The new Windows 8 platform was made available to developers in August 2012, with a public release at the end of October, and today Santa Monica-based startup MarkedUp launched to help provide analytics to developers building primarily desktop apps on the Windows 8 platform. The company, a graduate of Los Angeles startup accelerator MuckerLab, claims to be the first analytics platform devoted solely to helping Windows 8 developers get user and behavioral data from their apps.
Founder and CEO Aaron Stannard is a former Microsoft Developer Evangelist who got the idea for the company after he worked with several Android and iOS developers who were working to bring their apps over to Windows Phone and Windows Desktop, and found that they didn’t have access to the same third-party analytics solutions. He was also inspired based on his time working with a software company that developed an in-house analytics tool to convert free trials to paying customers.
“I’ve never seen another system like that in the wild, despite working with hundreds of other companies while I was at Microsoft,” he said in an interview. “I decided that Windows 8 was the right time for me to start MarkedUp and make this type of analytics available as a service to desktop developers on all platforms.”
Desktop and mobile developers currently have access to robust analytics tools like Google Analytics and Flurry to get insights on how their users are interacting with their apps. Stannard said the goal of MarkedUp is to provide the same analytics for Windows 8 Phone and Windows 8 desktop developers, helping them track users but also helping drive in-app purchases and other monetization channels. And Stannard said he believes most other app analytics tools are primarily designed for advertising-supported free apps, while MarkedUp is designed for developers who want to promote paid products or in-app purchases.
Developers can add MarkedUp into their apps using their software development kit (SDK), and can then start connecting it with user activities in order to collect data points. After a developer launches their app in the Windows Store, MarkedUp then runs in the background tracking user activity, and displaying that data within an hour in their dashboard. For example a developer could log all sign-ups, time spent in the app, and which screens a user visited, as well as any other specific actions like bugs, purchase tracking, and other activities.
“What developers ultimately want out of an analytics service is to measure engagement, quality of experience, and conversion against goals,” Stannard said. “MarkedUp balances all three of these in a way that hasn’t been done before by any analytics provider on any platform and our core focus is definitely on driving conversion metrics.”
While right now it only supports Windows 8 developers, Stannard said they will be branching out to other platforms, starting with OS X. Right now it’s free for all beta users, but as of Q1 2013 will move to a tiered pricing model based on the number of data points (user sessions, user activities, etc.) provided, with a free account for up to one million data points, a $99 per month pro account for each additional million data points, and custom enterprise pricing.
The company launched its private beta in September, before Windows 8 was available to the public, and Stannard said they’re currently collecting millions of data points weekly. Microsoft has been heavily courting developers to build on the Windows 8 platform, so MarkedUp’s success (until it launches for OS X) will be largely dependent on the number of developers making desktop apps. While it’s niche right now, if it can expand to other platforms and prove that it can improve conversions for developers, it could be a good contender in the app analytics space.