Flurry Analytics is a free tool that most app developers use to track user data – it’s so ubiquitous it can be found in 400,000 apps on 1.2 billion devices all over the world. On average, each device is running about 7-10 apps with Flurry, which means the company can collect as much as 3 terabytes of data each day.
According to Forbes, the app analytics company has access to 1.2 billion devices while Facebook has 819 million active monthly users and Google has 900 million users on Android devices.
If you haven’t already guessed, the reason for the data collection is advertising. With smartphone apps being fairly inexpensive, advertising is the most lucrative means to achieve economic payback for giving away relatively free digital tools. Flurry can profit immensely by collecting information on how users are accessing those tools and sells each impression in real-time bidding. With Flurry, app developers can ‘sell’ or ‘auction’ your smartphone screens to advertisers. It’s a burgeoning market with an expected growth to a third of all ad-spending for digital displays by 2016.
Here’s an example of how Flurry works:
AppCircle Re-Engagement is a one-of-a-kind service from Flurry that empowers advertisers to increase user engagement after the download. Flurry keeps your new users more active and brings back your lapsed users with impressive results. In tests, re-engaged consumers used their apps up to 7 times more and made up to 2.6 times more purchases. Pair Re-Engagement with every acquisition campaign to make the most of every new user you acquire.
While Flurry is the perfect tool for app developers, it’s unclear how safely user data is being handled, and whether users are explicitly being told how the data is used. Given that most internet users are more apprehensive about data tracking for advertising than government intrusion, it’s clearly not desirable. Perhaps it is time to start paying more for apps that don’t collect data?