What is Application Analytics, Usage Analytics, Runtime statistics?

What is SoftMeter?

Quick answer: SoftMeter is "Google Analytics for desktop applications".

Longer answer: Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular website statistics tool. It shows statistics about the visitors to your website. Also, it is free. Apart from websites, GA can also track Firebase mobile apps.

SoftMeter application analytics and statisticsSoftMeter is a very small software library that extends the coverage of GA to include desktop applications (Windows and MacOS; IOS coming soon). Also, it has a free edition.

By including SoftMeter in your desktop application you will be able to see how users around the world use your application. Just like you monitor how the visitors' traffic on your website.

You can read here what application analytics is, why software developers should use it, who are the main providers of run-time application analytics.

You will also learn about our free Software Usage Analytics library, SoftMeter that you can use in your desktop software.

1) What is usage analytics, also known as Application Analytics or Runtime Analytics

Usage Analytics, Application Statistics, Runtime analytics, In-app Statistics
Usage analytics for software, is the remote collection, measurement, analysis and reporting of the usage patterns of a software product.
With usage analytics, software developers can see how many installations their software has, how often and how long their users open the software, which features are used and needed the most, which operating systems and screen resolutions the users have.
With this valuable and in some cases real-time information, developers can focus on improving what is important for their users, achieving in this way a superior product, that is produced with less effort and time.

Usage analytics for software is a new practice, copied from the website statistics

Like website analytics where you examine the visitor traffic of your website, software analytics allow you to see the installations and the usage of your distributed desktop software (or mobile app) and answer questions like:

  • How many users have run my application today/this month/any-period-of-time?
  • Is my latest version installed by my users?
  • How many free vs paid installations does my shareware have?
  • What is the geographical distribution of my software?
  • Which software features are most/least used?
  • Which operating systems, OS versions and screen resolutions do my users have?

Application analytics / Usage analytics example - SoftMeter library for Windows and MacOS
Example screenshot from the SoftMeter usage statistics library that sends data to Google Analytics:
Number of installs/uninstalls per version of your software, during the selected period of time.


Application analytics dashboard with SoftMeter and Google analytics
Application analytics dashboard: instant view to desktop software statistics

2) Why developers need usage analytics

"No relationship can survive without effective and honest communication, and the special relationship that exists between you [the software developer] and your users is no exception.
Yet development organizations too rarely exploit the most immediate communication tool at their disposal: their application."

Read about the benefits of application statistics on this article by Sebastian Holst.

Quick answer:

  1. To build better software in less time,
  2. to increase the sales,
  3. to fix bugs quickly.

Long answer:

  1. For the success of any project, measuring the results is equally important as constructing it.
    As a software developer, you must measure the usage of the program you construct.
    Having knowledge of how much and how exactly your software is used can help you build better software with less effort, focusing on what is important to your users.
  2. If you distribute freeware or shareware applications, you need to know how large is your installed base of free (non-paying) users.
    This will allow you to create and fine-tune your monetisation model and adjust your offers to convert your free users to paying customers.
  3. To quickly discover and fix bugs, you need an exception recording mechanism that allows you to collect via the internet the problems that occur on the users' computers. Most application analytics tools provide exception and crash capturing and reporting.
    Additionally to the exception reporting, when viewing the abandonment rate per operating system or screen resolution you can discover deficiencies of your software under specific environments.
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