Free ebook: Why Your Analytics Needs to Track Across Multiple Platforms

You may think you have a handle on your user behavior, but unless your analytics are fully cross-platform you’re not going to be getting the full picture. Users just don’t navigate apps in tidy, single-platform flows anymore. In a study of e-commerce companies, Facebook found that 45% of all shopping journeys included at least one mobile event. For an e-commerce site, any one of those actions could be a crucial point of analysis.

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Why Your Analytics Needs to Track Across Multiple Platforms You may think you have a handle on your user behavior, but unless your analytics are fully cross-platform you’re not going to be getting the full picture. Users just don’t navigate apps in tidy, single-platform flows anymore. In a study of e-commerce companies, Facebook found that 45% of all shopping journeys included at least one mobile event. For an e-commerce site, any one of those actions could be a crucial point of analysis. More recently, referral marketing platform Extole found that similar cross-platform behavior had taken over the process of sending and receiving invites to try different services. 4 5%of all shopping journeys contain an action on mobile 1 in 3 omni-channel shoppers do research on mobile before buying on desktop or offline And in the year ahead: 64% of omni-channel shoppers anticipate doing more research on their smartphones 61% expect to use their smartphone more in-store “Advocates” sent links to their friends from desktops about 82% of the time, but those were only opened by friends on desktops about 54% of the time—28% of the time, they were opened on mobile. The lesson is clear: people are not navigating products and services in a clean, tidy manner anymore. They are using several different platforms, often going back and forth between native apps, mobile sites, and desktop browsing as they make their way to becoming customers. While a seemingly small shift from the outside, this created what a Verizon marketing direc -tor called “chaos” for marketers trying to track user behavior. It was suddenly all too clear that existing tools for tracking behavior, which are optimized for desktop web browsing, can only really catch user action in fits and starts. They can’t capture a broad picture. But with analytics vendors that do allow you to analyze how people are using your product across different platforms, getting a full picture of your user behavior doesn’t have to be chaos. Cross-platform analytics let you look at users who are moving from your native app to your mobile site to your desktop site, combine data from all those platforms to get a broad understanding of your user base’s behavior, and then dive into specific performance metrics on each. This kind of versatility in your analytics is crucial to making the right product decisions, understanding user flows and conversions, and refining your core UX platform-wide. Cross-Platform Data Collection Without cross-platform analytics, you slow down the efforts of your product teams to under -stand the changes they need to make. Collecting data across platforms manually, organizing it, cleaning it up, and presenting it in readable format is a time-consuming affair. It’s unacceptably slow if you’re trying to iterate fast, and it keeps valuable information on user behavior out of your hands. If each platform is sending out its own version of a user identifier—real_name: compared to name: for instance—then you’re going to have to spend more time and hire more people just to process all of this data into a usable end product. Having easy access to that end product is crucial. Without being able to track users as they move across platforms, you won’t just have an incomplete behavioral model—you’ll have an actively misleading one. It’ll show you conversions and bounces, but you won’t be able to see any of the context or any of the user journey behind it. This is a problem that Rocket Games ran into as they started growing. They make casino games for Facebook and mobile, and they needed information on how all of their games—over 40 of them—were performing. But at one point, it was actually taking days for data to flow into their dashboards.