NEWS19 April 2010

Bango touts Apple-compliant iPhone app analytics method

Data analytics UK

UK— The death of iPhone app analytics may have been greatly exaggerated – at least, that is, according to mobile web analytics firm Bango. It boasts an app tracking approach which it says does not infringe Apple’s new rules for application developers.

Product marketing VP Andrew Bovingdon (pictured) says the company gets round the ban on “the use of third party software… to collect and send device data to a third party for processing or analysis” in two ways.

Firstly, no custom software is required. “The traditional approach is to have a bt of native code sitting inside the app,” says Bovingdon. Bango, however, uses standard internet calls to report activity.

Pixel tags can be placed by developers at various points within the app, and these make HTTP requests to Bango’s servers to record when an event takes place. A tag on the loading screen, for instance, will report when the app is turned on.

The second point, and perhaps most crucially, is that no device data is collected. Bovingdon says the company relies on partnerships with mobile phone operators to identify handset models and unique users, negating the need for it to be reported through the app.

Bovingdon says the company has taken external advice – though not from Apple – to check that its approach to app analytics is consistent with the new developer rules.

Compliant it may be, but there are limitations in the approach. Says Bovingdon: “This method is not going to provide quite the depth and richness you would get if you are passing information back from the app itself.” However, developers and analytics rivals may be left with little choice but to adopt similar methods if Apple’s ban on third-party analytics software remains in force.

Many analytics players – Medialets and Flurry among them – have been in touch with Apple seeking clarification on the meaning and intent of the new rules, which are due to come into force later this year with the release of the fourth iteration of the iPhone operating system.