Basic Overview of Mobile Web Analytics

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The increase in mobile internet usage necessitated the need to venture into mobile web analytics as a way of ascertaining factors such as mobile traffic, site accessibility and mobile users navigation patterns aimed at enhancing mobile marketing initiatives like mobile advertising, search marketing, mobile site desktop promotions and text campaigns.

Mobile analytics also collects and analyzes specific details that include country, mobile network operator or carrier, unique user ID and language. The introduction of high caliber cell phones like the Nokia N95 and Apple iPhone among others offers a superlative browsing experience, and the W3C Mobile Web Initiative is aimed at improving the capacity of websites to cater for the mobile phone traffic.

As can be expected methods of collecting traditional web analytics are not entirely similar as tools such as the Google Analytics only present fractionally accurate information – enter the smart phones & PDA’s, these devices are so advanced it is easy to identify their footprints compared to other mass market devices.

Javascript tagging is incompatible with the majority of web browsers, and so are the HTTP cookies which are traditionally utilized to identify site visitors, and even though the mobile device used is capable of supporting cookies, these may become irrelevant due to insufficient device memory.

The HTTP referrer does not help much either because of device compatibility problems, while employing image tags is complicated by handset caching processes despite the presence of any “do not cache me” headers output by a remote server.

The client IP address shown by mobile footprints are derived from the gateway machine belonging to the mobile network operator or in the case of Blackberry phones and those utilizing the Opera Mini software, the IP address reflected points to a getway machine based in Norway or Canada that is owned by the respective firms.

In the event that the mobile visitor gets identified, the benefits of the information such as the exact cell phone device, network operator, country, language and even possibly the exact mobile phone number (by permission) are plenty.

Link redirection on the other hand is a good way of keeping tabs on mobile visitor navigation patterns, it is able to capture clicks from advertising search and clicks from outgoing links. The problem relating to the use of operator database to pinpoint the national territory as reflected by the IP address of an internet gateway device is that a number of operators use shared networks spanning multiple geographical locations.


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