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How Accurate Analytics Drives Mobile Marketing Success

by Vanessa Daly, Marketing Communications Manager, http://www.bango.comThursday, December 23, 2010

It should come as no surprise that when evaluating mobile campaign performance, accurate and independent measurement is the key to success. Last year Bango surveyed leading brands to reveal data integrity as one of the three ‘most wanted’ if mobile is to capture a higher share of on-line marketing budgets.

Yet one year on and a number of brands remain confused about the role mobile analytics plays in the success of their mobile campaigns. Many continue to use the same legacy PC tools for their mobile campaign analytics, unaware of the inaccuracies that result. It is, say the experts, the Achilles heel in the collection of data that businesses rely on to determine mobile campaign effectiveness.

The importance of analytics for measuring mobile campaigns

Without doubt, measurement is a fundamental part of any type of marketing and this is no exception for mobile. Capturing the right data and analyzing the results to understand the effectiveness of marketing investment is extremely important. Firstly it’s essential in identifying what works and how to improve moving forward. Secondly it enables you to justify spend and provide hard evidence of success for reinvestment.

But what insights does mobile analytics deliver when measuring mobile marketing?
When running mobile campaigns measurement and analysis provide insight into what’s working. You can identify patterns of activity or common themes to measure against your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for example. You can then use these insights to identify key target areas for your mobile campaigns - these could be based on a wide range of variables including countries, regions, device types, platforms, time of day, advertising platforms, creatives - the list goes on. The important thing is to identify what variables deliver the highest conversion rates based on your KPIs - then action these insights. Some of the variables are:

Users – It is important to understand which users are interacting with your campaign and taking the desired actions. Can you identify a pattern based on your users’ country, device type or platform?

Timings - Look at the timings of your campaign and identify patterns. Understand what time of the day/evening drives the highest conversion rate.

Advertising - Identify which advertising campaigns deliver the best results and reinvest appropriately. It’s vital to get an independent comparison across all the advertising channels.

Measure carefully…

The biggest mistake made by companies when measuring mobile campaigns is not seeing the whole picture. By not getting a complete view of their mobile campaigns some companies assume wrongly the type of mobile devices their customers are using and many assume, for example, that most of their customers have smartphones. It is important to be able to see what your visitors are doing across all mobile devices. Although the smartphone market is growing, currently more people have feature phones than smartphones. This potentially represents a huge part of your traffic not being measured and can significantly affect your mobile campaign results and analysis.

Measuring unique visitors and real users

The ability to identify unique visitors and obtain data from real users is key for providing the most accurate view of mobile campaigns performance. Firstly visitor identification is the fundamental metric on which all other analytical data is based, including visits, conversion rates and ROI. Secondly, when using a mobile analytics tool it is important to ensure that spiders from search engines are not counted as real traffic.  Spiders from search engines will artificially increase the traffic perceived to be coming from mobile campaigns.  They are not real users and give an inaccurate view of the results and how to benchmark in the future.

Using the right tools

Mobile specific analytics tools are essential to get the best view of mobile marketing campaigns.  Businesses need to watch out because many tools are not mobile specific, they are focused on measuring PC traffic which affects their accuracy on mobile.
These traditional PC measurement tools will limit the view of the performance of mobile marketing campaigns, meaning businesses cannot accurate measure and effectively optimize their campaigns.  Many of these legacy PC analytics tools still rely on cookies for user identification, which means unique visitor counts aren’t as accurate.

Erin (Mack) McKelvey, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Millennial Media gives her view on this:
“At Millennial Media, we utilize reach, targeting, and engagement metrics to ensure a strong ROI for our clients based on their initial campaign goals.  We firmly believe there is an inherent danger to using PC web analytics in mobile, which is a vastly different advertising medium.”

How to analyze your data

Bango recently talked to Brian Morel, Strategic Account Director for Mobile at Yahoo! to get his view on what he thought was the data of most value when analyzing mobile campaigns. Here’s what he said:

“Combining all kinds of data provides the broadest view of your mobile campaigns and gives you the best insight. Measure the effectiveness of your advertising by looking at clicks, impressions and conversions and understand which creatives and marketing channels perform. Identify your consumers to understand where they come from, their carrier and what device they’re using. Understand discrete actions and consumer behavior eg how many consumers input their email address, how many looked at a video or trailer, which landing page did they get to, how quickly did they move through your site and where to. Get as much information as you can for the best analysis.

The ability to uniquely identify all users is essential and provides the foundation for success. It gives you an accurate picture of individuals as they interact with your campaigns including clicks, visits, conversions, actions, behavior and much more.

Visibility of pre-click and post-click information together is also extremely valuable. It provides an accurate view of how an advertising campaign is performing, linking advertising exposure levels to your KPIs.

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