Internet Marketing - Mobile Intelligence versus Mobile Hype

By Gregory Smyth

There is a lot of hype about the potential of the mobile web at the moment. However, hype doesn't always tell the whole story - as companies that lost out in the early noughties dotcom crash will attest. Making internet marketing spending decisions based on sound business data, not hype, is more crucial now than ever. We check out how this is achieved using web analytics in a mobile context.

There has been a lot of hype lately about the potential of mobile websites. Mobile device usage is increasing at a rate of knots, and given the fact that many standard websites are all but unusable on a handheld device, a massive push exists in website design to build for the mobile visitor. However, it is just as critical to track and monitor visitor behavior and ROI in a mobile context as on standard websites. Today we check out how web analytics for mobile websites are allowing businesses to achieve the same level of insight into the cost effectiveness of mobile initiatives as they currently enjoy on their main website.

Why utilize mobile platforms?
Mobile device adoption isn't just something that 'everybody is talking about'. The statistics bear out the idea that mobile is steadily (and fairly rapidly) taking over the way we use the internet. For example:

  • In 2009, 3.5 billion apps were downloaded. This figure is expected to hit 16.2 billion in 2013
  • By 2014, it is expected that around 2/3 of all devices will be able to access the internet, and around a third will be focused on providing internet access.
  • Spending on mobile internet marketing and search engine optimization channels is expected to reach US$1.3 billion by 2014, in the US alone. Additionally, around a third of marketers have no clear website analytics to measure the adoption of their mobile technologies, the way users interact with it, and their return on investment.

Mobile web analytics package performance
You can expect that mobile web analytics solutions will have all the relevant features from standard web analytics packages, as well as a few additional features for mobile-specific usage. One prominent extra data point is the type of mobile device that your visitors use; this is essential information for your website design team to help overcome errors and bugs. Another extra facet is data on usage of your mobile applications - an 'App Store' may tell you how many times your app is downloaded, but statistics show that a substantial percentage of apps downloaded are never actually launched. For those with a standard website, your mobile web analytics solutions will let you compare mobile data and standard data side by side - although you'll need to be mindful of the fact that there are different baselines and different expectations for mobile performance compared to ordinary websites.

What to look for in a mobile web analytics solution
Any vendor or software package you choose for mobile web analytics should meet the following criteria:

  • Accurate data. This is the basis of value in a website analytics package, and is essential to making truly informed decisions about your mobile internet marketing and search engine optimization strategies.
  • Able to be integrated with data from other channels. Your website analytics data will have the most value when seen in a business-wide context, so look for a package that integrates with your other digital marketing channels.
  • Wide range of reportable actions. Every visitor action that has implications for your business should have a metric within the software.
  • Exportable data. Ensuring that data is exportable means that insight can be shared across the organization.