Knowing Your Customers: Clever not Creepy

Also just why decisions around ad-blockers or wearables or website vs. apps can get cleverer, let’s find out.

Pratima Harigunani
New Update

MUMBAI, INDIA: He feels that the writing on the wall is not about whether or not our phone would be part of our skin; the question is about what new connotations it would bring for users and marketers and everyone else staring at the bricks now.


Anand Jain, co—founder, CleverTap, a mobile app engagement enabler platform that works along the notion of making mobile app engagement relevant, contextual and personal; seems both excited and curious about the future, specially how it forks between apps and websites, wearables and in-skin form factors, push and pull marketing and other such crossroads.

Let’s see why all these trends around personalization with devices are more than some fickle graffiti.

Can analytics help marketers grab the hard-to-chase pull marketing levers instead of push marketing?


Most of the marketing is aggregate analytics which is not granular enough to understand individuals. Good analytics can help in mass customization by seizing individual-level understanding.

Why is it not creepy for the user?

If you share information with every next person or player, that is creepy. Does the Kirana Store guy in a typical Indian neighbourhood not know the customers too well, down to the level of how much milk they consume on an average day and what bread they eat or what jam goes along? What that guy does is use this knowledge to enhance your experience. If users can be understood well and then offered a personalized attention, that is good.


When we think of analytics, does optimization of engagement correspond strongly with monetization?

Yes, in many ways. In fact some of our survey data indicates that existing users drive more transactions than new users so engaging them in a deep and strong way matters strongly. Like, about 50 per cent of newly acquired users end up transacting on the same day on which they launched the app for the first time and 75 per cent of the existing ‘old’ users who transact, transact on the same day as the app launch. Retaining old users makes better business sense as they tend to transact faster than new users implying better turnaround time for inventory.

New debates are emerging after ad-blockers started coming in-built in browsers or players like WhatsApp began flipping the encryption models so severely. Does that not change the models marketers were used to?


Thinking of users as individuals helps. Encryption is important because snooping around data is a different thing. Ads, when they are meaningless and intrusive, will drive resistance. Targeted ads are different from the ones aimed at all and sundry. We don’t believe in ads too much but more in engagement and analytics,

So that level of user-understanding can extend to wearables and bots too?

Yes, absolutely. The more places you have to figure out how users behave, the better. That kind of technology power can go across IoT spaces also


The app vs. website debate keeps taking new flavors every now and then. What do you assess here as an analytics player?

In my observation, the pendulum has swung back and forth a lot. From client-server days, to cloud’s advent; the industry has seen a lot of changes. Apps are going through a similar transformation. In 2009, Jobs said that apps will take over browsers. But the world has seen the pendulum moving. A user can think it this way – my phone is so busy already, why to clutter it with extra apps. People can find all the reasons to go back to websites. Developers can be seen leaning towards a hybrid app approach. For some products, apps can reflect a firm commitment from users and for other products where interactions don’t happen daily, a website still makes sense.

What’s distinct about what you offer to the market? How has the journey been so far?


We started in 2013 realising how the market is under-optimised. The real-time view and analytics power regarding user behavior was a strong proposition, specially in enhancing a marketer’s reach in a meaningful manner with an extra layer of intelligence. Indian consumers are evolving to the fast growing mobile internet ecosystem, and to add to that, ‘app only business model’ is adding further clutter for marketers that aim to drive personalized communication with the end consumer.

We have achieved good growth like, number of customers totalling 2200, 80 million per day notifications sent and the number of devices it is available across touching 750 million.  CleverTap is backed by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital. Our platform allows app analytics at incredible speeds, provides ready answers, and engage with users via push notifications, in-app messages, emails or web notifications. It helps figure out app and website usage pattern and allowing marketers engage with their customers more personally.

Can you explain the strategic intent behind partnerships like the ones with Mobincube, Apptuse, Mooncode etc?


They are good development platforms and one can go at a particular platform to create an app easily. They also need analytics for marketing purposes.

What intrigues you about the future of devices, users and technology?

Just a few years back, a phone was something to make phone calls and that was IT! Today, it has become such a personal device and there is almost no limit to what it can do, that it makes one wonder endlessly. With wearables coming in, the form factor is again changing, and you might not be surprised when someday soon it gets under the skin and becomes a part of ourselves, literally. What that means for how we think, engage and behave, will be hugely interesting.

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