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Why mobile analytics is overtaking web analytics

Why mobile analytics is overtaking web analytics

20 May 2014, 00:12 a.m.

“Mobile has won” – Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman

Mobile Take-Off

As the mobile and tablet market and sales has performed better than the PC market in the past year, the near future as predicted by Eric Schmidt saying that everyone will own a smartphone is becoming a reality.

Mobile use is on an unstoppable rise and recent reports state that mobile traffic contributes to circa 15% of all internet traffic. Due to the rise of mobile, mobile analytics have also had to become more sophisticated to keep up with marketing demands. But another trend is emerging: mobile analytics can provide more significant data and understanding than traditional web analytics.

Mobile analytics do not only track the use of mobile apps, but also mobile web traffic. This combination of tracking mobile browsing and also offering a deeper understanding into user engagement with an app provide valuable insights how users react, interact and engage with different mobile features, pages and advertising.

This approach of tracking provides feedback to developers, designers, advertisers and marketers to help them understand why users are or are not registering, buying or returning. Real time analytics are also key to understanding and improving user experience. These analytics focus on understanding user behaviour, instead of just providing a narrow set of metric data such as the amount of downloads.

The Rise of the Second Screen Engagement

Web analytics offer great services, tracking the number of visits, recording how long they remained on a site and also providing information how they arrived at the site. However this information is starting to be diluted by the fact that even if some browser tabs are open, it doesn’t mean that they are being engaged with. Or if a movie or TV show is being watched online, a web analytics can’t know if a second screen is being engaged with at the same time. This doesn’t make the web analytics irrelevant, but it is a thought that needs to be added to the equation.

Tracking User Engagement

The second screen wars have started and currently Twitter is king, with Facebook attempting to usurp them. The title says it all though, a mobile user won’t spend 30 minutes engaging with one app or on one mobile website, but will use it as a second screen for a short period of time and then hit the lock button while returning their attention to the main screen.

A similar observation has been that mobile users switch between apps and return after checking a notification, writing a quick message, sharing an interesting article or taking a call. In reaction to that, the length of engagement has become less important in comparison to the actual insights to see where users tapped or swiped during the engagement period. This becomes obvious through technologies like a heatmap of touches.

Visual app analytics offer recordings of users engaging with the app which offers an unique insight into what options the user chose and why. The power of these visual understandings show the different steps of user engagement and also highlights when or why a user disconnected or their interest dwindled. Contrary to web analytics who record a session which provides little valuable information any time a user comes across the website which constitutes as one session.

Identifying Users

Another difference between web and mobile analytics is how they refer to the user. Web analytics track IP addresses and the user agent, however with users working from different locations such as home, work, cafes, airports, etc., switching browsers for different reasons or clearing cookies suddenly a user can become anonymous.

Mobile analytics face similar issues, a user might own several mobile devices, including tablets, alongside a PC and another PC at their workplace. Although there are a few advantages to keeping mobile users as they can connect through social authentication across several traditional web devices with their mobile devices. Mobile users also can clear their cookies, but it is not as common to reset their mobile identifiers.

Web analytics still have their place and capture a massive chunk of the market, however choosing a mobile analytics service can help marketers, brands and companies understand their users and more importantly their users’ engagement and interaction much better than web analytics. Especially with the mobile and tablet market on the rise, Analysing and optimizing this data correctly towards consumers can be vital to gain a major advantage in the modern market.