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How to Use the iTunes Connect Sources Report

3 min read

Browsing on iPhone

Until this month, it’s been a mystery as to exactly how many of your app downloads come from App Store search.

But no more.

It’s been about two years since Apple introduced App Analytics and they have finally made app referrer data available.

But how can this help you optimize your app?

In this post, I’ll show you what the report contains and how to utilize the information you uncover.

What You Can Now Access Inside the iTunes Connect Sources Report

To see iTunes Connect sources data, go to the Sources tab in your iTunes Dashboard. Then select App Referrers.

Here’s a screenshot from our friend Gabe at Incipia, which was featured on Techcrunch.

itunes connect sources App Referrals tab
Image: Gabe Kwakyi

Now let’s take a look at each metric, what it tells you and how you can use it to your benefit.

App Store Search

Obviously, this is the metric that we are the most excited about. Apple has already released data that 65% of iOS apps are discovered through search.

So by adding this tracking metric, they further emphasize the importance of organic downloads. 

Having access to this data is huge. Before this, you had to do a little math to figure out how many of your downloads where coming through organic search.

This basically involved tracking your paid downloads and your downloads from web search (or any other trackable source), then subtracting that number from your total downloads to get approximate organic downloads.

It was a good ballpark figure, but still not ideal. One of the issues was that App Store browsing downloads could be lumped in with search downloads.

With this iTunes Connect update, you can see exactly what percentage of downloads comes from each separate category. With this information, you can finally see how well your ASO experiments are working.

This goes a long way when trying to justify the value of ASO to your boss or any other stakeholder.

App Store Browse

Browsing on iPhone

The next most useful App Store metric is App Store Browse. This shows you the percentage of downloads that come from Categories, Top Charts and Featured Apps browsing.

If you are working on getting your app on one of these lists, then you will be able to see how your placement affects downloads.

In general, being on these lists will help more people find your app. But is it as many as you thought?

Now you will know.

Web Referrer

This is a measure of how many of your downloads come from the web. At first glance, you might get excited about having access to this data.

But Apple actually only counts users who come from Safari on an iOS device.

Does this really matter?

Don’t most people on iOS use Safari anyway? 

Well, we did some research and the usage numbers vary. One report says that only about 43% of iPhone users prefer Safari. Another report says that Safari accounts for 55% of all US mobile browser usage.

The exact number is actually irrelevant. What really matters is that a significant number of iOS users are using Chrome (and other browsers) as their primary browser.

So take this into account when looking at your Web Referrer data. The information in the report is still useful, but it may not show you the whole picture.

A great way to make up for this shortcoming is to setup Campaigns. This gives you a trackable link that can be used in an app or on a website.

It is a much more accurate way of tracking exactly where your downloads are coming from.

For each link, you can see how many views, downloads (app units), sales and sessions each link brought in.

iTunes Connect Campaign links
Image: Apple

Also be sure to use the date filter to see how effective the campaigns you ran in a certain month were. Simply change the App Purchase Date from None to month you want to examine.

How to change app purchase date
Image: Apple

Of course, you cannot use a custom link for every link to your App Page. But by tracking as many as possible, you will get deeper insights into which linking strategies are working.

Other analytics platforms such as Google Analytics might be better tracking solutions if you want to see web referrals. It just depends on how much detail you need to see.

App Referrer

Finally, App Referrer shows you how many visitors are coming from other apps. This is useful if you are doing cross-promotion between apps.

If you aren’t doing cross-promotion, then the ability to track the results could be a great reason to give it a try.

Conclusion

So that is everything you need to know about the App Referrers section of iTunes Connect sources reporting. For people doing App Store Optimization, this is the biggest advance in iOS analytics, since the introduction of App Store keyword volume data.

Take advantage of it. 

To get more information on Apple App Analytics and iTunes Connect sources report, watch all of the tutorial videos, visit this page.

 

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