GSMI has put together one of the better conferences focused around Mobile Strategy. Like it’s successful San Francisco conference earlier this year, the Boston event brought together some of the top players in the mobile marketing arena. Brands like Facebook, ESPN, AMEX, Paypal, Travelocity, JetBlue, Cars.com and agencies like Digitas, Ogilvy, Merkle, Trilibis, SessionM, the IAB and Nielsen sent their mobile thought leaders to share tips, tricks, success stories and case studies in an invaluable two day session at Boston’s Hilton Back Bay Hotel.
Interestingly enough, the topic that seemed to dominate all these sessions was the importance of having a solid measurement/analytics focus in place to guide strategy and inform the evolution of site/app user experience. So much so that Day One of the Conference got kicked off by Jonathan Gorski who is Manager of Digital Media Research and Analytics for ESPN. Jonathan spoke about how ESPN has the world’s top mobile website for sports, most of the top apps in the space and a range of other mobile programs for their fans. He also focused on how ESPN has embraced the tablet in a powerful way and the focus that they place on creating a consistent user experience from site to site and app to app. As Jonathan’s title would imply, ANALYTICS shapes everything this brand does in the mobile arena. In slide after slide, Jonathan showcased a rich array of analytics that help them understand their users engagement with content and evolve the user experience in a fashion that drives huge returns for the sports giant.
I was honored to follow Jonathan with a session entitled “Mobile Analytics: Why Measurement is Mission Critical for the Successful Mobile Marketer.” In this session, I offered a wealth of research on why mobile analytics is vital to driving success in this channel and I offered marketers a paradigm to help them understand better how to effectively measure and answer the ROI question posed by their CMO. I also shared some real world examples of how brands like BMW, Fandango, NY Times and Gatorade use mobile analytics to shape their mobile strategies and optimize the mobile experience for their users. Likewise, I highlighted why brands like Facebook and ESPN consider mobile measurement absolutely mission critical and why it’s hardly an accident that the two of them are the leading players in this arena today.
My session was then followed by Ted Verani of Trilibis Mobile who offered some terrific thoughts on how to successfully shape a mobile web site experience in a way that engages the mobile savvy consumer. Trilibis is one of the leading players in the space and has dome wonderful work for brands like Fandango, Ford. Univision and Match.com. Ted offered attendees some great thinking about how brands can drive higher engagement, increased conversions and greater ROI by thinking carefully about “mobile centric” design and using analytics to understand better what works and what doesn’t. Trilibis is very sophisticated in this fashion and that’s one of the reasons that their sites are winning awards and being nominated for honors like the Webbys. We’re also proud to have Trilibis as one of our key mobile partners and their success demonstrates that brands that take mobile analytics seriously are the ones that are shaping success in this channel.
There were also some fascinating talks given by Walt Doyle of Paypal, Bruce Hershey of Merkle and Marah Lidey of DoSomething.org. Mr. Doyle focused on the explosive growth that Paypal has witnessed in the mobile payments arena and the future of that space. Like ESPN’s Gorski and Mr Verani from Trilibis, Doyle is another sophisticated mobile marketer that is religious about measuring success and using analytics to guide Paypal’s rapid explosion into the mobile payments arena. Bruce Hershey’s session was packed full of sophisticated examples of how Merkle focuses intensely on data and analytics to shape their clients strategies for mobile and how they use analytics to guide resource ($$) prioritization. Hershey works with brands like Disney, TGI Fridays, Samsung and Wendy’s and a centerpiece of their approach to mobile is ANALYTICS. Ms. Lidey is Digital Engagement Manager for DoSomething.org, the largest organization focused on teens and social change. She formerly was with AMEX and MTV and currently oversees one of the largest SMS subscriber lists in the industry. She’s definitely a rising star and while a certain amount of her focus is on engaging teens where they are present (SMS) she’s also keenly focused on building a proper measurement strategy and optimizing their mobile site experience.
A session that I missed but heard rave reviews on was one put on by Lars Albright of SessionM. Mr. Albright was formerly with Apple’s iAd team and prior to that was a founder of Quattro Wireless. Lars is one of the leading thinkers in the space and someone well worth listening to. I’m told that his session focused on how mobile display ads have seen a fairly high incidence of click fraud or accidental user click thru. His session apparently focused on how to begin to address this problem and how it’s something that leaves marketers wondering if their display ad metrics (provided by the ad networks) are legitimate. I’m saddened that I missed that session because this is precisely the kind of thing we’re focused on helping marketers solve via our mobile tab building solution that we created together with Ensighten. From the sounds of this session, more and more brand advertisers will be looking to deploy independent tracking of their ad units going forward so that they truly understand what they should legitimately be paying for. That’s certainly great news to everyone here at Webtrends because we know that we can offer great returns to marketers who are interested in measuring mobile better.
There were a host of other great sessions but this should help summarize some of the best that came out of the first part of this conference, I wish to thank the organizers at GSMI for inviting me back to speak about a subject (mobile analytics) that this industry has become so keenly focused on. That gives me great hope that very soon I won’t have to be sharing the horror story of the 63% of marketers that still aren’t measuring or can’t tell their CMO the ROI from their mobile investments. The sooner those days come to an end … the better for all of us that are passionate about this industry.