Mobile in 2012 - Ignore at your own risk!

13 March 2012
Jabir Salam
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what's next in your mobile marketing strategy

If there is one thing the board always wants to know from their CMO after the CEO heard Mary Meeker (KPCB) talk about Top Mobile Internet Trends at the Google Think Mobile event, early last year, is generally how the group's mobile marketing strategy is measuring up and whether you've cracked the SoLoMo challenge yet.

Now, you engage users over Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, have built your mobile version of your website and are about to launch your mobile app but the question doesn't change. It's always - " what next? "
 
So... seriously, what's next? Okay before you answer that, let's take a step back and for those who are not so convinced about the mobile channel, answer  -

Why is mobile so important?

Well, if Mary Meeker's slides on the Top 10 Mobile Trends or the latest Econsultancy UK Mobile Statistics report haven't convinced you already, here's a simple fact -

Your mobile is always within arm's length unless you are in the shower.

In fact, it's what some of us actually reach for, just as we wake up to check the latest news over the BBC (Facebook newsfeed for some, Twitter for others but news, all the same). You use Evernote to make your shopping list besides your work notes, listen to Spotify while playing Angry Birds on the way to work, use Skype to talk to your friends/ colleagues overseas,  check in with Foursquare at that new restaurant for dinner, frame that whacky shot using Hipstamatic before tweeting and finally, set the alarm on your mobile for that all important meeting the next day. popular mobile apps
Hmmm, I'd like to think that you now agree that the mobile channel offers unbeatable reach to engage users as Mary has illustrated while comparing it to the other advertising media - Relative efficacy of mobile vs other advertising channels
Source: Mary Meeker presentation on Top 10 Mobile Trends at Think Mobile - Google, USA

Now, that we agree on the reach and efficacy of the mobile channel, I'm guessing you would like to know

What are the key challenges in optimising for mobile? 

1 - Native website vs mobile app

This is always the first question when the digital marketing team is tasked with optimising the company website for mobile but I'd advise that you don't fall prey to the argument. If you are a brand that is known to engage well, then your patrons expect a mobile app but if your mobile site doesn't provide a consistent experience across platforms, the patrons feel you let them down! And let down by the brand not by the technology as one of our clients found out. You tell me - if you felt let down by a brand, would you still ask your friends and family to check out that brand, if your friends were likely to get a poor experience?

 Surely, the savvy marketer in you doesn't need any convincing regarding the potential ROI from a referral to friends or family, right? Just in case, there is a small doubt, remember F-Commerce is around the corner and if it's half as successful as Facebook Photos, it's a few billion that is likely to be up for grabs!

2 - It's Mobile! 

There is the initial rush to deliver mobile but then, at times with the onus to just deliver, there arises the tendency to forget users expect a streamlined mobile experience and not just the ability to access the site. It's fatal to consider the mobile user to be the same as a desktop user, remember they have different needs; they access your site on their mobile for specific needs, generally triggered by a location based urge to either visit your store or understand price difference from an online enterprise such as Amazon or Zappos.

3 - Mobile Analytics

It's taken a while for some to realise the merits of a data driven culture and fortunately, at least now, no one debates its value over being driven by the HiPPO or a committee but yet, we are often found answering how mobile analytics differs over traditional web analytics. Here are a couple of factors as to how mobile analytics differs:

- Phone type: Touch/ Feature/ Smart

Unless you know what type of phone the user is on, its difficult to provide them with a decent experience when browsing through your site. Sure, its easy to mix up the touch and smartphone but for clarity, the iPhone is a Touch phone and the Blackberry models without a touch interface are the smartphones. Feature phones may not be the choice of the upper class but remember the feature phone is what the masses tend to be on so you cannot afford to ignore this high volume segment.

- Screen sizes

Okay, you know what type of phone the user has but unless you know how much real estate you have when you have the user's full attention, there is little you can do. So, in a nutshell, you need to know both the type of phone and what the device actually is in order to present them with the right experience.

- Javascript support

Phones differ in their ability to handle Javascript versions so you may not be able to get away with too many fancy AJAX calls if users demand an optimal mobile user experience. Check out how many retailers do not have a mobile site or app today and you will be surprised to see that there are some who aren't on the mobile bandwagon yet.

- Online/ Offline data collection support

We're all data junkies now and realise that there are times the user may be without internet connectivity but we still need to understand app usage so the smart developer always ensures that usage history is sent back when the user gets online next so that the marketing team is able to optimise accordingly. I'm proud to say that we're doing some cutting edge stuff with some of our clients in the Pharmaceuticals and Financial services sector on this front.

- Monetisation challenges

eBay CEO, John Donahoe shared that GMV (gross merchandise value) has triped YoY and was expected to hit $4 billion last year. Clearly, its not that people shy away from making high value transactions over their mobile but generally, marketers are wary when it comes to tracking solutions as sales need to be attributed to the right channels. Of course, by now there are some pretty nifty tools out there in the market and call tracking is just another option to measure revenue from the mobile stream. It's imperative that you evaluate how your choice of an analytics platform caters to all of the above and ensure that the integration points between various systems are clarified before you sign on the dotted line as you may otherwise, be looking at some pretty long implementation timeframes which will imply the target ROI be reduced to a dream.

Who are the mobile analytics vendors to consider?

mobile analytics vendors
I'd like to leave you with something to think about if you're in the market evaluating mobile analytics vendors. I'd suggest you check out Bango, Adobe SiteCatalyst, Flurry and Webtrends to see how they stack up against your needs because

1 - Bango and Flurry are right on the money as specialists in the mobile analytics space

2 - Adobe SiteCatalyst and Webtrends Analytics 10 offer detailed mobile analytics reports and are what I'd consider as comprehensive analytics platforms across web and mobile channels.

If you want to check out the range of options that Adobe SiteCatalyst provides for mobile reports, have a look at my previous post Did Google pay $12.5 billion for Motorola or more ZMOT insights where I've provided a screenshot of all the reporting options you can drill down on. Oh, the fact that you could plug in Adobe Social Analytics on top of the SiteCatalyst platform should also work as an added bonus to consider SiteCatalyst as you are otherwise looking at an additional social analytics monitoring service such as Radian6 for the social space.

Whoops, I almost forgot why Google Analytics was discarded from the list even though as I mentioned in my post on ZMOT, they are ramping up quite well (Google Analytics Premium hit the market a few weeks after the post so hey, I guess my foresight isn't too bad). It's discarded as it's unfortunately quite limited with respect to the mobile reports and leaves you wanting more.
Main image courtesy: Axiom Mobile Tech