Apsalar Looks to Usher in the Next Generation of Mobile Analytics

The first generation of mobile advertising and analytics companies is giving way to a new one.

A San Francisco-based startup, Apsalar, is looking to add another layer of sophistication onto existing mobile analytics products on the market and is securing key partnerships with players like Tapjoy to get in front of developers. It’s taking on longstanding rivals like Flurry, which has built a formidable footprint in the space over the last few years before moving aggressively into pay-per-install advertising. However, unlike Flurry, which offers free analytics, Apsalar uses a freemium model.

The company is founded by a team of serial entrepreneurs led by Michael Oiknine, who sold his last company Kefta Inc. to Acxiom in 2007.

Apsalar offers basic analytics like the devices or location of users, how many sessions they’ve had and whether they’re returning or new.

But then it gets into more complicated offerings including cross-application analytics — meaning if you have more than one app, you can track all of your users from a single dashboard. You can see how users are progressing through the funnel across multiple apps (see below). A developer can also track whether they’re successfully cross-selling users from one app to another.

There is also user segmentation, which lets developers track how gamers are progressing differently depending on whether they’re new or returning or what level of the game they’re at. Cohort analysis lets you track how users are progressing depending on the date when they first starting playing the game (see below). That allows a developer know if any tweaks they’ve made to the on-boarding process or to other parts of the game are actually helping convert more players.

Path analysis maps out all the potential steps a player could take through a game and overlays the percentage chance they’ll take that action.

Oiknine says Apsalar doesn’t capture personally identifiable information, but that the company retains the right to use aggregated, anonymized data later down the line.

Apsalar uses a freemium model, with the free edition allowing developers to track up to two funnels or cohorts and five user segments. Then there are three paid tiers above that cost anywhere between $149 to $999 per month. Flurry says it has cross-app and path analysis as well and is testing cohort analysis.

Apsalar recently partnered with Tapjoy to offer cost-per-action advertising, which lets developers pay to acquire new users that reach a certain level or take a certain action in a game. This goes a level beyond the prevailing cost-per-install model, which lets developers pay for every time a user downloads their app from an offer wall in another game. Networks like Flurry, Tapjoy, W3i and others cross-promote apps in games, incentivizing users to download them in exchange for virtual currency.

Skeptics say that paying for installs is flawed since consumers might just download apps to get virtual currency only to trash them later without even playing. Cost-per-action ensures that users at least play with the app a little bit. The partnership also helps Tapjoy fill a gap in its offering relative to Flurry, whose analytics products are free.

Apsalar is backed by 500Startups, Mark Goines, Morado Ventures, Founder’s Co-op and Seraph Group.