Analytics for Mobile Applications : a good idea, six months too late

So yesterday I was talking with my friend that does iPhone applications about what data he gets from Apple about the applications he builds. It turns out that aside from the number of sales, he doesn’t have any data. I found this weird and we started talking about how it wouldn’t be that hard to build a kind of Google Analytics for Mobile Applications. In a sense, it would be very similar to the library GA for Flash except that you build a library for every Mobile SDK plus you have a webserver where the data is analysed.

It took so much time for a library of analytics to be made for Flash, I thought there might be a chance that nobody did anything like this for mobiles. So we got all excited (like so many other time), we started thinking how we would build this. But today I searched on the web and found Flurry a company that has an analytics division that does exactly this. Well not exactly how I would do it but about 85% the same. So my bubbles is a bit busted.

Flurry does it mostly right but their interface is a bit complicated and they didn’t make their analytics that specific to mobiles. There are plenty of concepts that exist in the mobile world that are new: what people do in their first and last run of the application, the number of tap (click with fingers) by session, the accelerometer, etc. And they don’t track that, yet. Also they provide an ¬†API for events, but not for navigation (pageViews in the GA world). I think navigation still has an important role in the analytics of an application than in the analytics of a website. You want to know what the users did in a certain section of your app (how many taps in the help section for example).

So all of that could be implemented and would give a better service than what Flurry is offering. The problem is that their platform is already built and even if there is not much competition (they seem to be the only ones doing this), it would still be hard to beat their momentum.

So what do you think? Should I invest time in this project knowing these risks, or should I let this go and wait for another idea?

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  1. #1 by Brian - February 12th, 2010 at 10:40

    You do have other choices! One is Localytics, where we offer a truly real-time service, the ability to chart any metric against any other metric (you’re not limited to predetermined reports!), and our SDK is open source.

    Regarding your excellent list of feature requests, you can address most of those with our ability to track event attributes. See our latest blog post for just a few examples: http://www.localytics.com/blog/post/new-feature-explored-event-attributes/

    Thanks!
    Brian
    http://www.localytics.com

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