We yesterday introduced a straightforward way for our publishing partners to access Google Analytics reports for any of the individual titles that we host for them. Data is available in the amazingly atomic detail supported by Google Analytics, for each title, issue, and page. Also, Google makes it very practical to select specific date ranges, whereas the data we had previously collected from our own logs was lumped together in coarse monthly buckets. The traffic data is aggregated for each magazine, so there should be no privacy issues. Furthermore, each publisher has access to his own data, and stuff that is generic or ‘cross publication’ is not reported via the Google system. The data spigot for each magazine can be switched on as soon as a publisher sends us their Google Analytics code…..

I love the way Google Analytics can provide flexible geographical breakdowns of the data it aggregates:

33 visits from Bari and 71 from Bologna.

Whenever we collect data on our users we are surprised by the extent to which the iPad is making such a big difference to the digital magazine business. Here are a few data points:

  • In the last year we have had more visitors to our website from iPad users than from the iPhone (this time a year ago there were no iPads anywhere outside Apple)
  • These iPad users read/access twice as many pages as iPhone users
  • The iPhone usage has also shot up in the last year. Six times as many visitors this year as in the previous 12 months.
  • iPod usage is also significant and is at about the same level as Android usage. Much smaller than iPhone use but, surprisingly, slightly more sticky (both Android and iPod are slightly stickier than the iPhone)
  • Blackberry and Symbian use is low, and Windows barely registers (guess that is Windows 7?)
  • Our aggregate visits from mobile users (March 14, 2010- March 14 2011) have increased more than 10 times from the previous year (1000%+)
  • Looking at one particular magazine which has been quite popular on the iPhone/iPad, it has had over 20,000 freemium app downloads in the last year and roughly one in 6 of those freemium downloads has led to a sale.
  • We regard 1 in 6 as a good conversion rate. The conversion rate for different magazines varies enormously.
  • Price is a big factor in the conversion process.
  • iPad sampling has marginally outdistanced iPhone sampling. This is really surprising since there must be at least 10 times, perhaps 20 times, as many iPhones as iPads in the market for this particular magazine (which has mostly a UK circulation).
  • We do not yet have relative conversion rates but we would expect the conversion rate to be significantly weighted to the iPad — we know this from smaller samples.

I guess it is possibly worrying that Google know so much about our system, our traffic and the usage of our publisher’s digital assets. Google know so much about all of us. But they do make it easy for web site owners to find out what they know! Apple must have just as much detail on the use of the apps we provide for iTunes, but like all other Apple developers we have access to very little of what Apple must know about the usage of apps.

On the other hand our publishers are now in the position that they have access to what Google know about the digital distribution of their magazines and something of what Apple know. Google and Apple are pretty much ignorant of the other guy’s data. At Exact Editions we see it as our task to help publishers get their digital magazines on as many platforms as possible and to maintain an overall control of that distribution and data. That ultimately gives publishers a position of some strength.