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One-on-One with Andy Bovingdon
VP Product Marketing of Bango Inc.

by Karly Gaffney, Media Relations, Dashboard InsightTuesday, July 14, 2009

Dashboard Insight recently spoke with Bango's Andy Bovingdon about the difficulties in getting quality data from mobile visitors, visitor identification technology, plus a few words on increasing conversion rates.


Dashboard Insight: Can you tell us about the history of Bango?

Andy Bovingdon: Bango was founded in 1999 at a time when there was a significant growth in the number of mobile phones and the arrival of the internet on these devices.  Users were starting to browse and access free and premium mobile content from their mobile phones.  So we saw this as a great opportunity to develop a WAP billing solution that would enable businesses to sell their digital content to users worldwide and generate revenue from their mobile content.

Right from the start, we worked very closely with mobile industry players to build a leading technology platform that delivered a superior mobile experience to the users who were already familiar with the desktop web.  Seeing mobile as a personal medium, we put mobile connectivity at the centre of how brands and marketers could reach their audiences.

We are exactly 10 years old this year and we have enabled thousands of brands – global and niche – to capitalize on the reach and interactivity that mobile phones offer.  During this time, we have built strong relationships with handsets manufactures and mobile operators, which are at the centre of the development of our unique tracking and identification technology, and our rich analytical capabilities.  This led us to develop Bango Analytics in February 2007 to enable businesses, brands and individuals to get a deep understanding of the composition and behavior of their mobile traffic.

DI: What is the biggest hurdle that companies face in getting BI data on their mobile devices?

AB: The main issue companies face obtaining quality mobile information is accurate identification of their mobile visitors.  Without this fundamental capability, it is impossible to get accurate data about unique visitors, visit and campaign conversions.  Traditional desktop web analytics tools rely on cookies and JavaScript for data collection, methods that are far less reliable on mobile.

Given the increased complexities of mobile, the visitor identity needs to be stored independent of device and network connection to deliver accurate results. This approach allows visitor tracking between Wi-Fi and operator connections and copes where cookies cannot be stored on the handset or are blocked by operator gateways.  It also works when operators transcode web pages for display on mobile, when handset manufacturers use their own internet gateways (Blackberry) or browsers use remote proxy servers to speed up rendering (Opera Mini).

Users now swap between their network connection and Wi-Fi freely, as they look for the best connection and the cheapest connection.

DI: Your newest release of Bango Analytics (v4) tracks smartphone users over different network connections, tell us more about this.

AB: With our latest version of Bango Analytics, its unique identification technology has been enhanced so companies can now track unique visitors whether a smartphone user connects via operator gateway, Wi-Fi or home broadband.  Even if smartphone users change their connection, Bango still retains the ability to track them.  We provide each visitor with a unique persistent user ID, no matter what type of network connection they use, so we can recognize whether a user has visited a mobile site for the first time or if it is a returning visitor.  This way companies can track a user’s preferences and offer a personalized mobile experience.  They can also see how their visitors are interacting with a mobile marketing campaign in real time and make any necessary adjustments to their campaign if necessary to ensure the campaign is a success.

DI: Explain to us how Bango measures ROI with different forms of mobile marketing (advertising, SEO and social marketing)? 

AB: With our Bango Analytics solution we give businesses real-time and accurate data about their mobile marketing or search campaigns.  This information is collected independently of the advertising or search provider.  Bango provides two ways of tracking campaigns and measuring ROI:

Firstly we have Bango Link Tracking technology.  This is perfect when the company placing the ads does not have access to the website being used as the landing page as is often the case when agencies are used.  The landing page is given to Bango and we provide the destination URL for each of their campaigns.

Secondly, Bango detects a range of campaign variables that can be passed within the URL. This includes the name of the campaign, the medium used, the campaign owner and more.  This information is collected by standard Bango page tracking code added to the landing page.

As mobile visitors click on a banner ad or search term, Bango identifies them and collects key information, such as click-through rates, unique visitor count, type of handset, network and country the visitor came from.  This allows businesses to focus their efforts on the countries, networks and handsets which give the highest conversion rates.  More importantly, with Bango companies can verify if the advertising or search campaign reached their target audience and measure conversion rates and marketing ROI, to determine which of their advertising channels performed the best and better plan their future marketing investment.

DI: How are your mobile analytics solutions different than other BI solutions on the market? 

At the core of our mobile analytics solution is our unique visitor identification technology, our ability to persistently identify unique visitors across network connections and repeat visits.  By providing each mobile visitor with a unique Bango User ID, we’re able to see if a visitor has visited a mobile site for the first time or if he/she’s visited it before.  This helps website owners to persistently identify people across multiple visits rather than just counting the number of clicks and page views. 

Unlike our competitors, Bango mobile analytics records and provides data in real time so companies don’t have to wait days to get their information.  This unique technology sets us aside by delivering precise, accurate data within minutes of it being recorded.  Bango lets businesses immediately analyze their mobile traffic and see the impact of their marketing campaigns, giving granular detail that can mean the difference between campaign success and failure.  It allows advertisers/publishers to fine-tune their campaigns and change content throughout the day based on the time of day.

DI: What is the process if someone wants to evaluate your solutions?

AB: We have made it very quick and simple for people to test our solutions by offering a free 30-day trial on our website at http://bango.com/analytics.  Thousands of companies have signed-up to measure traffic hitting their mobile sites and work out how well this traffic “converts” to the various calls-to-action they implement.

DI: Tell us why companies should consider investing in mobile BI analytics solution like Bango, especially in this economy? 

AB: In this economy, it is paramount that companies get precise and accurate information about their mobile visitors and how they interact with their mobile sites and mobile ad campaigns – any money spent on mobile websites or marketing needs to have reliable facts to rationalize the expenditure.

By using a mobile analytics solution, such as Bango Analytics, businesses get verifiable, independent and comprehensive data about their visitors, such as which pages they visited and which campaign delivered the highest ROI.  This helps businesses focus their efforts where the investment delivers the highest conversion rates. They can see if the advertising or search campaign reached their target audience and if they have bought the right traffic.  It also helps them determine which of their advertising channels performed the best so they know where to invest their marketing dollars in future.

DI: What do you think the future holds for Mobile BI applications?

AB: Analysts predict that in the next five years more people will be browsing the web from mobile devices than from desktops and fixed connections.  With that in mind, quality mobile business intelligence will be crucial to all businesses – from major brands to small local companies.  Obtaining the best information will give companies the opportunity to better compete and steam ground from today’s leading web companies.

DI: What can we expect to see from Bango in the coming months?

AB: Bango has a bold vision that encompasses mobile billing and analytics.  We will continue to deliver the best ways for content providers and brands worldwide to understand their customers, engage in long-term relationships and deliver the best possible mobile experience – no matter what device or network connection they use.

For now we are focused on delivering our new capabilities for tracking visitors between operator connections and Wi-Fi. This is especially important for all billing customers as it enables operator billing via Wi-Fi without any complex registration process – this is set to revolutionize the way consumers can pay on mobile.


 

BIO

Andy Bovingdon is responsible for the interface between the Bango products and markets; considering product requirements, positioning and promotion.  He leads the company's product proposition and strategy.  Andy has more than 12 years experience within the global internet market, working for both start-ups and established brands.  He has been active with the World Wide Web from its inception and was involved in the first web conference, at CERN in 1994.  Before joining Bango, Andy was Head of Marketing and Product Management for ANT plc, the leading supplier of web-based user interface platforms for the IPTV market.  Prior to that, he was responsible for world-wide marketing at Microsoft Research in Cambridge.  Andy holds a BSc in Computer Science from Staffordshire University

 

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