Buddy.com today announced a mobile analytics service that's supposed to give publishers and brands a better sense of who's actually using their apps and how they're using them. There's plenty of competition on this front — Andreessen Horowitz-backed Mixpanel, for example, has increasingly become a mobile analytics company, and it makes a big deal out of not focusing on "bullshit metrics" like downloads. Buddy CEO and co-founder David McLauchlan was similarly dismissive of using downloads as a meaningful way to measure app engagement. "That's analogous to figuring out TV ratings by looking at how many TVs they sell in Best Buy," he said. McLauchlan argued that Buddy is in a unique position because it sits in the intersection between companies that offer backend tools for building apps and those that offer mobile analytics. Most analytics companies have to "hook" into an already-built app, and then they count whenever the app performs a certain function, which he said is a very limited approach. Buddy, on the other hand, is capable of "prewiring" the app so it provides a fuller picture of user behavior and tracks the information that's important to the publisher. So what can Buddy actually measure? Well, you can get a sense of it in the main analytics dashboard shown above. McLauchlan said it covers things like user demographics and location, as well as data on in-app commerce and conversions. It can also connect those data points in interesting ways, for example showing average time in the app based on age. McLauchlan argued that this is particularly important for the brands and agencies that have used Buddy to build their apps — he called this a step towards creating an industry-wide "good set of metrics or standardized analytics that you can use to buy and sell" advertising and marketing. Buddy says that there are 16,500 applications on its platform, and its customers include Nokia, A&E Television Networks, and Microsoft (which also invested via its Bing Fund).
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