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Speaking at Microsoft #MIX11 on Windows Phone 7 App Analytics

I’ll be speaking at Microsoft’s MIX Event (April 12-14) in Las Vegas as one of 11 selected “Open Call” sessions. The session is titled “Who Would Pay For That Feature? Adding Analytics to Your Windows Phone 7 Applications.” I’ll be discussing a few things:

The world of mobile analytics
A lot of people associate “mobile analytics” with “web analytics,” particularly on Windows Phone 7 where most applications are written in Silverlight. However, you don’t have to settle for only knowing which pages of your app are being visited; the analytics available on WP7 are customizable and quite deep (gathering runtime strings, exception reports, etc.). As such, there may be privacy concerns when gathering such deep analytics, so you may want to consider surfacing an opt-in for your users (similar to how Visual Studio or Expression Blend ask you on their first launch if you want to participate in their Customer Experience Improvement Program). This may feel like a lot to think about, but it’s really just one large opportunity for you to gain unique insight into your application AND your users.

Analytics as a full-fleged part of your development cycle
I mentioned a lot of options in the previous section, but it’s not overwhelming if you consider analytics as truly part of your development cycle, starting with understanding requirements. You may only be interested in knowing how many unique users you have and how often they’re using your application. Or maybe you want to know more about which areas of your app users are interacting with. Maybe you actually want to know more about your users and how you can categorize & target them with content updates, new features, or bug fixes. Either way, you should come to the table knowing what questions you hope analytics will help you answer.

Once analytics are collected and analyzed (which I’ll discuss below), the next step is to use that information to decide how to improve your app. It may even make you realize you have a new question about your users that analytics could help you uncover, but you didn’t think of the first time through.

Practical demos on gathering analytics using Dotfuscator & Runtime Intelligence for Windows Phone 7
I’ll walk through the instrumentation of a sample app using Dotfuscator & Runtime Intelligence (which is free for Windows Phone 7 developers thanks to Microsoft), from the very basics (counting application runs and unique users) to the complex (tracking how long a web service call takes, and combining those timings with the type of network connection on the phone at that time).

Analyzing analytics results
Lastly, I’ll show the culmination of all of our efforts so far — the data! I’ll be showing off both default reports and the truly unique insights that can be gained by exporting custom runtime data and doing app-specific pivots on the data.

If you’re developing a Windows Phone 7 app and want to know precisely what to work on for your next release (whether to improve your user feedback ratings or earn more money through sales or adds), you should definitely see this session or watch it afterward on the MIX website.

This entry was posted in .NET, Application Analytics, MIX, WinPhone7. Bookmark the permalink.

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