Mobile Analytics Needs a Reboot
Many companies have started to increase their use of mobile optimization and behavioral targeting, but most firms are still not using their mobile measurement tools to gain a holistic view of the customer, Forrester Research concluded in a recent report.
In fact, for most firms, mobile analytics is dissociated from other channels, the research firm found, noting that only a third of companies with mobile programs actually use mobile analytics to augment their cross-channel insights or to gain contextual and predictive insights about customers.
Another problem is that nearly half of all firms use traditional Web analytics tools to deliver their mobile app insights, and 80 percent use these same tools for the mobile Web.
“Mobile is not as simple as Web engagement,” says James McCormick, a principal analyst at Forrester and one of the authors of the report. “Mobile actually represents multiple interaction types (such as browser, app, push messaging), delivering multiple types of engagement (such as marketing, product delivery, support) with a number of different architectural components to analyze (such as owned assets and third-party interaction points).”
Traditional Web analytics and mobile analytics do share some key performance indicators (KPIs), such as open rates, click-throughs, and even revenue, but mobile analytics must extend to contextual insights, real-time insights, and some mobile-specific KPIs, according to the report.
Mobile analytics, McCormick adds, should also look at marketing campaign success; revenue per user; upper-, mid-, and lower-funnel conversions; application performance; and individual behaviors.
“The list is huge,” McCormick says, “and that is without including the fact that other forms of digital engagement, such as email and social, take place through mobile.”
Forrester’s research also found that most firms with mobile Web and app analytics run them in-house, though only 35 percent of them feel they have the right skills in place to do so.
Still, given the limited internal skills and current levels of mobile analytics maturity, the report recommends that companies leverage service vendors wherever possible. It also suggests scaling support for business partners and leveraging insights across the firm, including in marketing, product management, sales, and the contact center.
Businesses in financial services, retail, travel and leisure, gaming, and online gambling are more mature in their adoption of mobile analytics, according to McCormick. This is because they “generate significant value via mobile, and hence, they have more skin in the game,” he says.
Companies in other industries can’t afford to do nothing,” McCormick points out. “Engagement via mobile continues to grow and—if it’s not already—will be the predominate platform of interaction with customers. Understanding customers in this medium is essential to the future survival of businesses.”
To help companies get ready for this mobile revolution, the report first recommends collecting mobile customer data, such as social media handles and email addresses, during mobile engagements, and then synchronizing that information with other customer records.
The report also recommends using mobile analytics to blend certain online and offline behaviors, such as when a customer uses a mobile phone to scan a two-dimensional barcode or QR code to research products in the store or to view push messaging based on location.
Another recommendation within the report is to extend mobile analytics beyond marketing. The same technology can be used to help app developers plan their next releases, help operations teams predict demands on support infrastructure, and help product management teams apply dynamic pricing models, it concluded.
Beyond that, McCormick suggests that companies determine which parts of their mobile programs require optimization and invest accordingly. Then they need to bring mobile analytics into a larger, more strategic digital analytics practice that focuses on the customer, not the channel, and coordinate the procurement of mobile data, analytics, and optimization technologies and skills.