With all the outcry over SOPA and PIPA, we continue to be amazed that no one (other than Lairig Marketing) – NO ONE – has bemoaned the privacy risks associated with online analytics vendors. Companies such as Flurry, who explains itself thusly:
“…the world's leading mobile application analytics and data-powered advertising platform, with more ground breaking [sic] services in development.”
No idea what that means, but we eagerly await the promised earthquake (sorry for the reference, El Cerrito).
Here is an example of what Flurry has access to:
“…[we take] a sample of 60,000 daily active users on iOS, from among a total group of 6 million for whom we have demographic data…”
Flurry knows who you are and follows you all around every single place you go on your smartphone, all day long. And there are dozens more similar companies. You either don’t know or you don’t care. Potentially a much bigger story than Google and Safari, but we digress.
Flurry has been able to parlay all this snooping into two large helpings of marketing analytics catnip. The trade press and blogarrhea live for headlines like this:
- “Flurry finds mobile apps usage dominates Web.”
- “Flurry finds time spent in mobile far outpaces ad spending.”
All these people you see coming straight at you, heads down, on the sidewalk? Playing Pac-Man. Or whatever. (Still wondering why there is high unemployment?)
The next 30% of “apps time” is spent on social networking (read: Facebook – still wondering why there is high unemployment?).
And so you have one reason from Flurry’s first “finding” as to why its second finding is nonsense – ad spend is low on mobile because the apps people are using are not suited to it.
But that’s just a sliver. In fact, Lairig Marketing wrote about this “underspending” topic – BACK IN MARCH 2008 – when data pundits of that period were wailing about how online ad spend allocation wasn’t aligned with people’s time on the Web.
Here is a summary of what we said then, and still say now. Four years later, the % allocated to online spend is still lower than the % of users’ time on the Web – and therefore mobile will always be “under” – because:
- Cost of ad production is infinitely lower than TV or print
- Cost of online media is pennies on the TV dollar
- TV still has better mass reach
- Average people are not your customers
Please, please help us pass the word the next time you see this “underinvestment in mobile advertising” claim.
In the meantime, here is an example of what Flurry knows that ought to make privacy advocates sh&t their pants: