We are very excited to have recently launched Webtrends Mobile Analytics , to help our clients understand and increase the value they are getting out of their mobile sites and apps. In the course of bringing this to market, I have had an opportunity to speak with quite a few businesses about their plans for mobile and their measurement needs. In these conversations I started to see a common theme, that I am now seeing more public discussion about, that threatens to impede the return many brands hope to get out of their mobile channel.
Given the amount of focus and increasing share of budgets being spent in mobile, I am surprised at how little strategy appears to sit behind these investments. In a race to catch up with consumer demand or achieve a competitive advantage, many businesses still haven’t figured out how this emerging channel fits in with the rest of their digital channels. This is reminiscent of the challenges companies faced with their initial entry into the web 10-15 years ago. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to demonstrate and optimize the performance of any channel when it lacks clearly defined goals. Relying on the number of downloads to demonstrate success of an app won’t stand up to the coming demands of the business to show and improve the channel’s return on investment.
During a talk about mobile analytics at our recent customer conference , I had an opportunity to take an impromptu poll of the audience of 100+ attendees of digital marketing professionals, online analysts, and other representatives of some pretty impressive global brands.
Question: by a show of hands, how many of you leverage at least one type of mobile touch point to engage with your customers and prospects ( e.g. App, WAP site, SMS)?
Response: Nearly 2/3 of the room raised their hand. Having asked the same question in London, near the end of 2009, with less than 50% of the room responding yes, I was pleasantly surprised. The growth rate of my small sample group was mirroring the trends of the marketplace.
Follow-up Question: How many of you have a comprehensive mobile strategy in place driving these tactics?
Response: Two hands popped proudly up, and one or two followed meekly.
These leading questions were intended to tee up the importance of connecting a measurement strategy back to the mobile channel’s raison d’être, its business objectives. A very difficult task when these goals aren’t well defined. It was very clear that many of these very savvy businesses are going to struggle when (not if!) asked to demonstrate the value of their mobile channel.
Don’t let vital lessons that took years to learn in the web, risk being neglected as the mobile channel grows in importance. You should be thinking about how to measure your mobile channel’s effectiveness now in the context of all your digital channels. Let’s make the act of retro fitting strategy to our investments an artifact of the dotcom era.
I am not saying that you should pull the handbrake on your current mobile efforts until you have a fully fleshed out strategy, just as I am not recommending that you wait to measure anything until you have all of this buttoned up. Start simple and start early, just don’t get stuck in the crawl stage for too long.
What are some of the challenges you are facing in defining a mobile strategy and laying out a plan to measure your success?