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The rise of Mobile…Analytics?

Whether or not you’re aware of it, from the moment a customer lands on your mobile website, they are judging your brand. And it is about more than what your mobile website looks like – today, it is about what it can offer. A broken experience on mobile, a page that doesn’t load or images that don’t render, will immediately earn your brand minus points. No matter how rich the site’s content, without an optimized and efficient mobile web experience, your customers will slip through your fingers and you will earn demerits in the process.

Consumers are by no means getting more patient. If anything, the continuous improvements in technology and mobile capabilities have made them less so. A recent study into consumer mobile behaviour by Netbiscuits found that 76% of consumers worldwide would leave a mobile website if it was not optimized for their device. The stakes are high and companies need to act now in order to be able to provide customers with the experience they demand.

From the start of the website journey to ongoing customer lifetime activity, understanding and acting upon mobile context can enable companies to build deeper relationships and deliver more targeted customer experiences. Because consumer adoption of the mobile web has been so fast and unrelenting, many companies do use online analytics tools to attempt to track behaviour and measure their mobile marketing, mobile advertising and mobile web campaigns. However, mobile analytics is a world away from traditional desktop methods, as it is infinitely more complicated. With factors such as screen size, resolution, operating systems and browsers, (and the infinite combinations of these) to consider, it becomes clear that mobile web analytics is a completely different process.

That said, it is a completely necessary process. Consumers today are mobile, and brands need to be too. Brand marketers have always played catch-up with consumers to find the best way to create compelling experiences for them. Analytics is one of the best ways to achieve this, because it gives brands the ability to measure consumer interaction with brands mobile websites.

Why is it so different from the desktop equivalent?

The concepts of desktop and mobile analytics seem to share a lot in common at first glance, but key to understanding the differences is understanding the contrast between desktop and mobile usage patterns. Firstly, mobile is far more ubiquitous than any other communication technology. It can be used anywhere, at any time, whether on the move or at home. Secondly, mobile users are often more task-focused than their desktop counterparts. Microsoft Advertising reports that 69% of smartphone users conduct a search and take action within an hour. This suggests that time spent on mobile requires more contextual information as it is invariably more action-oriented and much quicker. Mobile has also several different technological and design features to take into account such as touch-screen, pinch-to-zoom and swipe functions that make a contextual and finely-tuned user experience of considerable importance.

Context and customers

The most important analytics information that mobile phones provide is user context.  User context can be based on static parameters such as screen size, or dynamic paramters such as geo-location or bandwidth. A mobile user searching for a brand online will have more use for directions to their nearest store than the number for a store in a separate city or country. A user on low bandwidth should not be sent large image files to download as it will slow them down, and a user on a high-spec and advanced device should be sent the best rich content the website can offer, for the prime experience. This insight is extremely valuable – and it can be the difference between a satisfied and dissatisfied customer.

Increasingly, brands are realizing that analytics opens up a world of contextual possibilities. By understanding what really matters to customers at an individual level, they can determine the optimal mobile content to serve, and how to serve it. In this way, they can achieve better results for their mobile web strategy and a more satisfied user base. The end-goal in the user mobile web strategy then goes beyond page views and becomes measuring customer engagement as well.

That said, implementing a successful mobile strategy is not easy. With such vast amounts of data to measure and analyse and growing fragmentation, brands can feel unclear and uncertain about how to get the best out of their mobile strategy. Ironically however, it is precisely this level of ‘big data’ about consumer behaviours and desires that makes it such an easy channel to garner success – provided you have the right tools for it. The real beauty of mobile web analytics is that it can help brands design, test, tweak, and perfect their interactions with customers. The level of data available to companies today, and their ability to refine their mobile communications to each individual, is unprecedented. Mobile set the stage a long time ago – now the data needs to be taken to the next level.