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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mobile App Analytics Consolidation: Flurry and Pinch Media Merge

Flurry and Pinch Media are merging to form a strong Mobile App Analytics alliance. The combined company will keep the Flurry name. From their press release:
"As a combined company, Flurry and Pinch Media analytics services will be running on more than 80% of all iPhone, iPod Touch and Android handsets worldwide."
"In the near-term, the company's main priorities will be to seamlessly unify its service and significantly increase the analytics feature-set offered. The company will continue to offer its analytics service free of charge."
They claim to have their application tracking installed (via the apps using their services) on 50 million unique devices, measuring over 1 billion sessions per month. That is impressive indeed.

Dean over at Venture Beat notes that the company will have 20 people on staff, with 8 open positions, and hope to combine their services into one by the end of the next quarter. Regarding the business model, he further writes:
Both companies have launched widely used analytics services for the iPhone and Android phones, but they aren’t profitable yet. To monetize the data, Flurry recently launched AppCircle, a recommendation platform. Developers install it in their games and it analyzes a user’s taste in apps. Then it recommends apps for the user. These recommendations are likely to be highly useful because they’re based on the user’s past purchases. Flurry gets paid through a revenue sharing agreement with the developer.
They both have done a great job building out their products, and defining a new niche analytics industry. They will likely continue to innovate quickly, and work hard to find the right revenue stream. My 2 cents is they should look to expand the recommendation platform into a clever search mechanism. With some 400k apps expected through 2010, developers are going to need to be found, and today it's not easy, and Apple can't be the only winner out there.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nextstop Nicely Bridges Apps and HTML5

Robert Scoble has shared an interview with Carl and Adrian over at Nextstop. They have put together a slick iPhone app (and Android, etc) based on HTML5. The app looks fantastic.

What's slick about the app is how they've leveraged new browser functionality. They note what they've done via their blog...here's a synopsis of the cool stuff:
The technologies we're using include:

  • ApplicationCache: We've built our application using Javascript to manage page transitions, so the core HTML, Javascript, and CSS is only loaded once. We're using the HTML5 ApplicationCache to speed startup time on subsequent loads by caching Javascript and CSS so that these resources are cached for subsequent application loads.

  • Geolocation: We're utilizing Geolocation to get your current physical position in the browser to show nearby content.

  • localStorage: As you browse the application, we try to prefetch content aggressively so that any time you click, the content needed for the next page has already been downloaded. This is possible because we store all prefetched content locally on the phone using the localStorage object. This also means that as you browse to content you've already seen, no additional network requests are needed because that content has already been stored.

  • Google maps v3: Google has been working on a new version of the Maps API, specifically optimized for performance on mobile devices. We've found this to be a substantial improvement over Maps 2, and a reasonable alternative for a native maps implementation.

  • iphone-photo-picker: One of the key capabilities of the iPhone that isn't yet available through the browser is access to the camera and local photo library. To bridge this gap, we've built (and are open sourcing) a small helper application that exposes a urlscheme (photopicker://) that can be called from any web application to invoke the camera or photo library, and then will POST the selected image to a URL you specify.

That last item is very cool. Extending standard functionality of mobile devices into the browser is a huge enabler for everyone. Well done guys.

As Marshall noted yesterday,
Could mobile web apps challenge the dominance of native apps on the iPhone? That's an active debate.
The good news for the analytics world is that the standard tagging tracking methodology for these high-performance mobile web apps is fairly well known. However, there is new work to be done as we figure out what's important to track as new APIs are exposed, and mobile web app owners become more proficient with them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Apple Shutting Down iTunes Connect During Holidays

File this under "only Apple could get away with this". Apple notes that they are shutting down their iTunes Connect environment from December 23rd - 28th, 2009.

Over 100k apps on their App Store, with many more on the way each week, and they have the nerve to shut down their App developer management and reporting tools - during the busiest App season of the year (for some). Perhaps they could have gotten away with this over the last couple of years, but this seems like the tipping-point year where there are a lot more folks relying on this environment for their livelihood. After all...there are analytics involved here!

Jolie over at RWW notes:
So, once again, during what may be some app developers' biggest sales spike of the entire year, they will not have access to information on sales performance or other metrics, and they won't be able to tweak their marketing materials or create new incentives as the year's biggest gift-giving holiday approaches.
Developers...get everything together so you're not caught flat-footed!

Bit.ly Redefining their Analytics Niche Industry

Make no mistake about it, Bit.ly is an Analytics company. URL shortening is just a means to an end for them (and goo.gl and fb.me), allowing them to capture as many click-throughs as possible. The more URLs they can shorten, the deeper they become within a company's workflow, and the tighter they become with a company's overall analytics solution.

Yesterday, Bit.ly announced their Bit.ly Pro service. This is an obvious smart next step for them as they move toward building a business model. They are now offering a realtime dashboard of great stats, and company-branded, whitelabel URLs.

The whitelabel URL is very smart. This has been around for awhile, but productionizing it is smart to do, and IMHO will be one of the bigger ideas that Brands appreciate (therefore, are willing to pay for).

There's still more to do to flesh out this "Pro" idea more...so many more fun things for all of us to work on!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mobile Apps and the Open Car

Lyle on GM-Volt reports that the Volt will have a BB and iPhone app. The idea captured in the image here suggests controlling the charging functionality of the Volt via a BB app.

He goes on to say,
GM sources have indicated that there will be applications at least for the iPod [EB: I assume this is iPhone, and iPod Touch] and the Blackberry. These will soon be unveiled along with their potential functions.
What's really interesting is to read down the (many!) comments of the article, with folks chiming in with other ideas about Mobile App / auto integrations. Aside from some snark, and the you-probably-saw-this-coming references to our old friend Kitt, one commenter had 26 different ideas, including:
Be able to set reminders that are triggered by a location so that if you drive within a certain radius of that location, the reminder will play through the Volt sound system via text-to-speech. For example, “Reminder to pick up some batteries at Circuit City”


Be able to opt in to receive an in-car notification if you are about to drive past a gas station who’s prices are in the best 10% of the nearest 10 gas stations.

Will the automobile industry figure this out fast enough? Will they build in communications to allow clever integrations? Will someone else come along with clever after-market products that expose the data that's likely already sitting in the computers onboard most cars?

This is going to be fun...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Developing Mobile Apps - Things To Know

VentureBeat blogger Paul Boutin has a great follow up article from Wednesday’s DiscoveryBeat 2009 conference. I wish I could have been there...it sounds like there were some good takeaways.

My favorites from the list below:
the current market is under-measured
You need $0.00 to promote an app company now
It costs $3 to acquire an Apple app customer through advertising
Paul's list of "11 things I didn’t know about app development":
  1. The majority of app developers don’t pay for market research before they design and build their apps. Yet this kind of research is inexpensive and vastly improves the likeliness of creating hits rather than misses.
  2. Apple App Store downloads are growing 20 times faster than iTunes music/video downloads. Even paid apps outrun iTunes growth by a factor of seven.
  3. Social network apps, compared to other types, have shown a relatively low frequency of usage and a low retention rate after 90 days. Games are where it’s at.
  4. Super-analyst Mary Meeker at Morgan Stanley says that despite the buzz over anything mobile, the current market is under-measured, and future growth underestimated.
  5. You need $0.00 to promote an app company now. For example, Sibblingz will distribute your game to Facebook, the iPhone, and the Web without charging you anything upfront. They’ll take a cut of revenue as it comes in.
  6. Reach and revenue are nice to have, but retention — getting users to keep launching your app — is the key to success.
  7. 90% of social game leader Zynga’s revenue comes from virtual goods sold within games and on social networks, not from advertising.
  8. It costs $3 to acquire an Apple app customer through advertising. That’s more than the customer will spend buying the game. (Notably, no one in the audience disputed this stat.)
  9. Most app discovery comes from viral word of mouth among customers, not from people searching app stores for something to download.
  10. That said, mass marketing still works. RockYou spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a month “buying users” with ads. Zynga spent possibly millions marketing its hit Farmville on Facebook and elsewhere. (Zynga GM Bill Mooney was in the room and didn’t dispute this.)
  11. Big brands like Mountain Dew are often presumed by tech industry workers to damage the credibility of anything they touch. In reality, they can be as powerful as app stores and game networks for popularizing an app. It never hurts to talk to them.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Mobile Apps - Changing the game

Apple didn't invent the mobile application. Nor did they invent the concept of a store for applications. But they have changed the game when it comes to how we think a mobile device can be just about anything you want it to be.

NYTimes author Jenna Wortham has a great article today about how Apple has changed the game in the mobile app space. The momentum is amazing, and it's not stopping anytime soon.

The whole article is worth a read...here a are a few nuggets of facts:
  • Apple has over 100,000 apps in the App Store today (there are 14,000 for the Android, Blackberry has 3,000, Palm has 500 for the Pre webOS platform, Microsoft has 800 in their Marketplace)
  • Apple receives over 10,000 application submissions each week (that doesn't really jibe with the total number of apps...this may include updates? or are there many apps that don't make it through? or are there many more than 100,000 apps out there today?)
  • Apple keeps 30 percent of the revenue earned by any App Store program (wow!), the rest is kept by the developer
  • Apple says it has sold 50 million iPhones and iPod Touches
  • Analysts estimate that the App Store generates as much as $1B in revenue for Apple and its developers

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Mobile App Analytics - 5-fold Growth Ahead?

eMarketer came out with a report earlier this year articulating Mobile Applications: Moving Beyond Apple. One of the big data points they refer to is from Piper Jaffray, who estimate that spending on consumer and business applications will grow 5-fold by 2012. From a $2.8B market this year, into a $13B+ market.

I can see how the consumer side of things will definitely grow, but I don't really get the spending growth on the business side. I do think the growth of the usage of business applications will grow tremendously, but will business pay for it? Or will it just come for free as part of their product consumption? Business will just expect that your app or service or software will run on their mobile devices.

(via BitHeads)


webtrends reinvigorate analytics