"Mobile Engagement" Platform Adds Revenue Analytics, Engagement Quality

Garrett Wilkin
Dec. 14 2011, 12:18PM EST

Today Apsalar announced the release of two new components of its ApScience analytics suite for mobile applications: engagement index & revenue analytics.  These new metrics will allow Apsalar clients to gain greater insight into how users are interacting with their application.  It will also make it possible for users to be segmented based on the amount they spend in the app.  You might be as surprised as I was to learn that this is a competitive space characterized by big data and advertising revenues.  Apsalar hits all the bases with SDKs for Android, iOS, and a RESTful API.

Apsalar's engagement index allows weights to be assigned to particular user actions.  Those weights can then be digested to understand the user’s engagement quality.  The number can then be averaged across all users making it easier to discern who the exceptional users are.  The same approach can be taken to revenue.  In that case, weighting is done in currency rather than subjective weightings.

Engagement analytics is likely a new topic to many consumers but there are already several implementations of this idea and they’re funded by millions of dollars.  Here is the basic problem:  you develop an application for the iOS or Android App marketplace.  After releasing the application how do you know what users are doing with it?  You can get basic statistics such as the number of downloads, but this isn’t actionable information.  How do you answer questions like “why aren’t users making in app purchases?”  How would you know whether or not they are using what you think is your app’s strongest feature?

Sure, you’ve got a talented development team or maybe you’re the engineer on a small team.  You could implement a way to track all meaningful user events, but that brings us to the recurring question of today’s technology.  Should I do this myself, or leverage a solution from a niche service provider?  My guess is that application developers, whether they are large firms or small teams, will not want to specialize in analytics and metrics.

Apsalar presents an appealing platform to developers.  Integration is extremely easy.  Simply import the Apsalar library and then make one call per event to be tracked for engagement or revenue.  On Android, an XML file is required as well.  Even with that extra requirement, this is a simple add-on.  What’s even better is that Apsalar supports a REST API for submitting events.  This allows for Apsalar to be integrated to existing applications without requiring users to download a new version, but only if a intermediary server can be used to submit events on behalf of the mobile device.

The analytics platform is free to use with no strings attached.  Why? Well, conceivably Apsalar uses aggregate app data to gain further insight into the app market as a whole.  There’s also an up-sell opportunity for them.  Apsalar is positioned as an advanced participant in the advertising marketplace.  Using OpenRTB, they are able to bid on advertising opportunities in under a second.  This is the aspect of the Apsalar suite that developers are really unlikely to implement on their own.  For that reason its a strong value proposition.

Another benefit of establishing a relationship with a company like Apsalar is the potential to use retargeting.  Suppose that you’ve identified your most profitable users.  As you track their engagement index over time you can see that it is falling off.  What to do?  You might consider something called “re-targeting” which means in laymans terms that you’ll pay to serve a notification to the user while they are in a different application.  This notification may be some type of enticing offer meant to persuade them to return to your application.  This type of advertising is something only possible through companies that manage many applications.  At Apsalar the cost of such campaigns is negotiated based on the specific scenario.

With less than 10 mobile analytics APIs in our index, this is an area set to grow.

Garrett Wilkin

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