Home   >   News

MGF 2012: Tapjoy's Bowen calls for industry standard analytics. Flurry's Firminger says that's us

#mgf2012 Tracking and targetting
MGF 2012: Tapjoy's Bowen calls for industry standard analytics. Flurry's Firminger says that's us
Stay Informed
Get Industry News In Your Inbox…
Sign Up Today

You'd have to question whether there was a clear consensus during MGF 2012's second panel debate, other than a desire for a unified analytics system for mobile to better inform developers.

The four way conversation between Somo CSO Ross Sleight, Sony Ericsson's head of content marketing and strategy Tim Harrison, European sales director at Tapjoy Paul Bowen and GetJar's director of marketing Berenice Kalan painted a picture of an industry still getting to grips with the activities of its userbase.

Even when a game does monetise well, it was suggested, knowing just why is often not clear.

Analytics angst

"The problem with analytics is an industry wide problem, and it hasn't been solved yet," offered Tapjoy's Bowen.

"Very few of the standardised options from the web have entered the mobile space. At the moment we don't have an analytics package, and that really restricts what we're able to offer."

That's an allegation Richard Firminger from Flurry went on to contest during the panel's Q&A session, of course, touting the firm as the de facto industry standard.

Nonetheless, part of the problem, Bowen added, is that developers are looking at the wrong analytics in the first place.

"It seems the industry-wide metric at the moment is installs. That kills us," he concluded, suggesting playtime is far more important.

Sleight whose company has "worked very closely" with Flurry  nonetheless admitted tracking users moving from downloads to installs and finally onto continued monetisation is no easy thing.

"We don't know the audience yet," he said.

"We know people have a device, but we don't know if they're my son or me, and my son doesn't monetise very well."

On the right track

Sleight said marketing agency Somo's biggest focus at the moment as a result is user tracking.

"For us, it's about identifying which source of marketing is driving that 1 percent who monetise in freemium games. They're the people we're trying to cross-play against other games in the suite that we've got."

Controversially, Sleight also suggested mobile devs might be too narrow in their view of how they should best reach out to their audience.

A prime spot on British television, he argued, can be picked up for £50,000, and because many people use smartphones and tablets asynchronously with the TV apps can see a huge spike if they advertise on the box.

"I'm waiting for someone to say I'm going to do TV ads. Can you survive as an independent developer without these means of distribution?"

Jammy situation

Such a statement didn't go unnoticed by his fellow panellists.

Berenice Kalan, for instance, questioned just how many mobile developers have £50,000 to spare, while Sony Ericsson's Tim Harrison said he didn't want to see the industry revert back to the days of Jamster, when ads for Java games and downloads were all over TV.

"Well, it worked," contested Sleight.

Still, one thing the panel agreed with is the changing nature of the portable consumer. While Bowen claimed there are "too many iPad-only apps", instead advocating developers always push out universal titles, Sleight added developers have to be aware of how the two kinds of devices are used.

"Tablets are being used in a very different way to mobiles," he argued.

"Tablets are being used more in the home environment. Usage pattern is changing. In December, 15 percent of online retail took place via mobile, 97 percent was iOS, 79 percent of that on iPad."

Given Sleight suggested three or more people often use just one tablet, it would appear the issue of tracking individual users is one set to hang around for some time to come.