Marketers Playing Catch-up on Mobile Analytics

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More than a fifth of traffic to websites now originates from a mobile device, and mobile marketing has emerged as one of the biggest growth industries on the digital landscape. Yet despite the overwhelming drive among consumers to cut the cord, new research from Forrester suggests that marketers are having a hard time measuring the effectiveness of their mobile advertising campaigns – largely due to a lack of clearly defined objectives and the metrics needed to measure them.

The report, titled, “Make the Most Of Analytics To Meet Your Mobile Objectives,” found that far too few companies are heeding that advice. Although most agree that data science is a critical component of a successful mobile marketing strategy, the survey of 228 marketing professionals found that barely half of mobile marketers use some sort of analytics solution – leading to a major shortfall in their ability to collect and decipher data and leverage it into strategic intelligence.

“Marketers are integrating mobile as part of their marketing mix, but too many have not defined the metrics they’ll use to measure the success of their mobile initiatives,” writes Thomas Husson, a principal analyst at Forrester and the author of the report. “Many lack the tools they need to deeply analyze traffic and behaviors to optimize their performance.”

Husson thinks the problem lies with the unsophisticated view of mobile technology held by marketers – most of whom still view the platform as a means of improving customer engagement and satisfaction rather than a proactive tool for gaining insight into customer behavior.

Even those brands that do see the power of mobile platforms are having a hard time leveraging the power. A related survey, “Turbulence for the CMO” – which was conducted in April by Accenture Interactive – found that marketing departments face a severe deficit of “digital orientation” – due primarily to inefficient business practices – and are struggling to gain insights across multiple channels and campaigns.

Analytics can help, but there is evidence that it is not being properly applied.

In a blog post in August, commentator Andrew Edwards, managing partner at marketing consultancy Efectyv Digital, noted many large brands still rely on legacy metrics and/or lack a unified approach to analytics governance. He recommends that brands choose a single measurement platform and create central digital measurement authority with responsibility over all analytics.

Wendy Blackburn, the executive vice president of Intouch Solutions – which handles marketing for large pharmaceutical firms – thinks many executives are still fearful of giving control of their campaigns over to numbers they don’t entirely trust. She thinks this is a mistake.

“The smartest marketers I have observed are those that aren’t afraid of the data, and they’re not afraid of failure,” she said. “They recognize that often marketing is an experiment – try something, optimize it, try again.”

If the experts agree on one thing, it’s that analytics is the engine that makes that process run.

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