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TL;DR:

Definition:

The collection and analyzing of mobile activity, including installation and use of mobile apps, as well as mobile web browsing activity is known as mobile analytics.

Guiding Principles:

  • When tracking app activity, the person responsible for analytics must know the app inside and out. Which steps are most critical to conversions or result in the desired outcome, etc.
  • Back-end metrics are just as important as front-end, including server response time, the number of HTTP requests, and more.
  • Have a system for handling app crash reports. Make sure the team handling these reports is in constant communication with the analytics team.
  • Always be testing. Test everything: UX, pay models, copy, etc.
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t aim too high right away, start small and test your way to the numbers you want.

Introduction

You don’t have to be a fashionista to know what the must-have accessory is these days - mobile devices. In fact, 79% of smartphone users have their phone with them or close by almost every waking hour.

For marketers, it shouldn’t be difficult to see that mobile is really worth our attention. Mobile-friendly websites, mobile apps, proximity marketing, SMS marketing, and many more marketing techniques are effective ways of reaching your audience via their mobile devices.

Successful marketers are making the most of society’s reliance on mobile by delivering their messages straight to their audience’s hands. Even retailers are getting in on the action:

Since mobile marketing is still relatively new to the marketing sphere, the various analytics tools available are still a mystery to some. In fact, 18% of marketers think mobile analytics will be the biggest digital marketing trend their company faces in 2017. To help you out, we’ve made this quick guide to mastering mobile analytics in 2017.

What is mobile analytics anyway?

There’s no single, agreed upon definition of mobile analytics. Some use the term to refer to the collection of data related to any activity on a mobile device, i.e. mobile apps and mobile web browsers. Others see it as only pertaining to user activity on mobile apps, opting to lump mobile website activity in with web analytics.

Other sources go one step further and differentiate between mobile analytics and mobile web analytics, but that’s an explanation for another time.

Since not all businesses have a mobile app, we’ll keep things relatively simple in this article and talk about all mobile activity under the umbrella of mobile analytics.

So, the activity of users accessing your website through a mobile browser or installing and using your mobile app is collected and analyzed by mobile analytics software. This data is tracked using the unique device identifier (UDID) of each mobile device. Metrics, such as the number of users, length of sessions, app downloads, and time spent in-app give insight into how your audience engages with your business through their mobile devices.

This insight can then be used to enable the many popular mobile marketing tactics:

Why mobile analytics can make you a better marketer

More and more software providers are coming up with analytics tools designed for mobile marketers and app developers; There are a whopping 115 mobile & web analytics companies listed on Scott Brinker’s 2017 martech landscape. It’s a lucrative field for a reason; because it’s a tool that provides great value for businesses. Here are a handful of the ways it provides value:

Everyone’s going mobile

Mobile matters to your business because the majority of your audience have a mobile device and use it to consume branded content. A total 77% of Americans own a smartphone, and even more – 95% – own a cell phone. Chances are your audience has gone mobile along with almost everyone else, so it’s important to tap into this market by measuring the behavior of your mobile audience.

Accurate data

Mobile analytics has the capability of providing more accurate data than web analytics. Generally speaking, mobile devices are personal devices. 85% of Millennials alone have a mobile device, generally for personal use. Conversely, a laptop or desktop computer may be shared amongst a family or open to public use, in a library for example. So, analytics collected from mobile devices are more likely to be reporting on an individual’s usage of your website or app.

Recent research from the Pew Research Center drives this point home.

Today, 78% of adults under 30 own a laptop or desktop computer, compared with 88% who did so in 2010. Smartphone ownership, on the other hand, has surpassed both of these devices, with 86% of 18- to 29-year-olds owning one in 2015. In other words, as smartphones came to prominence several years ago, younger owners perhaps did not feel as much of a need as their older peers to have other kinds of devices.

Location data is also more accurate with mobile analytics, versus traditional web analytics. While web analytics are roughly 50-80% accurate in a 1-2 kilometer range using IP addresses, mobile analytics can track location to within 10 meters using GPS.

Know your audience’s devices

Looking at audience engagement specifically from mobile devices, as opposed to lumping web and mobile audiences all together, is a good start. However, going deeper than this can have a lot of benefits, even when talking about basic demographic information.

Mobile analytics allow you to see what devices your audience is using and what operating system version they have installed on their device. This can help you tailor your app, website, or marketing messages to their devices for better performance and delivery.

Measure ROI

With mobile analytics, you can track the ROI from your mobile marketing campaigns or mobile app. This is made possible by many mobile analytics software's ability to track in-app behavior of users, what actions they took leading to your site or to a purchase, and more. This allows you to prove the value of your mobile campaigns and also come up with strategies for improving your ROI by analyzing what is working well and what isn’t.

How to get results from your mobile analytics

Analytics can be a complicated part of marketing, especially if you don’t have a data-driven mind. Selecting the right tools, understanding your mobile strategy, and getting some training or advice on your analytics tools can help you get off to the right start. Follow these steps to get the best results out of your mobile analytics:

Know what you want to measure

Do you require mobile analytics to track the performance of your mobile app, mobile website, or for specific mobile marketing activities or mobile advertising? Your answer to this question will determine what kind of analytics tool will suit you best. Certain tools are designed specifically for mobile app analytics, whereas others cover a range of activities. Make sure the solution you choose has the necessary features for tracking the activities and metrics that matter to you.

Create a dashboard

Analytics tools can collect data on a lot of different aspects of your mobile app or website, and not all of this information will be relevant to what you want to achieve. If you’re faced with all of this data every time you check in on your analytics, you’ll find yourself confused and overwhelmed.

Most tools allow you to create your own custom dashboard so that all of the information you need is right where you want it. This makes your analytics more accessible and easier to understand.

Set up events

Another key way of keeping track of the metrics that are important to you is setting up events. You can create custom events to track the objectives of your own mobile strategy. So, think about what you want your app users or mobile website visitors to do. This could be installing your app, making an in-app purchase, filling out a form on your website, etc.

If you need more ideas, this article is a great resource on some of the most common types of events that businesses host. 

Strategies for using mobile analytics

Mobile analytics might solve a lot of your problems, but it's not as easy as pushing a button. There are numerous best practices and strategies that come into play. With 54% of tech-related projects failing due to poor management and planning, you want to make sure you're prepared. Here are some of the top strategies for using mobile analytics. 

Go beyond number of downloads

The number of users that download your app is an important figure to track, but it does not tell the full story. A supposed 25% of apps are only used once before being uninstalled or simply left to gather dust.

Your mobile app analytics need to go deeper than this to measure user engagement. The number of active users your app has, the length and frequency of sessions, and the retention rate of your app are just a few valuable metrics you can track.

Pay attention to operational analytics

It’s not just about how your audience behaves, but also about how the technology does. If your app is constantly crashing or your mobile site has a slow load time, your engagement can suffer. 57% of users surveyed said they wouldn’t recommend a website to another person if they had a bad mobile site. Your mobile analytics can help you to identify and resolve operational problems such as these.

Use your data

This one’s not just about using the data you collect from your mobile analytics to improve your mobile marketing, but also integrating this with the rest of your business data. For example, customer data and sales data can combine with your mobile analytics to help inform optimization.

Fun fact: Proper data integration can lead to a 30-40% increase in the prediction of customer satisfaction and churn.

Personalize

Mobile is a very personal medium; we carry them around with us at almost all times and keep them secure with passcodes and fingerprint recognition. You can use all of the data at your fingertips to deliver a truly personalized mobile experience for your audience. Whether this is through an app, your website, or other mobile marketing campaigns, provide users with content that is relevant to them.

With 40% of those surveyed saying they’re more likely to buy from retailers who personalize across all channels, you can’t afford to miss out.

Make the most of the medium

When you think of mobile as this personal and location-specific medium, you can start to see how to read your analytics and cater to your mobile audience. Pay attention to location data in your mobile analytics to see where people are most often accessing your app or website. This can help you to cater your marketing or advertising to users’ specific locations.

Fun fact: 44% of consumers want coupons based on their location.

The best pieces of advice from mobile analytics experts

“Because mobile platforms have their own types of information to track, they require different analytics metrics. The most obvious example is location data, which has huge implications for the success of apps and mobile websites. A traditional website analytics solution wouldn’t do the job, as it fails to account for this distinctive feature of mobile.”

Jonathan Crowl, Marketing Writer at Skyword Inc.

Web, mobile and mobile web analytics: What’s the difference?

Mobile Business Insights

“Marketers need to be educated on how mobile behavior is measured. No longer can we rely on page visits; we’ve got user sessions. We have to break out mobile Web usage versus mobile app usage. Add to the equation a diverse set of screens—smartphones, tablets, wearables—and you can see there are more device- and action-oriented metrics to consider.”

Arun Bhattacharya, Product Marketing Director, Analytics Cloud at Adobe

Do You Need Mobile App Analytics, Web Analytics, or Both?

Adobe

“With mobile usage at an all-time high in recent years, the information that can be acquired by analyzing the stream of data coming through it is priceless for businesses. Any business that is relegating mobile analytics to the background is likely to compromise on its power to compete.”

Radhika Mohan Singh Roy, Agile CRM

The More You Know: Mobile Analytics for a Competitive Edge

Agile CRM

“Since mobile visitors behave and think differently than desktop ones, it’s crucial for us as marketers to identify these behaviors and the mobile state of mind to create a better experience that’s dedicated to converting them.”

Talia Wolf, Founder & Chief Optimizer at Getuplift

Top 5 Mobile Tests to Try This Month

Wordstream

 

Conclusion

Your business is really missing out in this day-and-age if it is ignoring a device that consumers hold so closely. Even if you can’t afford to build your own app at this point, your mobile website should be an important source of traffic and leads. Make sure you’re not just letting it run on its own and hoping for the best.

Whether for an app, website, or other marketing campaign, mobile analytics is a lucrative tool for measuring and optimizing your mobile efforts. Arming yourself with this data can help you to prove and improve the ROI of your mobile marketing and drive growth through this platform.

Do some research into the best mobile analytics solution for your business and start measuring your brand’s mobile activity. Optimize your mobile offerings effectively and your brand could be one of the reasons that Americans check their phones 8 billion times a day!