Anindya Ghose is an Associate Professor & Co-director Center for Business Analytics, New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Anindya does causal modelling, econometric modelling and randomizing experiments on all things internet including social, digital and mobile. Having been in the space for more than a decade, Anindya feels safe in believing that he has almost covered everything that is there in this space. “I have looked at advertising, display, mobile, search, social media, user generated content, e-commerce and all things related,” he tells us with a smile. We got in touch with him at the ISB Digital Summit to know a few trends in the space.
“The key with mobile really is to figure out how to measure the data that is being generated from devices. Most people make the mistake of assuming mobile analytics is the same as web analytics, while they’re poles apart. The reason is because web data is obtained in a very straight forward manner by obtaining IP addresses of most users. But, mobile is a very fragmented ecosystem; one has the OEMs and the carriers etc because of which data is generated in silos in the mobile world,” says Anindya. “And when you care about mobile measurements, you really have to figure out how the data was generated in the first place, and most experts are not doing that. So, I think most of us who are concerned about measurements are cognizant of these issues and when we do statistical, econometric or causal models, we do take into account data generation issues specific to mobile,” he adds.
Global Trends in Mobile and Social
There are some fascinating things happening in this space. “In terms of the big ones, mobile apps are huge,” says Anindya and this is pretty much obvious considering the noise around them. The big issues are about pricing an app; do you offer the app for free and make money off in-app advertising or should you offer a paid app. “Another big trend is multiple devices. People are not concerned about having one device, they have multiple devices, they are using smart phones, tablets, desktops and TVs, this simultaneous usage of multiple devices influences advertising,” says Anindya.
The next big trend is not just cross device synergies but also cross media synergies.“This means that I can get exposed to a search engine, a publisher site on a PC, on a smart phone, on a tablet etc. You can’t be measuring the effects of data in silos, you have to account for these synergies, explains Anindya. This basically sums up the mobile space.
In the social space, the big trends are social curation like Pinterest. “You have now got something called a sharing economy, now people are not buying cars, books, hotels etc, in fact they are renting off unused capacities. Airbnb is a great example of that,” says Anindya. “Another big trend in social media is social listening, which involves text mining to figure out sentiments,” adds Anindya. Gamification is another trend; people are being rewarded for bring participative and it is working. These are some of the key areas in this space.
Advertising on Mobile
This is the main source of income when you’re talking about mobile. “It is going to be on top of the fold, no one is going to be caring about the bottom of the fold. Top of the fold is space that people are going to be exposed to without scrolling, all the advertising action is going to be top of the fold,” says Anindya in short.
What is the next foreseeable change?
“More or less, I have seen similar examples here for each of these, one of the things that might be different here is the crowd funding thing,” says Anindya. In the US, the regulatory bodies are now allowing crowd funding sites to assign equity to donors in startups of the crowd funded startups which hasn’t happened in India yet.“You can get a reward for altruism, but can’t directly own stock via crowd funding. That is there in the US, not yet in execution but on paper, it is going to be implemented from next year. The chances are India will follow this as well,” he says.
Advice to Indian Internet Entrepreneurs
“My advice to them would be care about analytics. In a world where top level strategy doesn’t matter so much any more, what is going to matter is given the data sets that are being generated, invest in resources within your company to mine that data using tools to identify trends and usage patterns.”
We at YourStory.in thank Anindya for sharing his time and insights with us. Stay tuned, we shall bring you more updates from his research.