Google analytics reporting examples for tracking software/shareware desktop applications

As a shareware developer, you are probably already using Google analytics for your website traffic as it is a free and reliable solution.

By using SoftMeter for Google Analytics in your shareware/software application you can see run-time statistics of your program via the usual Google Analytics platform.

Because Google Analytics is purposed to measure website traffic and website users/visitors, the labels of some of the figures are slightly different when you monitor the usage of your software.

Google Analytics term   SoftMeter term Comments
SoftMeter variables - Adapted terminology for GA

Website (for Website properties)
or
App (for Mobile App properties)

Your desktop program (software application)  
Browser The name of your software program ( see also AppName below)  
User or visitor Installation For every installation, SoftMeter generates a unique anonymous UserID, that can also be thought as MachineID. Therefore, Google Analytics figures about Users, we can be considered as Installations.
New users New installations  
Session or visit A program use. A session starts when the user launches your program (assuming that you send a hit at that time) and lasts until the user exits your program or stops using it for more than 30 minutes.
Session duration How long a user is actively using your program.  
Google analytics hits
You can send to G.A. these types of hits from inside your desktop software.
Pageview Pageview hit Appears in "Website" types of reporting views.
Screenview Screenview hit Appears in "Mobile App" types of reporting views.
Event Event hit Appears in "Website" and "Mobile App" types of reporting views.
Exception Exception hit. How to track your program's exceptions or crashes via Google analytics. Appears in "Mobile App" types of reporting views.
Computer parameters
Screen resolution Screen resolution  
Campaign medium User's operating system  
Operating system User's operating system (e.g. MacOs, Windows)  
Operating system version User's operating system version (e.g. 8, 8.1, 7, 10, 10.13)  
Location Location (country, city) of your users  
Language User's preferred language from the computer settings  
    Total computer memory  
Application information
AppID Your app's edition / Your app's license (e.g. Windows / Trial, MacOS / Paid, etc) Combined field with these two (free text) parameters
Campaign source Your application name and version  
App Name Your application name  
App Version Your application version  
SoftMeter library information
Data source SoftMeter library name and version  
Unused parameters
Campaign name      
Referrer      
Demographics      

Below you can see some common questions the developers have and their answers as provided by the reports of Google analytics.

1. How many people install or uninstall my software per month? Under which OS are the most uninstallations?
In Google Analytics you can easily create a custom report that shows all these data.
We created such a report and shared its template titled "Installs vs uninstalls of desktop software" via the Google Analytics solutions gallery. You can import it from there, into your G.A. property.
Below are some sample screenshots showing the installation statistics of our own shareware software.
statistics of desktop software installations
statistics of installations of software per application version
desktop software analytics about installation per operating system
Timeline of installations of desktop software per month
2. Does my program run ok or does it crash at the end-users' computers?
You can catch the exceptions inside your program and send them as "Exception" and "Crash" hits to Google Analytics.
You can then see the crashes in combination with the OS, the screen resolution and your application version to extract your conclusions about the bug.
Read more at: How to track your program's exceptions or crashes via Google analytics.
Software exception catching and reporting via Google Analytics
Example report in Google Analytics showing the application's crashes and exceptions.

3. How many installations each version of my software has? Which are the operating systems of my users? How many free vs paid installations do I have?
In Google Analytics you can easily create a custom report that shows all these data.
We created such a report and shared its template via the Google Analytics solutions gallery. You can import it from there, into your G.A. property.
application version, edition, license
Installations per application, application version and edition



For the App ID field, the library sends the appEdition combined with the appLicense.
Example values (free text) that you can use:
- for the appEdition: Standard, Mac, Win, Special Build, etc.
- for the appLicense: Free, Paid, Full, Trial, etc.
operating system of your users
Which operating systems do your users have?


 

Screen resolution of your user base
Screen resolutions


4. What is the number of my users (active installations) over time?
Import our custom report template "Timeline of users (active installations)" from the Google Analytics gallery. to see how the number of you users evolves over time.
shareware report on active installations
5. What information can I have about the users of my software?
real time users in Google Analytics
Under the "Audience" section, go to overview.
For the selected period of time you will see:
the total number of users
the average time they use your application (agv. session duration)
if the users are new or existing users
the users' country, city, language, operating system, and your application name and version (Browser)
 
6. How many users are running my software right now?
real time users in Google Analytics

Go to the real-time section and then to traffic sources. Yoy will see:

  • the number of users in the last 30min,
  • The user's operating system and version (under Medium)
  • Your program's name and version under Source.
7. How many active installations does my software have?
reporting on active software installations
For each installation, SoftMeter creates a unique anonymous userID, so Google analytics will report every Installation of your software as a User.
The number of Installations is the number of Users.
Under "Audience" / "Active users" you can see how many users have used your application in the selected period of time.
Selecting "7 day active users" means to count the users that opened your software at least once per week.
8. How many new installations do I have this period? (month, year, etc)
New software installations report
Reminder, every new user is a new installation for your shareware software.
9. How many new vs active installations does my shareware have?
New vs active software installations report
You can see the new and the existing installation in the same graph, so you can understand which peaks are due to new installations. You have to select "1 day" as the analysis parameter.
10. What is the distribution of the various versions of my software?
app version google analytics dimension
You can also add "app version" as a secondary dimension.
11. What are the operating systems my users have?
operating system and version
In Google Analytics, under the "Audience" section, go to the operating system tab and select "Operating system version" as a secondary dimension.
12. What are their screen resolutions?
screen resolution
You can see the screen resolution and also the device category to better understand where each resolution comes from.

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