I’ve been a long time user of the RIM Blackberry mobile devices- dating back to 1998 with some of their first 3-line LCD devices like the BellSouth Inter@ctive Pager. These early messenger devices were truly just that- little brick keyboards with small screens only usable for instant push email messaging as a 2-way pager. They were great little devices, but didn’t offer much compared to what we have today. The mobile device market has certainly come a long way with Apple bringing us the iPhone 3G, which I picked up this past summer following a stint on the Blackberry Curve and have thoroughly enjoyed. One of the fantastic things about the iPhone is the great breadth of applications that are being developed and are available for free download or purchase on the App Store. Given the “flood” of apps now hitting the App Store, it will be interesting to see which apps end up performing well versus their competition.
With so many companies, both large and small, jumping into the “app game” it has led me to wonder how they are measuring their investment in these efforts. Sure, having a cool app can drive awareness of your product or service but how can you really measure the effectiveness of these apps. As you will often hear-don’t market it unless you measure it. It was with this idea in mind that Omniture developed and recently announced the iPhone for App Measurement software toolkit to help developers and marketers better understand the effectiveness of these apps. Think about an iPhone app in the same sense as a campaign, in that in may prove to be an effective source for driving desired conversion such as product purchases or ad views.
By measuring how users are interacting within a native iPhone app, the developers and marketers publishing them can understand how they perform compared to other marketing investments like paid search, display ads, or video. Think about what this might reveal-like customer loyalty based on app opens and views, or conversion rates for in-app ads (like an interstitial ad between levels of a game) as compared to your display ads. Now, app developers and marketers can gain first-hand insight on their apps versus having to rely on the much less informative app rating system on the App Store.
In any case, iPhone app developers and marketers that can effectively measure their apps will be in a position to improve them, thus better serving the end consumer. I’m looking forward to the next wave of 10,000 iPhone apps with much better experiences now that there is a solution to make measured improvements to them.