Mobile Analytics Space Heating Up

On Thursday, advanced data analytics firm Mixpanel revealed impressive growth; the startup is now tracking four billion actions per month, compared to just one billion back in July 2010. The number is impressive, and it reveals that companies are increasingly interested in finding ways to not only track data in real-time, but also receive instant analysis of fresh data on-demand. A key area to watch, according to Mixpanel and others we spoke to, is the mobile market, which is much different compared to traditional desktop web analytics.

Mixpanel now has over 2,500 users, positive cashflow and CEO and co-founder Suhail Doshi told BetaKit in an interview that the company also just signed up one of the “top 10 gaming companies on the iPhone,” and noted that mobile in general is becoming “a massive opportunity” for Mixpanel. “Everyone wants to connect with their users as much as possible,” Doshi told me. “So for [mobile] analytics, we’ve set our stake in the ground and I’d say we’re actually the enterprise market leader.”

Doshi explained that mobile analytics requires a very different approach as compared to traditional analytics. “Because mobile phones can have their data dropped, sending data can be quite tricky,” Doshi said. “We have SDK libraries that handle that connection issue. There’s also another problem where you wouldn’t want to send data too frequently, because you wouldn’t want to hog all the bandwidth on the phone. Mixpanel’s library also handles that by queuing up events and sending them all at once.” That makes sure that data isn’t constantly being sent to Mixpanel from apps, which would slow a user’s mobile connection considerably.

Mobile may be challenging, but it’s also a key market for Mixpanel – three or four of the company’s top five customers are mobile-only, according to Doshi. “If you think about mobile, there’s no existence of pageviews anymore,” Doshi said. “This concept of pageviews is an incredibly ridiculous metric to build your business on; it’s largely a vanity metric. Everything is going to start to be centered around engagement, purely because engagement is a much better indicator in determining whether your business or your product is actually doing really well or not.” Engagement is a crucial part of the mobile experience, since mobile devices have enabled users to engage with brands and products directly with much greater frequency.

Real-time analytics platform GoSquared sees a similar rise in the importance of mobile. “Mobile is absolutely critical,” GoSquared CEO and co-founder James Gill told us. “Getting insights on the devices your visitors are on, and a better understanding of how people use your site differently on mobile devices is really driving better mobile site experiences for the end user.” People want different kinds of information on mobile devices, including phone numbers, locations, etc. and mobile analytics products should help companies understand those specific needs.

Businesses need to be able to react and respond quickly to how their users are interacting with their products and engaging with their brands, and that’s more true than ever in a world of always-on connected devices. Young companies providing insights into that data like Mixpanel are in a good place, according to Doshi, because they’re already well-versed in the expanding mobile side of the equation, whereas traditional analytics companies will have trouble keeping up as the importance of pageviews continues to decline.

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