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Do Analytics Matter Anymore in Mobile?

  |  March 2, 2012   |  Comments

Have marketers fallen prey to the "household" effect?

Do analytics even matter anymore in mobile?

Crazy question to ask, I know. Yet, it's one that we need to consider.

I will be the first person to agree that analytics are phenomenal, and critical for providing a retrospective on what has recently happened. And, in a traditional business, they can be key to predictive forecasting. But in today's mobile world, are the results still relevant?

Consider this true story:

I ran a mobile campaign at my digital publishing company recently. The analytics gave great insights about who clicked on, viewed, and even purchased my products. The details I got were fantastic and insightful, until I realized that there is a huge curveball that mobile accessibility threw our way when it comes to analytics: I call it the "householding" effect.

I know the product that was bought. I know the price point that the sales were made at. I know the time of day, day of week, and even the profile of the device the purchase was made from, and the information about the person who registered on that device. But, I don't know who in the household bought the product. And even worse, I am not so sure if the email address receiving my offers is the email in the household that influences the purchases.

Yikes! The "householding" effect that tablets have introduced into our world throws a real curveball into the traditional ways that we have leveraged an analytics platform. What can be done? How can the analytics providers of today help publishers understand their real sphere of influence?

Another example of this is a statistic we get at Zinio that shows what percentage of people are reading digital magazines in portrait versus landscape. Interestingly, both Zinio and the Daily see similar results - over 60 percent read in portrait. That said, I find myself asking if this statistic means anything because 95 percent of all magazines being produced digitally today are done so in portrait. So, the analysis tells me what people have to do today because of the form factor. But, if they had the choice, would they still read in portrait? Does this statistic mean anything?

Based on these challenges, I have reached out to the analytic gurus to get their thoughts. In my next column I will share those.

I have a few questions that I am looking forward to hearing back on:

  1. According to Nielsen, 70 percent of kids use a tablet in the household. How long will it take for analytics platforms to address the "household" effect?
  2. What tools are being considered to ensure marketing messages reach the right buyer in the household?
  3. What percentage of analysis we see today is reactive versus proactive?

In the meantime, I will keep using analytics to help inform how well our plans worked against targets. As far as creating innovative new programs, at this time you won't see me using analytics to innovate right now. But I am not giving up on analytics just yet.


Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition. 

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