Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mobile Analytics

Current State

In April of 2000 I got my first cell phone.  It was a Nokia phone and weighed more than a small child, and in fact it came with a carrying strap (that’s right, a strap).  When purchasing the phone the salesperson didn't ask whether I wanted a data plan or other add-ons because they simply didn't exist at the time.  The phone only had a two color monochrome screen and only did on thing: make phone calls.  I originally signed up for a plan that gave me 200 hundred minutes of talk time and I remember thinking that was excessive because I would never be able to talk on the phone or use a mobile device for that length of time. 
            Twelve years later the world is a much different place, consumers are measured by large carriers through a hierarchy of data plans, mobile browsing, texting, apps, and video chat.  Phone size has decreased, the carrying straps have disappeared, and most people now carry a full html version of the Internet in their pocket.  Along with these changes consumers have begun to purchase more and more products with their cell phones, visit social sites, and get news, thus creating a market for mobile analytics and a need to quickly understand market trends to capitalize on shifting dynamics.  Since the iPhone’s introduction in 2007, the mobile web in the United States has been turbocharged (Kaushik, 2010).

Where is it going?

·         Mobile commerce sales increased 81 percent in 2012, reaching a total $25 billion and accounting for 11 percent overall ecommerce sales, according to a new report from eMarketer.
·         Overall, 24 percent of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site over Thanksgiving and Black Friday, up from 14.3 percent last year, according to data from IBM.
·         According to a recent study completed by ComScore, 4 out of 5 smartphone users accessed retail data in July of 2012.

Mobile commerce has finally reached critical mass and will continue to snow ball over the coming years.  This is leading to further developments and tactics in mobile analytics, which in turn is providing better data to companies seeking to maximize mobile commerce.

Key Players and Their Technology

Bango Analytics is a publically traded firm based in the UK.  The company uses image tags to collect data from mobile devices by redirecting traffic to their servers then redirecting it again to the customers landing page (Kaushik, 2010).
Google Analytics:

Google Analytics is a key player in both mobile and standard analytics and continues to be an industry leader in both categories.    Google uses java based solutions to collect information from java enabled phones such as the iPhone.  This form of analytics is usually one of the easiest to set up and manage but also has shortcomings such as non java enabled phones and the use of cookies which has come under scrutiny in recent news for invasion of privacy.


Like Google, Omniture uses a java-based script to capture data from mobile devices using java.  Another issue with this technology is that unique visitors are identified with cookies and several mobile phones have cookies disabled (Kaushik, 2010).


Mobilytics is another company like Bango that uses image tags to collect mobile analytics.  Some feel this a better method because it will provide analytics for both java and non-java devices (Kaushik, 2010).  Reading in various tech blogs there are those who feel this type of data collection will soon become obsolete as the dominance of Apple and Android powered smart phones continues, placing the majority of smartphone users in the java powered category.


Mobile ecommerce is continuing to grow around the world.  As mobile browsers grow in complexity the analytics harvested from the will continue to get better and better. This will continue to fuel this growing sector of the analytics world and return a greater ROI to companies using the technology.

Works Cited:

Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik, Wiley Publishing 2010

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