The challenge of mobile analytics - Part 2

  • 12-Jun-2008

For those who've read The Challenge of Mobile Analytics - Part 1 and hoping that the picture is brighter in Part 2, well...it all depends.

If you are hoping for a silver bullet solution that will give you razor-sharp accuracy, and provide more robust metrics than the "traditional" vendors, you may be disappointed.

To recap: some new analytics vendors market themselves focused on mobile analytics, both from a branding perspective and because they have clearly committed to figuring out how best to capture and report on mobile web data. Meanwhile, traditional online analytics vendors haven't been as aggressive in this area. However, this doesn't mean that the mobile analytics vendors have necessarily come up with great solutions either. Right now, it seems the mobile-oriented players exceed the online analytics vendors in their integration of WURFL data as part of the service or software, usually enhanced with DeviceAtlas (which is considered to have a more current database than WURFL for phone and manufacturer information).

Let's look at a sampling of mobile-oriented vendors.

Amethon is a real-time reporting solution that has its roots in Australia and also provides multimedia (MMS) and short messaging services (SMS) tracking. The company's primary selling point is that it uses a packet sniffer-based (server side) data collection model. While this makes sense as a way to get around the many client-side challenges here (such as lack of mobile acceptance of JavaScript), if you don't want to host your own analytics solution, or you face resistance from your network admins in bringing new hardware into their environment, this could be a gating factor.

Bango Analytics is a UK-based SaaS offering that is an adjunct service to Bango's mobile content pay solution. Focused on campaign tracking, Bango Analytics uses an image tag data collection methodology based on directing campaign respondents to a Bango network landing page. This could be a constraint if you don't want to send people to a Bango URL.

Mobilytics is a SaaS supplier that also uses an image tag to collect data. However, the company says that they will incorporate a packet sniffing option as well in the next release. Mobilytics also claims that it will apply a scoring model and slider function to present a visualization of unique visitor accuracy based on the source of data collection. Following the example set by Dennis Mortenson to assess IndexTool's ability to meet WAA Standards, CEO Greg Harris recently provided some insight to how Mobilytics compares. A good effort, and one that should help add transparency to this new analytics field.

I'd expect the mobile analytics vendors to aggressively differentiate themselves while the online analytics vendors get their act together within the next two- to four years; but you'll still need to carefully assess whether their methodologies, architectures, and resulting reports make sense for you.

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Leona Coffee, Director, Central Web Office National Academy of Sciences

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