating the page isn’t what they were looking for? Are long load speeds causing an issue? Plus, identify which pages and links have the highest volume and may be worth developing further if it’s down to demand.
  • A/B testing: You can quickly test variations to pages and then see how this impacts traffic in real-time.

Key benefits:

  • Check multi-device interactions: You can split monitoring behavior on the website versus mobile interactions.
  • Custom reporting: You can set GA to report on certain goals and KPIs, rather than manually digging into information each time.
  • Real-time data: There’s no delay to see the impact of any changes you make directly to customer behavior.

Why Google Analytics? Like us, Google is always focused on product development and so you can expect it to regularly add new features and functionality – like custom reporting and real-time data features.

Pricing: GA is available for free but if you want additional features like BigQuery (Google’s data warehouse), you may need to start paying each month.

2. Pendo

Pendo is another analytics tool, but unlike Google Analytics, this one is built specifically to help you understand product use. It has more advanced features to help improve product experiences and customer engagement.

How do developers use it?

  • Monitor user behavior: Going beyond GA, you can review feature usage and capture customer feedback through surveys and widgets.
  • Improve usage: You can even leverage their built-in tools to improve customer experiences – such as tooltips and walkthroughs.
  • Create app development roadmaps: Plus, you can use a visual product development dashboard to prioritize and plan when you’ll make app developments.

Key benefits:

  • User-friendly: This one is deemed more of an easy-to-use tool than GA.
  • Built for developers: With product development in mind, you might like the additional features like feedback capture support to help deliver successful apps.
  • Integration: Pendo integrates with other tools, like your CRM, so that you can connect data across your tech stack and get one single view of performance.

Why Pendo? Its more advanced features make SaaS marketplace app development much easier.

Pricing: Pendo also provides a basic package for free so you can get a taste. But then for more advanced features, like generating Net Promoter Scores, the package jumps to $8,000 per year.

3. Mixpanel 

Mixpanel is more closely matched to GA, focusing on users actions on a website, such as signing up for a service, watching a demo, or interacting with features of a product or service. In short, it’s designed to help you understand user engagement metrics.

How do developers use it?

  • Segmented analysis: If you’ve got target demographics, this tool is super handy as it allows developers to segment user data based on demographics, for example.
  • Retention analysis: There’s also specific features that help you to track and assess retention rates and to identify factors that cause a drop-off.

Key benefits:

  • Real-time data: Like GA, there’s no data delay so you can track engagements live.
  • Individual analysis: Unlike GA, it’s not aggregated user data. With Mixpanel, you can see how individual customer journeys play out.
  • User-friendly: Like Pendo, this one is deemed easier to use. Some even say it is intuitive.

Why Mixpanel? So far, it’s like a hybrid of the benefits of GA and Pendo. You get the best of both tools in Mixpanel, and it’s also easier on the purse strings.

Pricing: Mixpanel offers a free package, like the others. And you can level-up to a ‘growth’ package which starts at $240 per annum.

4. Userpilot

Userpilot is a code-free onboarding platform that is quite useful for mid-term user analytics that makes user behavior data easier to interpret and track by using predefined goals.

How do developers use it?

  • Personalization: Userpilot has functionality that allows you to customize individual journeys based on preferences.
  • A/B testing: You can easily run tests to help increase use and retention rates.

Key benefits:

  • In-app notifications: It allows you to create and send targeted messages to users, like promoting a new and relevant feature and offering tips.
  • Customizable: There’s quite a bit of functionality that you can tweak. For example, it has onboarding flows to guide users through key features relevant to them.

Why Userpilot? The unique selling point of this tool is the customizable flows, particularly the ability to personalize experiences from the onboarding stage.

Pricing: Unfortunately, no freebies with this one but you can book a demo. Packages start at $249 per month.

5. Heap

Heap is an all-around product analytics platform that tracks all sorts of in-app user interactions and helps you answer the question – what is happening?

How do developers use it?

  • Advanced user tracking: This one allows you to delve into clicks, scrolls, form submissions and more. It goes one step beyond what we’ve covered already.
  • Segmented analysis: Like Mixpanel, developers love this tool for its more advanced data analysis which allows you to segment by criteria like demographics.

Key benefits:

  • Funnel analysis: Heap allows you to track and analyze behavior through funnels so that you can see when users choose to take a specific action, and when they disengage.
  • Real-time data: Like two other tools we’ve mentioned, data that feeds the tool is real-time so there’s no data delay so you can track engagements live.

Why Heap? It’s the advanced user tracking, for sure.

Pricing: You’re in luck with this one. This tool provides a basic free package. You’ll need to get in touch with their sales teams for the pricing of the few other more advanced packages.

6. Fathom

Fathom allows you to build your own simple analytics by logging a record to a database when your users do a specific action. Fathom’s unique selling point is the data privacy focus which helps prevent risks and threats of data breaches.

How do developers use it?

  • Simple user analytics: Like all the other tools, it helps track user behavior so you can identify ways to improve your app.

Key benefits:

  • Easy to set-up and use: It’s easy to install and set up – with no complicated configuration. It’s also deemed much more user-friendly.
  • Customizable dashboards: You can set up reporting to track certain goals and KPIs.
  • Data regulation: Fathom is compliant with laws like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It’s one less regulation to think about.

Why Fathom? This unique selling point is a big one: it’s the privacy focus.

Pricing: Fathom provides a free trial. But you’ll need to take out one of their packages, starting at $14 per month, to get access to the tool. It’s definitely one of the more affordable solutions.

By now you’ll probably have started to build a clearer picture of what makes a great analytics tool and why they’re important. With app analytics, you can track user behavior, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions.

Some tools may be better suited to your needs than others. A few key differences are ease-of-use, customization, advanced analytics. And then you need to consider the price. Once you’ve weighed all this up, the good news is that we’ve likely got a way to integrate the tool you choose – which is crucial to pulling all your data and insight together in one place.

Let’s look at how this works.

How to implement SaaS app analytics tools on your app

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to implement app analytics:

1. Define what you want to measure

It’s important to begin by defining what you want to measure. Start simple and build from there.

It’s tempting to try to measure everything – and analytics tools give you a lot of powerful metrics right out of the box. However, if you begin not knowing exactly what you want to measure, you risk getting distracted by irrelevant data or coming to the wrong conclusions.

2. Choose a tool

Before actually implementing your app’s analytics, you need to know what steps to take. Therefore, it’s important to choose a tool early in the process.

When choosing a tool, consult their documentation to understand exactly what the implementation will require. Ensure the tool is compatible with your app’s architecture, and that it can measure the metrics you want. This will help you identify technical issues before they become a problem.

3. Install the SaaS app analytics tool to your project

Different analytics products have distinct ways of functioning. Depending on the tool you choose, you may need to do one or more of the following:

  • Add a code snippet/script to the <head> of all your app pages. This step is the most common and is used by tools like Google Analytics, Heap, Pendo, and others. The code snippet contains a tracking code that allows the system to identify what a user is doing so that it can be ingested.
  • Install a javascript library to send events from your app to the analytics tool. Tools like Heap, Mixpanel, and Fathom all support this method. For instance, if you want to track custom events such as a user’s first value, you will need to use this method.
  • You may need to update the HTML attributes of your app’s elements to send the correct data to the tool. Heap provides a guide on this topic, which you can find here.

4. Implement custom events in the tool of your choice

It’s likely that the analytics tool you choose will not have the exact metrics you want by default, and you will need to implement some custom tracking inside your app. Many analytics tools are event-based, which means that they keep track of specific points in a customer life cycle.

In the app context, this typically means when someone:

  • Installs your app
  • First use
  • First get some value from it
  • Convert to paying

These events are defined differently depending on what your app does and its architecture. For example, an integration with a third-party system will define “first value” differently than an app that creates financial reports. When defining the event, you will also need to identify where in your code you will log it.

Then once you know when an event will be tracked, you will need to make an API call to the analytics platform to log it. You may need to do this using a client-side library (such as Heap or GA4) or with an HTTP API (like Mixpanel).

5. Document your work so you can update it later if you need to

Document all your work in an accessible place so you or your teammates can refer to it later. You will make a lot of decisions while making your analytics visible — some small and some big. Documenting these decisions will help you understand what you did and why you did it, in case you need to make changes or audit your work.

6. Conduct a privacy audit

Data analytics requires data storage, and storing user data is a big responsibility. Your users are entrusting you with their information and you have a responsibility to keep it safe and process it reasonably.

Ensure you know what data you’re storing, and why. Regularly review your data practices to ensure you can account for all the data your users entrust you with, and that you have a good reason for storing it.

If you’re connecting with a third party, you may also need to update your privacy policy to disclose those details including — what tool you use, how it stores and processes data, and why. If you’re building your own analytics, you will have more control over the data you store and process — but you will also need to consider your practices carefully.

As a case in point, many countries are finally realizing that they need to protect their users’ privacy, and are implementing new regulations for this. These rules ensure technology companies are storing and processing user data responsibly. Two notable examples are GDPR and CCPA, which apply to anyone serving customers in the EU or California. For more on this, take a look at these Snowflake best practices and how to write a privacy notice for GDPR compliance.

7. Check your data for accuracy

It’s easy to misinterpret data. So, after you’ve finished implementing your analytics, it’s important to monitor the insights it produces. Carefully check the data against your own assumptions to ensure it looks reasonable.

As a final point, after implementing analytics tools on your app, it’s key to continue to monitor your app’s performance using analytics. Are customers engaging more with your app? Are they completing your desired actions?

Use this feedback to make ongoing improvements and continue to iterate on your app. For instance, on you can check app ratings and reviews to understand how customers view your app. You can take a look at our Developer hub now, or if you still have unanswered questions, take a look at the most frequently asked questions, below.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

What is SaaS app analytics?

SaaS analytics is the process used by SaaS app developers to analyze user engagement across the customer journey to understand customer behavior, reduce churn, and increase customer engagement.

Can you use Google Analytics in SaaS?

Google Analytics helps SaaS app developers understand their audience better by tracking a range of visitor activities. If you need more than this, you could also consider:

  • Pendo: To understand product use
  • Mixpanel: To find out more about target demographics
  • Userpilot: For A/B testing, personalizing customer journeys, and more
  • Heap: To understand in-app user interactions
  • Fathom: For simple analytics and data privacy requirements

What are the growth analytics for SaaS apps?

The key metrics to track are app engagement, churn rate, user retention, conversions, and uninstalls. These five metrics cover all key areas of your customer journey and are key performance indicators for your SaaS app health.

Easily manage successful SaaS marketplace apps on 

Regardless of what your SaaS app analytics reveals, customers should always be your number one priority. Luckily, understanding how customers use your app is built into’s Developer hub.

Plus, with the tools we’ve compiled, you can track customer footprints at every step of their journey and understand how they are engaging with your app. With the right insights, metrics, and a little bit of prioritization, you can turn your customers into long-term loyal brand advocates.

In a time when everyone is crunching the numbers (and dollars), ensures your app is one that customers will fight to keep. That’s because’s developer platform unites all the information and tools you need to start building apps for the app marketplace – all in service to the customer.

Kerry Leech is a highly experienced B2B Content Marketer with over 20 years' experience within SaaS, Data, and Tech.
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