The mobile ecosystem is like the wild, west West. This space is still in its infancy. There are so many opportunities for us, but also a ton of growing pains we need to get through.
We recently attended the AppNation conference here in San Francisco, and I was surprised to meet so many mobile developers who are struggling to make money when IDC predicts that global app downloads will reach 76.9 billion in 2014 and will be worth US$35 billion.
It does make sense though; the competition is fierce. Mobilewalla, a search engine for mobile, announced that the number of available mobile apps in the marketplace is approaching the million milestone. Faced with the issue of “app fatigue,” what can developers do to make sure that users are:
1) Finding and installing their apps;
2) Returning to the apps–and eventually spending money
through in-app purchases.
Most of them are using ad networks to drive user acquisition. But, there’s a fragmented ecosystem of ad networks. Developers aren’t really getting great insight into which specific ad network users are coming from. They need clear marketing attributions. And, once the user has entered the app, what are they doing within the app? Those are the missing links between installation and monetization.
What I realized at AppNation is that sessions on mobile monetization were packed to the brim because everyone knows they need analytics. What they want is guidance on the metrics and data they need to be measuring. For example, when it comes to engagement and retention, developers are challenged with defining events and segments. What should they be measuring? How can they better analyze retention by cohorts?
“It’s more than just the top-line metrics; it’s more than just installs” said Session M CEO Lars Albright during the forum, “The App Rock Stars: The Rise of the Entrepreneurial Engineer.” Open Mobile Solutions CEO and Co-founder Jai Jaisimha echoed the point at a roundtable discussion on mobile discoverability and monetization: “There is a lack of deep metrics.”
If you are trying to figure out how to win in mobile, turning to companies that have mastered the social gaming space is a great start.
Companies like Zynga and Gaia Online may be considered game companies but they’re really analytics companies at the core. (Zynga tracks 70 billion messages a day, compared to Omniture’s 30 billion a day.) These social companies have learned how to not only acquire users, but keep them coming back again and again and again. And, these users spend. Again and again and again.
Many of the metrics they focus on to get these results can be applied to mobile, e.g., cost to acquire customers (CAC), average revenue per user (ARPU), average session lengths, etc.
If you’re a mobile business, competing with social companies that are transitioning into mobile may be difficult because they basically have been tweaking, tuning and perfecting their social apps for maximum monetization for the past 2-3 years. But you can do it if you have domain expertise on your side.
Kontagent is the leader in social analytics–our roster of hundreds of social customers is testament to that. We process billions of events a day, and are responsible for $1 of every $4 spent on social apps. By leveraging our experience in social, Kontagent knows what metrics mobile developers should be focusing on. And, we are the only 100% pure-play mobile analytics platform in the market. Other “mobile analytics” providers are ad networks that provide you top-line analytics. Only Kontagent can give you the deep data you need to better monetize your apps.
In the next couple of months, we’ll also be publishing white papers and case studies on mobile acquisition, engagement and monetization, as well as the lessons learned from companies that have made the social-to-mobile transition. We hope these will help you to look at your apps through a new lens, and that ultimately you will be able to use this content to improve your profits. (In the meantime, sign up for our white paper, The Top 7 Metrics of Highly Successful Social Companies.)
And please, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, ideas, or see interesting trends in social or mobile that you’d like to share: @Kontagent. It really is such a great time in this space, and we are excited to explore it with you.
About the author: Catherine Mylinh is a member of Kontagent’s storytelling team, where she is head of PR, brand and content marketing. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of kScope. In her former life, Catherine was a news anchor for CBS and NBC. She credits her journalism and computer science roots—she was once a programmer!—for her love of learning and writing about all things high tech. You can contact Catherine at @cat_mylinh.