[Interview] How to better understand your users: data collecting and analysis

Our smartphones can tell a lot about ourselves. We carry those small computers with us every day, everywhere we go and – do we like it or not – they collect data about our behaviors and habits through the whole time they are turned on. And this is not something that will change anytime soon, in a contrary – more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race! Data is growing faster than ever before and by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet. Unfortunately, at the moment less than 0.5% of all data is ever analyzed and used – we should definitely change that!

Maybe you have already been asking yourself a question: as a mobile apps entrepreneur, what kind of data can I exactly collect and how should I properly use them in my businesses? Luckily, our COO Mateusz Stanuszek has recently answered these questions in an interview for gomobi.pl. You can read what is his opinion on those topics in an English version below. Read it carefully as you may find here the knowledge, that will revolutionize your whole view at your business!

Mobile technologies and Big Data. What kind of data can we gather from mobile devices?

We can collect all kinds of data connected with the way users interact with our mobile app. We can find out whether they use it in compliance with our intentions, get to know which screens are ignored by them or even monitor time of loading of the separate screens. We are able to analyze users chains of behavior, which means we can acknowledge what kinds of actions are executed by them from specific screens the most often. If we, for example, notice, that an average time of loading a screen exceeds 10 second – that’s a red flag for us. It means that the amount of data on a screen is too high, the wrong algorithm has been used or the code is just faulty. Gathering and analysing that kind of data is crucial in adjusting the application to your user’s habits and preferences.

We generate much more data from mobile than from desktop. How should we use this knowledge in business?

Nowadays, collecting data about users of smartphone applications is crucial. It allows companies to get to know their users better. This way, the business is able to better adapt its products and services. In addition, acquiring customers becomes cheaper and easier thanks to more precise marketing campaigns. That is why I think that when running a business, we should consider creating a dedicated mobile application for it.

An example of why this movement can pay off is the case of our Polish client, the Main Scientific Bookstore (Główna Księgarnia Naukowa) in Cracow, Poland. Bookshop owners noticed that the loyalty program on which they based a large part of their marketing strategy did not work as well as they wished. Customers were losing their loyalty cards, forgetting about them or resigning from even getting one, as they didn’t want to disclose their personal data to a bookshop.

The mobile application came with help then, which by collecting data on the user’s reading preferences helped to match the perfect marketing message for him. Thanks to this, not only the user was gaining, as he was informed only about the books that would be really valuable for him, but also the bookstore was able to make more informed decisions about its assortment, based on the tastes of its customers. The application has been downloaded almost 5 thousand times so far (available only for Android) and according to our conversations with GKN employees, customers praise it for its simplicity and convenience in use.

One of the areas you are specializing in are wearables. What kind of data can be collected in this case?

You can collect all different types of data, it depends only on the sensors that will be installed in the device. This may include data such as user location, heart rate, speed or temperature.
 
big-data-interview

Is there a difference between data collected from desktop and mobile devices?

Yes, there is a difference between data collected from desktop and mobile devices, because the type of content viewed on them by the user is different. Because desktop devices are usually larger, they are mainly used to view more detailed data. Portable devices are best suited to reminding them of something or allowing remote management of some equipment. Therefore, desktop devices usually collect data that the user enters himself/herself into the device, such as forms filled in by the user. The mobile devices are mainly used for the acquisition of data collected through various sensors, which accumulate them when the user uses the device. These are, for example, the already mentioned heart rate, speed or temperature sensors.

Where else do you get data outside of mobile, desktop, wearables?

As for now, mobile, desktop and wearables are the only technologies by which you can collect user data. Take intelligent homes, for example, they are also connected to an application that is most frequently mobile and this app precisely collects data. The situation with beacons looks similar, they are also connected through mobile. Besides, there are a lot of other data-collecting devices, but most of them also connect via Bluetooth or other technologies with…. smart phones. It is, therefore, true to say that we generate much more data via mobile than through desktop devices – it is because so many devices use mobile technologies to collect data. However, it is possible that something else will appear in the near future which will revolutionize the whole Big Data industry.

What about the regulations on data collection and use?

There are a few things that we absolutely must be careful about if we want to avoid legal and/or financial consequences. According to the law, it is considered illegal to: enforce consent to the processing of personal data, force consent to the transfer of personal data to other entities, not taking into account the objection concerning the processing of personal data and not providing information upon request of the data subject.

The user must always be aware that his or her data is collected and used in a specific way. Some people try to hide such consents, make the user unwillingly agree to the processing of the collected data – that is not the way. This only creates reluctance and prejudice towards the company. Especially since this data is often made available to entities that have nothing to do with the interests of the user.

Fortunately, thanks to the RODO regulation, which comes into force in May next year, users will, among other things, acquire a “right to be forgotten”. Thanks to it, even by accidentally consenting to the processing of your data, if they are used in a manner contrary to our wishes, we will be able to demand their removal from the database. RODO regulations will also have a significant impact on companies wishing to collect and use data about their users, indicating the information that must be taken into account in communications on how personal data are processed. The company collecting users data will also have to keep detailed records, taking into account, among other things, the reasons of data processing, recipients of the data and storage confirmed approvals for data processing. There will also be an absolute ban on data transfers outside the EU without adequate safeguards. Failure to comply with these guidelines could result in severe financial penalties imposed on the company.

As you can see, the possibilities of data that you can collect about your users are almost endless – everything depends on the sensors you will input in your device. Use them smartly and you will get a special advantage above your competition but remember – user being aware of his data being collected and used is an absolute necessity here. Use those data in the right way, to offer your users products truly the best suited for their needs – not to bombard them with unwanted ads. Trust me, once you go that road gaining back the trust of your users may be very difficult. And sometimes – impossible.  

Wanna find out about other big things in an app development right now? Check this article about QR codes and their possible great comeback. .

Izabela Majocha
Marketing Specialist
A journalist by education, a Marketing and PR enthusiast by choice. Fascinated by an IT world, especially by AI and AR and their usage in peoples everyday lives. In my free time, I play indie games, cook and watch tons of TV series. 

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