Boopsie, the developer of custom mobile apps for libraries, is planning to launch Boopsie Analytics in early 2014. Currently in alpha testing stage, the new web-based platform will help the company’s customers manipulate and analyze data about a number of different patron behaviors, such as how many queries are sent to a database or catalog from the app each day or each week, what services are being accessed most often via the app, how many titles are being downloaded from OverDrive or other vendor partners using the app, what are the most popular titles accessed via the app, or whether the use of downloadable audiobooks is on the rise, for example. Many features will be available to the company’s customers at no additional charge, according to Boopsie CEO Tony Medrano. Complex features may be offered as part of a subscription plan.
Through its Boopsie account, each library will be able to access an online dashboard that Medrano compared to Google Analytics. Medrano emphasized that all of the data is collected and presented in aggregated form, and no personal information on individual users is preserved or viewable.
“We’re able to track each keystroke on our mobile apps, so we log a few hundred million events per year,” Medrano said. “We don’t keep track of any personally identifiable information, but we’re able to see some amazing trends in the library industry.”
Medrano said that offering Boopsie’s customers a simple way to access this type of usage data will assist decision making and will help libraries illustrate growth or funding needs for their boards, communities, and funding bodies.
“It encourages innovation and it’s a forward-looking approach, because they can add analytics to support” proposals and grant requests, Medrano said. “Our first goal was that we want to support our customers with information.” More information “enables you to make better business decisions. Libraries and Boopsie and our partners can then decide what to put their resources behind.”
Even in the testing stage, Boopsie Analytics is spotting interesting trends. For example, users of mobile library apps made a noticeable shift from iPhones and iPads to Android devices earlier this fall. Aggregated data from more than 3.2 million Boopsie users indicates that from September to October, the use of Apple iOS devices to access library apps declined by 2.38 percent, while Android use rose by 2.91 percent. This may not sound like a significant change, but it represented the largest one month decline in iPhone use, and largest one month increase in Android use, in the three years that Boopsie has been tracking this data, said Boopsie CEO Tony Medrano. Prior to this shift in September, usage of both platforms had held steady since the beginning of 2013.
“Android taking market share from Apple is how I read it,” Medrano said. “There are a couple of neat things in the market that are affecting what people are buying or what they are using more…. the Samsung [Galaxy Gear smartphone] watch and the Kindle Fire work on Android OS. And I think there’s been an inevitable increase in Android market share because of their strategy and price point.”
About 40.6 percent of patrons access library apps on Apple iOS devices, including iPads and iPhones, according to Boopsie data. Most of the rest use Android devices.Medrano noted that the split emphasizes the need for multi-platform app solutions, such as those offered by Boopsie.
“An iOS-only app may seem like a good solution, but it only addresses 40 percent of the market,” he said.