One of the more interesting presentations here at VentureBeat’s DiscoveryBeat 2010 in San Francisco had to be the high-speed talk delivered by Flurry CEO Simon Khalaf.
Over the course of fifteen short minutes, Khalaf repeatedly hammered home the importance of harvesting the mountain of real-time data available to media providers. As head of an analytics platform for mobile game and application developers, he understands the true value of data in acquiring and sustaining a large consumer base.
He began his presentation idealizing the age and industry we work in as one comparable to automobile production in the early 1900s or, much more recently, rocketing web development in the last part of that same century. The only difference, he says, is that the market now moves at a much faster pace than either of those two examples.
Businesses today have to cater to an “Instant Everything” generation. Users can create instant art, they seek instant entertainment and news, they want to share instant feedback and deals with each other--everything happens in the now. The only way any one business can become as powerful or influential a media company as Disney or the New York Times in our time is by feeding on all collectible data.
Just a week ago, Flurry released research revealing that iOS gaming apps attract larger audiences than many of the most popular TV programs. About 19 million users spend an average of 22 minutes per day playing social gaming apps, trumping audiences reached by NBC’s Sunday Night Football and nearly matching ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
“Some social gamers are printing money,” said Khalaf.
The Flurry CEO ultimately believes those social gaming companies are seeing success by harnessing the power of “instant data” to track user acquisition, engagement, retention, and, finally, monetization. The majority of the money spent on acquisition--80-90%, says Khalaf--helps attract a consumer back to the product. In the end, however, there’s no magic or trick to building up an audience. Some campaigns might be more successful than others, which is why it’s important to always follow the data.
Khalaf’s talk immediately reminded me of something said by Zynga CEO Mark Pincus less than a month ago: “We are data junkies. We measure everything.” The San Francisco social gaming startup, with over 20,000 servers marking down every click made by every user in every game in the gaming network, has truly noted the power of data in attracting and maintaining a diehard fanbase. How else would Zynga continually dominate the top ten apps on Facebook with household names like FarmVille?
Zynga sees over 200 million monthly active users, and there’s probably little doubt in Khalaf’s head as to how that happened: data analytics.