Bridging the Data Divide: A Mobile Case Study

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I often come across mobile apps that have the ability to produce tons of data that could be of use to the business.

But they often have ONE big problem, which stems from how they are fundamentally built.

The data is segmented….. and as a result, is not as useful as it should be.

Below is how I solved a problem of this kind for Vodafone during my time there as the App Analytics Lead.


Step 1 - Assessed the current implementation

The My Vodafone App had around 5 million monthly users and was producing heaps of data in their Adobe Analytics tool.

However, the app was built in two separate components:

  • The first part was a native component that served the upper/middle stages of the user journeys.
  • The second part was a web browser component that served the lower/conversion stages of the user journeys

The problem they were having was that these two components were collecting and storing data in two separate reporting suites (even though it was the same tool).

And as a result, it was impossible to track and analyse the My Vodafone App’s user journeys end to end.


Step 2 - Planned the solution

To solve this problem, the 2 data sources had to be combined in a way that made technical sense.

We decided that the native app data had to be restructured to match the schema of the web data since the web data was the more dominant data source.

However, this was not an easy task and would involve a lot of collaboration between the analytics team and the app product owners/developers.


Step 3 - Replaced the native app datalayer

The native and web browser components have two different datalayers due to them using 2 different tag management solutions, so the first priority was to get them aligned.

We literally ripped out the old native app datalayer and replaced it with a datalayer that mirrored the web.

This involved switching around the tag management SDKs, scoping the metadata options of the native app, and mapping those into a format that made sense for the new datalayer.


Step 4 - Configured the cross-domain tracking

Next, we had to ensure that the analytics tool would be able to identify the same users navigating between the two components of the app.

This was done by ensuring that unique user IDs being set by the native app tracking were pushed into (and used by) the web browser tracking. We basically ended up hacking out a custom cross-domain tracking solution to achieve this.


Step 5 - Trained stakeholders on the new data setup

Once all the technical work was out of the way, we had to show the business how the new data setup worked.

So what did we do? Built some awesome documentation outlining the new implementation, held workshops and Q&A sessions with stakeholders, and communicated the enhanced analytics capabilities of the My Vodafone App to the wider business.


The Results

Now that all of the app data was in one place, it was much easier to analyse the journey flows and pinpoint the stages that needed improvement. The product managers had faith in their data again and were haggling the analytics team with more queries, tracking requirements, and analysis demands (sorry guys!).

The marketing team was also now more motivated to invest in driving user acquisition for the app and was now haggling the app product team with their demands and projects.

But as a result of all this, the marketing and optimisation strategy of the app was taken more seriously, and it saw huge growth in the long run. Both in terms of functionality/user experience/satisfaction and the commercial value it was able to generate for the business as a whole.


Thank you for taking the time to read our article. At Swayven Digital, our mission is to help game companies boost their profitability by refining their analytics & optimisation strategies. If you’d like to learn more about our services and how we could assist you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Stay tuned for more insights, and until next time, keep optimising!

About the Author

About the Author

Anthon Fynn-Williams, the Lead Consultant at Swayven Digital, is a seasoned professional with almost a decade of experience in the digital analytics industry. Having worked in both agency & client-side roles, Anthon has gained valuable experience from delivering analytics & optimisation projects for some of the biggest brands in the UK, including Vodafone, Adidas, William Hill, M&S and Wilko.

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