How Mature Are Your Mobile Programs?

Pop Quiz: Mobile marketing is…

  1. highly measurable
  2. highly data siloed
  3. highly confusing
  4. all of the above

The correct answer to this question depends upon how mature you are as a mobile marketer.   

For too many, the answer is “c” -- highly confusing. While there is plenty of innovation taking place in mobile marketing, much of it is being driven by a “trial and experimentation” mindset rather than a rigorous data-driven approach.   

When polled by eMarketer, 63% of mobile marketers admit they either aren’t measuring or lack insights on how best to do this. Likewise, in a recent Aberdeen Research study on mobile marketing, most respondents identified enterprise-level marketing objectives as the barometer by which their mobile programs are measured. That is not mobile marketing maturity.

Mobile marketing maturity is recognizing that with the increased capability of smartphones and the huge explosion of Internet-enabled tablets, marketers can reach consumers in new and exciting ways. The key to success is measurement.   

It is also recognizing that mobile is perhaps the most measurable of all digital marketing platforms, and yet this data exists in many distinct silos. Examples of these silos would include SMS, QR codes, mobile Web, applications, mobile search, and mobile display.

To understand who this customer is and how to effectively market to them, this data must be synthesized together with other key digital data streams -- email, social, WWW, display -- to optimize customer engagement and drive increased program ROI.

When Web analytics began to grow in importance, marketers imagined its purpose as measuring how, when, and why consumers arrived to a Web page through a computer. Few anticipated the enormous adoption of mobile devices and their Web capabilities. Nor did they envision the numerous ways that mobile marketers could engage with the consumer.   

As a result, the need to develop a mobile plan to measure marketing activity has only become more urgent and complex, given the highly siloed nature of mobile data.  The challenge that most analytics professionals and marketers face is that they must rethink the mechanics of how data is collected and assimilated. They must also not aggravate the problem by creating even more distinct silos where this data remains largely invaluable, given its isolated nature.

Through a mature, analytics driven-approach to mobile, your business can better understand which of these tactics makes the most sense to reach a given consumer segment, how best to engage that consumer, what’s driving traffic to these programs and most important of all -- the ROI for mobile.     

Here are the top five tips that will help get you started on your path to mobile measurement maturity: 

  • Understand your existing WWW site traffic that stems from mobile devices. Most good Web analytics tools offer an ability to tell you the specific types of mobile devices that are engaging with your existing site properties.  Be careful, however -- not all analytics solutions are created equal.

  • Embrace analytics tools for mobile: JavaScript and browser cookies enable an analytics solution to track Web site visits and metrics. But not every mobile device accepts cookies or has JavaScript capability, making data collection accuracy from mobile devices difficult to establish. In fact, the vast majority of mobile devices are not JavaScript capable, forcing marketers to look at pixel-based tracking technologies. Moreover, many phones permit cookie deletion, which limits the accuracy of analytics solutions. Again, ask hard questions here and determine just how capable your mobile analytics tool is.

  • Make sure your mobile analytics tool isn’t creating additional data silos. Some of the mobile analytics solutions in the market are merely capable of measuring a given mobile channel (mWeb, SMS, apps, QR, etc.) and this only ensures that you’ll have yet another silo that needs to be broken down later. Good tools offer mWeb, apps and QR capability all integrated together and feature OPEN API data collection schemes to corral any other data that is vital to your understanding of this channel.

  • Find key conversion events in your application or on your mobile site and assign values against those so ROI can be determined.   
    Deciding what these events are worth and setting up solutions that are designed to effectively track ROI can be complex. Ensure that your solution provider has support capabilities to help your team begin to track these events.
  • Insist that your agency or mobile services provider undertake a mobile segmentation exercise.   
    There is a wealth of data that can be overlaid on your existing segmentation to better understand the kind of devices that your target segments carry and their associated mobile behavior.  Providers like comScore, Nielsen, and Ground Truth can provide this data. It can play a powerful role in helping you understand which specific tactics/technologies (SMS, apps, mWeb, QR, and video) will be most effective in helping you effectively target the segments you want.
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