A new platform for analyzing when, where, and how smart-phone apps are used will soon be available to thousands of mobile developers.
Appcelerator–a software development platform that lets Web programmers create apps that run natively on both iPhone and Android devices–will release the new mobile analytics platform within the next three months. The platform was developed by Appcelerator and FortiusOne, a company that specializes in visualizing location information.
Accurate geolocation analytics data will help companies improve their software and make money from location-targeted advertising.
Appcelerator has around 72,000 users, including developers from large businesses such as NBC and Budweiser. It has proven popular because it lets developers create apps without requiring the technical expertise needed to build them from scratch.
The new platform, called Titanium+Geo, lets Appcelerator developers see what users are doing, and where they’re doing it, as long as geolocation functionality has been built into an app. For example, the startup Scoutmob, which offers location-specific deals to subscribers through an Appcelerator app, could see when and where users open the app, and how they respond.
Titanium+Geo collects data every time a user opens an app. A developer can instruct the app to report various events to a remote server, such as when a user views an advertisement–or a coupon for a discount–or when the user responds to the ad or redeems the coupon.
“Most of what we see currently in terms of smart-phone advertising, not much of it is geotargeted,” says Sean Gorman, president and founder of FortiusOne. Without the metrics to determine how well mobile, geotargeted ads work, there simply hasn’t been a business case for using them, he adds.
“We’re used to Google Analytics for Web pages, but until now, we haven’t had that for how apps are used,” says Gorman.
SimpleGeo, another startup company that offers geolocation tools for developers, has announced that it is working on a similar analytics platform.
Adding spatial data to the information that apps already gather will allow for new forms of data mining. Gorman says that researchers have, for example, been able to determine with near-perfect accuracy who the friends of a given smart-phone user are simply by analyzing data about where and when that user comes into contact with others.