Freemium tools for mobile customer experience management

Amidst a somewhat spurious debate on whether native apps will kill the open web, Netbiscuits – a long-time proponent of HTML5 and responsive design – has taken its mobile analytics and device detection tools into a freemium pricing model. This should help open up creative thinking about mobile customer experience management for a broader set of companies and marketers.
One of Netbiscuits’ key strengths is its library of thousands of device profiles. For instance, it claims it can detect screen size where most analytics can only do resolution. The analytics offer the usual charting and Google analytics integration.
Netbiscuits CMO Daniel Weisbeck wants to help create a dialogue between marketing and IT. “HTML5 isn’t a marketing strategy,” he told me the other day, because it doesn’t fully address mobile context or multi-screen user personae. Netbiscuits has created some cute user personae – “morning professional,” “sofa surfer,” etc. – that site designers need to understand and accommodate beyond responsive design. For example, sites might want to disable social tags for certain audiences at lunchtime, and add more links in the evening for tablet browsing. They could regulate video streaming based on bandwidth and device power.
This approach is all well and good, but these “personae” are often different usage modes for the same person, a concept Netbiscuits fully embraces. I’d de-emphasize the persona angle. While brand marketers and advertisers love this kind of thing, their notion of personae is usually attitude- as well as behavior-based, and layered atop demographic profiles. Device detection and analytics can do a lot for you, but they can’t detect gender.