Despite words to the contrary, many brands are jumping into the mobile world without any real strategy behind what they’re doing and why.
According to new research from mobile consumer research company Kontagent and Econsultancy, more than two-thirds of companies do not have a defined way of determining whether the mobile experiences they’re creating for consumers are effective, and only a third are tracking the performance of their apps.
“Mobile is a different animal than the traditional, PC-based Web,” Dan Kimball, chief marketing officer for Kontagent, tells Marketing Daily. “It’s a whole new ball game. What [brands] are having trouble understanding is mobile is not just sitting at a PC. It’s on the go. It’s always on.”
The result, Kimball says, is that many companies have developed mobile marketing programs because they know they need to have one, rather than having stopped and thought about what they want to achieve with those programs. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents in the survey of more than 1,000 executives from both the client and agency practices said they planned to increase spending on mobile programs this year, while also acknowledging that they aren’t sure how to integrate the data they’re collecting into experiences that keep users coming back. (Only one-quarter of brands had a well-defined mobile strategy, according to the survey, and fewer than half have planned beyond the current calendar year.)
“It kind of reminds me of the Internet in 1997 and 1998 and social three or four years ago,” Kimball says. “There’s no strategy behind it.”
There are, however, some companies who are doing things differently. Companies that live primarily on the mobile platform (Kimball calls them “mobile-first companies”) such as Uber or some gaming companies have better developed long-term mobile strategies than other companies (a.k.a. “the mobile mainstream”). Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the mobile-first companies have tactics tied to a strategy, compared with a quarter of mobile mainstream companies, according to the research.
“They know the mobile platforms well,” Kimball says of the mobile-first companies. “They recognize the engagement and experience is primary and then you can push other things on [consumers].”
Having a strategy and understanding what metrics to measure are extremely important when it comes to deciding whether to develop a stand-alone app or to simply optimize one’s website to be used on mobile. They key, Kimball says, may lie in how one views the mobile platform overall. The mobile web is more transactional, but an app will help build loyalty through a differentiated experience.
“For brands that want to build loyalty and have a differentiated experience, an app is great,” Kimball says. “For brands who are trying to experiment with mobile, don’t rush into an app. You’re only going to mess it up.”