Tracking Mobile Apps, Websites & Games!
As mobile phone operating systems get more popular, and as today, where customers buying mobile phones, not just because they look good, but because they offer them plenty of extendability features like apps, and many people build their website to target and support mobile phone browsers, Mobile web analytics is becoming a necessity. As for 2010, there are 45 million US Smartphone users according to comScore Mobile Subscriber market share report.
Let’s take, for example, the blogging platform Wordpress. Many people who utilize a self-hosted version of Wordpress platform, can download specific plugins that will mobilize their Wordpress blog and offer different browsing experience that is specifically targeted for mobile visitors. Plugins like “Wordpress Mobile Pack”, “Wordpress Mobile Edition” and “WPTouch” (I use it with this blog), are becoming very favorite among blog owners, who understand the importance of being indexed in Google mobile search engine and also provide better user experience to visitors who use mobile browsers to browse through their website.
However, it isn’t all. Today we can witness many online advertising campaigns, which are aimed to mobile sites, and even Google Adsense ads that allow website owners to put Mobile Adsense ads on their website/apps.
What metrics interest mobile application developers and mobile website owners?
- Which mobile device the visitor used to access my website or use my application? (ex. HTC Nexus One, iPhone 3GS, HTC Hero, Motorola Droid, etc.)
- What operating system / mobile platfrom was used and what version? (ex. Google Android 2.1, iPhone OS 4.0, Windows Phone 7, etc.)
- How long the user has been using my app?
- What are the most popular features used in my mobile app?
- Is there any problem with my app on a specific handset (compatibility issues)?
- In which country my website/app is more popular?
And this list can be very long of course.
So why can’t we just use Google Analytics for that purpose? – Actually you can!
Google Analytics enables you to Track Mobile Apps’ performance by downloading the SDK and use it to get traffic insight on iPhone, iPod Touch and Android application platforms. However, Google Analytics is not the only solution in existent. In this article, we will present to you several mobile analytics solutions for both mobile sites and mobile applications (apps), that I think, are among the unsurpassed products out there today.
First you need to understand what are the advantages of using Mobile web analytics products. Let’s start by understanding why we need such a solution anyway. Is “regular” web analytics solutions isn’t enough?.
Many developers demand Mobile Website Analytics solutions in order to track the usage of their mobile apps. Whether it is an iPhone app or Google Android app, every developer would want to track his mobile application, but tracking apps is some how different than tracking a website or blog.
Google Analytics for Mobile Apps
Mobile applications don’t contain HTML pages like in regular websites, you can’t actually track page views, because there aren’t any pages to track. You as a mobile app developer, need to decide what you actually call “a page”. Google Analytics SDK allows you to rule which view or what part of your application view will trigger a page view. Google suggests that you trigger at least one pageview, and do it at the point the app loads, if you want Google Analytics to track Unique Visitors.
For more information on how to implement you own Google Analytics tracking code for tracking Pageviews and Events, please read an article on Google Analytics Labs called “Analytics Tracking for Mobile Apps”.
Another issue that needed to be solved is how to track mobile application usage. Every application has different events (activities) that are derived actions from the user. Furthermore, there are some applications that target different devices with various mobile operating systems, and in order to get insight of every type of application for a specific platform is not as easy as it sounds.
Even so, in order to get a better understanding and choosing the right product, we need to make a separation between Mobile Analytics for apps and Analytics for mobile websites. As I told you earlier, there is a difference in tracking mobile apps in comparison to tracking visitors in mobile sites.
Other Mobile Analytics Solutions
Many other companies want to give application developers, a more robust and user friendly analytics solution for tracking their mobile applications and mobile websites. I had a chance to try some of them, but at the end, I have found several which I highly recommend to my blog readers. So let’s start the party shall we.
Mobile Website Tracking
AdMob is probably one of the most popular Mobile Analytics product out there. To found out how popular it is, I’ve checked its monthly search volume in Google Keywords Tools, and it had 74,000 hits from the ‘admob’ keywords alone, that’s pretty high falks. After that I used Alexa and it was ranked 5,718 in Alexa Traffic Rank, so It is a very popular website/product indeed.
AdMob allows you to gain actionable insights from your mobile sites. It works pretty simple. When mobile device requests a page from your website, the code that you’ve implemented inside your website, transmit the tracking data to AdMob servers, and after it is processed, you can get traffic insight using beautiful charts and custom reports as any other web analytics product.
Here is a AdMob introduction video, presented by Omar Hamoui, Founder & CEO of AdMob, take a look:
AdMob has made a simple to implement mobile analytics solution. You can track visitors, site usage, traffic source and mobile goals that you create in AdMob administration section. You can track the effectiveness of advertising campaigns from advertising partners that you work with, get detailed information regarding the referring sites and keywords which your visitor came from, analyze Pageview, bounce rate, downloads, etc.
On metrics.admob.com you can find detailed metrics reports that AdMob is publicly sharing on their websites. By the way, there are very interesting reports in there, like “Traffic Share Handset Category, Worldwide AdMob Network”, “Operating System Share Southeast Asia Smartphone..”, etc. You can download the reports in PDF format too. Ok, lets stay in focus.
Monetizing You App
AdMob doesn’t leave you behind, and it also offers developers the “AdMob for App Develoeprs”. This is an excellent solution for mobile app developers who search for a solution to distribute and monetize their freshly backed apps. You can monetize you apps by serving AdMob ads on every popular mobile platform, including iPhone, WebOS, Flash Lite and Google Android OS.
Easy Integration and Ad Network are two of the main advantages that AdMob has over its competitors, and that’s the reason why it became so popular among mobile application developers worldwide. By using AdMob for App Developers, you can get real-time reporting and monitor your revenue and use the earned money to promote your own mobile business. AdMob has created a large Ad network that helps mobile advertisers engage their mobile target audience very fast. as you can see, whether you are an advertiser, agency, app developer or a ad publisher, AdMob has lots of solutions to offer you in its Constantly growing ad network.
I am still searching for the ultimate mobile app analytics product… HEY FOUND ONE!
“Here comes Flurry!“. Flurry is probably my first pick for mobile application analytics product. Flurry provides real-time app usage statistics for developers who need a single mobile app analytics platform, that will allow them to get app usage insight, how the app performs on different handsets and allows them to watch advanced reports to increase retention and grow their user base for the app shelf-life.
If you are tired from the low-end mobile application analytics platforms, its time that you meet Flurry! – The list of benefits are huge, but here the main ones:
- Mobile app usage insight
- Analyze app performance on different handsets
- Who uses the application?
- What are the most useful feature in your app?
- Check users’ loyalty
- Users by country (Geo-location)
- Average session usage session length
- Handset technical capabilities (Camera MP, screen resolution, Email, Music, etc.)
- Completely FREE!
If you have a multi-platform mobile app, you can use Flurry on many types of devices, whether you deploy your app for Apple iPhone, Android device, Blackberry or JavaME and others coming soon. Pretty awesome ah?
Don’t think that Flurry is just in the Analytics business. Flurry has introduced Flurry AppCircle, a powerful affiliate network, or as Flurry.com wrote, and I quote: “powerful affiliate network of applications that leverages a data-driven, intelligent recommendation engine to improve discovery..” . I won’t get into much detailed here because it is a little off-topic, but you can read more about it on “Introducing Flurry AppCircle™” page. (currently in beta as for 4/18/2010).
3. Webtrends Mobile Analytics
Both Mobile Apps and Mobile Website Usage Tracking
I know that when you hear the word “Webtrends”, the first word that comes to your mind is “Enterprise Solution”, and you are not wrong in thinking like that. Webtrends is one of the leaders in real-time web analytics, and most of its services are targeted to large corporations that needs a full website analysis service. Webtrends was the first to release a Facebook Analytics solution inside their Analytics 9 product (As far as I remember, correct me if I am wrong), and its not going to stay behind in there mobile section.
Webtrends Mobile Analytics for Mobile Apps is a robust and flexible product, which allows mobile website owners and apps developers to get in-depth data analytics of their app/website usage. Whether you are targeting Android devices, iPhone devices or Blackberry smarthphones, Webtrends mobile analytics gives you to monitor, track and analyze real-time usage data and measure every metric that can possibly be measured.
To integrate Webtrends Mobile Analytics into your mobile application, you need to download and utilize their SDK. Whether you are a marketer who wants to track your company’s mobile marketing expenditures, Optimize your mobile site or app to increase your user base and achieve more leads, ROI and Conversion rate, you better stay upfront with the most recent technology, that will provide you to get such insight and respond to changes in real-time.
Behavioral targeting also applies to mobile application usage. There are metrics that should be measured and segments that should be created in order to better understand the mobile application assimilation on different devices, operating systems, etc.
Here are some of the main features of Webtrends Mobile Analytics:
- Real-time data collection
- Track application events and watch them live on your reports
- Performance and user experience features: battery level, queue throttling, etc.
- Mobile app metrics like handset used, app version, mobile operating system & version, device model, connection type, region, etc.
- Application error tracking, debugging console logging
- Create custom events
- Separate content’s views event and action events
- App frequency usage
- Application navigation
- Separation between mobile apps statistics and mobile website statistical information
- and much more.
There are many features that will allow you to check and correctly understand the adoption of your new developed mobile app/website among your targeted business customers. Monitor app use and better adapt your company’s app developing and user experience design strategies to fully retain an advantage above your competitors. Furthermore, use Webtrends Mobile Analytics to get insight of your mobile campaign marketing investments and watch how it compares to standard online marketing schemes.
You might find some barriers that you were unfamiliar with at the start. This is a significant reason why you ought to use a mobile analytics product in the first place. This all mobile realm is new and still evolving everyday. In order to stay upfront, you will have to get that valuable insight. By using Webtrends Mobile Analytics, you are sure to get both Mobile App Analytics and Mobile Websute Statistics as another tool that you must add to your tool collection.
Summary: Yes, Webtrends mobile analytics is a very professional, accurate and ahead of the competition solution. It gives you the real-time advantage that all Web trends’ Analytics SaaS solutions have, it has best-in-class SDK and API implementation, and It would not be too exaggerated to say that this is probably the most comprehensive mobile analytics solution in the market today.
4. Bango Mobile Analytics
Its got a cute name, “Bango”. This is a popular product, that has a potential to be a leading product that I think will get its own respectable share.
Bango offers international mobile billing solution besides the mobile analytics solution. so if you are search for international billing solution and you by “accidentally” visited this article , check Bango.com own solution for international billing.
When I first visit Bango website, the first thing that popped-out was the title “8x Greater Accuracy with Bango Analytics”. 8, why 8? – Never mind, gave it 20 seconds but didn’t figure it out, maybe you will.
Bango offers enterprise mobile apps/website analytics for an affordable price. It stated that it works with Yahoo!, AdMob, Nokia Ad Service, JumpTap, AdModa, taptu, ThirdScreenMedia and others. Yes, compatibility is nice, but show me the money! – Well, Bango does not disappoint. Because I was impressed with their product, I have decided to put it in my top selection of mobile app/site’s analytics top pick product list Woohoo!
Here are Bango main features:
- Track all mobile phones, operator networks and connections
- Track, Analyze and create reports for in-application usage
- Filter statistics using precise segmentation
- Extract data using Web Services APIs
- Track Mobile advertising and marketing campaigns
- Unique identity for every mobile visitor
- Track visitor session length
- Real-time statistics
- Track clicks to app downloads via app stores
There are more features of course, you can find them on Bango.com. Bango advantage is in its simplicity. Implementing the code, viewing reports, support center, everything is built for better user experience in mind. I think that Bango can be one of the leading products in the upcoming years. It has a superior user experience in comparison to other mobile analytics solutions that I emit and haven’t written about them here.
It also empowered by its own Mobile payment (billing) solution for international businesses, but it doesn’t take off its fair share of being a really attractive paid mobile analytics solution. It will have a tough competition from free services like AdMob in the Mobile website stats’ field, but hey, just look at their Annual report of 2009, it is a well funded company, that I am sure that we will see more from it in the near future
5. Motally Mobile Analytics
After a long ride we get to my 5th pick, Motally. This is patent-pending mobile analytics solutions, that is powerful, flexible, easy-to-use and a popular product. So what more can you ask? – Well, let’s dive right into Motally and discover what waits for us under the hood?
What makes Motally so special among other competitive solution, is that it was built from the ground up to provide the most complete mobile web and application tracking product. On Motally overview page you can see that the company has been approaching and targeting their in-house solution for web, application and gaming analytics products. Using Motally mobile web analytics, you can track visitors in great accuracy, make funnel analysis and monitor engagement to improve ROI using a Patent-pending algorithm that was developed by motally, in order to provide a rich product that will allow customers to really get the most accurate and deep insight of their mobile website traffic.
Here are the main features of motally mobile web analytics:
- Track visitors across the broadest range of carrier and device combinations
- Create A/B Multivariate testings
- Carrier identification
- Funnel Analysis (helps identify drop-off points)
- Dynamic reports
- Multiple domains support
- Sortable metrics
- Hosted reporting
- View level of engagement
- Monitor click fraud
- Track query terms of internal searches
- Top previous & next pages
- Easy installation
- Referral keywords
- Emailed reports
- Optimize mobile campagins
- and much more..
Motally mobile web analytics is being offered in both free and paid solutions. Its free product is named “Community” and the paid solution is named “Enterprise”. The main functionality that exists in the paid product are: Data exporting, custom dashboard, Ad-hoc reporting, import & export APIs, 3rd party integration, white label solution, email and phone support, etc.
Main features of motally mobile apps analytics:
- Track application performance and engagement on Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices
- Track debug and error statements
- Track generic actions, startup and shutdown actions
- Take control over when, what and how tracking events are sent to motally servers
- Two-way communication (useful for debugging an application)
- Track demographic data
By just looking at those really useful and developer-oriented features, you can see that motally has taken a different approach and targeted this product for developers who need advanced functionality to get much better insight of their application usage. Developers can identify any problem that is blocking the application to achieve maximum exposure and user experience. This is like a remote debugging feature, that all your customers are actually testing the app as they use it. After reading detailed reports, developers can make quick fixes and adjustment to their mobile app, in order to address any issue ASAP.
Motally Game Analytics – What is that?
Now lets see that the Game Analytics for mobile devices is all about. This is the first time I’ve heard this term before (“Game Analytics”), but it seems very promising. This new Game Analytics product is targeted especially for developer who want to track usage of mobile games for iPhone, Android and Blackberry deviced in order to improve the gaming experience and ROI. This new product is currently in private beta stage (for 4/19/2010, check their website for new updates).
Here are the main features for motally Game Analytics:
- What level players are playing?
- Who are the top players and what is their score
- Which mobile games are the most popular?
- Check conversions from free version to a paid (“premium”) version
I think that motally has got something very interesting here. I mean, you can use “regular” mobile application analytics to do that, but I think they have made a unique solution that helps developers to easily implement and track specific actions which are dedicated to mobile gaming applications.
For more information about motally (screenshots, signup, demo, etc) visit their website motally.com.
What Now, I Can’t Decide Which One?
If you are getting confused by the amount of information that was spilled here, I recommend trying the free mobile analytics product and find out if they fit you business needs. Of course there are more expensive products, which offer far more control and flexible analytical reporting and tracking features, but for many developers, especially those ones who just started out with mobile app developing and want to track their mobile app performance on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other supported devices or tracking mobile website visitor stats, I think that the first two on the list (flurry & AdMob) will be sufficient.
If you are searching for an enterprise solution for tracking mobile websites / mobile apps, I will try investigating more about Webtrends and Omniture own offering. I haven’t gave a stage for other enterprise solutions, but make sure you check out THE BIG 3 (Omniture, Webtrends and Coremetrics) solutions out. I will probably cover the enterprise solutions’ offering in future review.
This it for now guys. I hope that this article gave you a start point for searching and discovering solutions for your mobile sites and app tracking needs. There are some other websites that I think that you should also visit:
AppClix Mobilytics – Mobile application reporting for tracking application usage data with real-time accurate app usage statistics.
Amethon – Offers range of Mobile Analytics products. Real-time analysis of mobile subscriber browsing activity and trends.
If you like it, please share it! – Hey guys, please join my new forum and see ya’ soon.