Neatly following on from our latest post on the limits of analytics, here's Alistair Croll via the awesome Avinash Kaushik reminding us of the limits of the basic analytics approach.

Obviously we agree with pretty much every word of this. In particular, the clear focus on changing things and moving the needle (rather than simply looking at the needle every now and again) is a concept that needs to be deeply embedded in our approach to mobile app and game development. Our take on this is that the action itself is what really matters, and the analytics put in place should simply be what is required to support the targeted testing of changes or indeed direct marketing effort.

As Avinash puts it:

We are far too enamored with data collection and reporting the standard metrics we love because others love them because someone else said they were nice so many years ago. Sometimes, we escape the clutches of this sub optimal existence and do pick good metrics or engage in simple A/B testing.

And for good measure a quote from Alistair's article itself:

On the surface, these three questions—who, what, and why—don’t seem hard to answer. But they are. That’s because they require you to have a deep understanding of your customers. In the Lean Startup world, this is called customer development. The experiment will almost always look like this:

Find out if WHO will do WHAT because WHY enough to improve KPI by the Target you've defined.

This gets to the deliberate nature of the actions we want to take. You start with a great hypothesis, and you’ll get a great experiment. This also keeps you honest, because everyone recognizes the point of the activity beforehand.