Most Marketers Don't Have Clear Mobile Objectives

More than half of marketers (57%) don’t have defined mobile objectives, and only 38% use a mobile analytics tool to track performance, according to a new Forrester study. The report suggests that companies have to figure out what they want customers to do on their mobile sites and apps and then measure progress accordingly.

Based on a Forrester survey of 74 marketing executives in the second quarter, increasing customer engagement (53%), improving customer satisfaction (36%) and driving m-commerce sales (35%) were the top three goals for customers in the mobile arena. Another figure that stands out is the 26% who said they are using mobile “to appear innovative.” That sounds a bit like wearing glasses to appear intelligent.

About half (53%) of marketers have developed key performance indicators (KPIs) to track performance, but Forrester analyst and report author Thomas Husson noted that these KPIs aren’t necessarily aligned with their objectives. “That’s particularly true for the ever-elusive “engagement” goal, where too many marketers focus on traffic and app downloads rather than time spent,” he wrote.

Furthermore, while 30% consider increasing brand awareness a key objective, only 16% have defined it as a key metric for gauging success. The study found most marketers rely on traditional Web analytics tools to measure mobile Web activity (78%), while 46% do so for mobile apps. And when global brands focus on app analytics, “they tend to rely on multiple vendors, having more often than not developed apps with multiple agencies,” it states.

As a basic first step, Forrester suggested that businesses measure the share of traffic they are already getting from mobile, which is rarely incorporated into digital and business dashboards. That’s especially critical for businesses like retail or media, which are potentially already suffering from lower mobile conversion rates and CPMs. Many top sites are getting a third or more of their traffic from mobile now.

The report also recommends splitting traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, as behavior differs between the two devices. Through its Enhanced Campaigns tool, for example, Google groups tablet with desktop ad buys, apart from those on smartphones,  because it has found that tablet use more closely resembles that on PCs than handsets.

More important overall is deciding exactly what you want customers to do on your mobile properties and defining the metrics to go along with those goals. Boosting engagement might include actions like posting a photo, “liking” content or requesting information. For a bank, the aim might be to reduce costs via mobile, so users should be able to complete tasks easily on their phones.

In terms of appropriate metrics, Husson gives the example of a German luxury carmaker that wanted to build awareness through its mobile app. Toward that end, “it specifically and systematically monitors when people are requesting a test drive and the extent to which it converts people taking a test drive into car buyers,” he wrote.

He pointed out that various tools such as Net Promoter scores are available to track and analyze customer satisfaction with mobile services. Beyond the basics of mobile measurement, the report advises that brands use higher-level techniques like life-cycle analysis, optimizing engagement for certain audience segments, and using mobile analytics to get a better grip on cross-channel activity and attribution.

One fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand, for example, worked with 4Info to understand which target audiences saw its mobile ad and measured ROI across all screens based on incremental sales at the cash register. Asked about how they use mobile analytics, only 26% said they use them to feed their cross-channel attribution capability. 

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