What is a session?

Glossary What is a session?

The definition of session

An app session is when a user interacts with your app following install. Similar in concept to a web session, mobile user sessions are a little trickier to define. This is due to the unique way most users now engage with mobile devices.

Much like a web user may move between many open tabs on a browser, mobile users tend to have many apps open at the same time. The app they are currently interacting with is open in the foreground, while the others are open in the background.

Rather than engaging with one app at a time, most mobile users bounce between multiple apps. They may switch from texting a friend to quickly changing track in a music app before returning to their conversation. Or, they even may move from one messaging app to another to communicate with different friend groups. There are endless scenarios where users are switching rapidly between apps, meaning we have to consider this in how we measure a session.

That is why Adjust’s definition of sessions is a span of activity separated by 30 minutes (minimum), and is considered only when an app is open in the foreground. After this window of interaction, a user opening your app in the foreground will be considered a new session. This helps to account for the multitasking nature of mobile device usage and present a more accurate picture of how often and how long a user may be on an app.

Why are sessions important?

Sessions can be analyzed in a way that reveals how users truly interact with an app. For example, session data can determine the average length of time users spend on an app as well as the time of day users are most likely to engage with a particular app.

By combining analysis of session metadata (e.g., session length) with usage data (e.g., tracking certain in-app events) and then analyzing behavior across a user base, app businesses can identify opportunities or problems within their apps that can be optimized for improved performance down the line.

3 examples of session analysis by vertical

Proper mobile marketing analysis of sessions can help companies to create an optimal experience for users which maximizes the potential for monetization and retention. Here are a few examples:

E-commerce apps can analyze how many sessions it takes for users to convert to perfectly time a reminder push notification of the items in their cart.

Mid-core game developers can analyze their session lengths to see whether users invest enough time in-game to fully enjoy the experience on offer, or if micro gameplay would be a useful meta feature to build.

Social media apps can examine session numbers throughout the day to see whether users are making the tool an essential part of their day-to-day life. Understanding when the longest sessions occur throughout the day can also be valuable when driving engagements and retargeting.

Sessions and Adjust

Once the Adjust SDK is integrated with an app, businesses are able to analyze the initial session post-install and all subsequent sessions, then use these insights to understand user behavior further. Learn more about session callbacks and how to set up session parameters with Adjust. Or, learn about how your data is visualized with Datascape.

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