What a difference a year makes. Last year I attended the fist user conference for mobile metrics firm Kontagent in San Francisco. That year, few enterprise attendees who I spoke with knew what the objective, or purpose, of their mobile application business was, and most said they were doing so because their "competition was" doing so.
What a difference a year has made as the mobile pace has exploded. Flurry, another mobile metrics company that provides app developers with tools to measure how people are using their apps, released data on "the state of the apposphere" at last week's MobileBeat 2013 conference in San Francisco.
According to Flurry's chief product officer Prashant Fuloria, the company now tracks 300,000 apps from 100,000 developers worldwide, an order of magnitude greater than just a year earlier.
And can you imagine that those apps are on over a billion devices, collecting data on more than three billion app "events" each day, noted Fuloria. The company tracks basic events such as a customer "onboarding" like starting up an app or making a purchase within the app, and on what device. The company now collects data on 1.3 trillion different in-app events each month. The growth in app events that Flurry tracks matches the explosive growth across the board in mobile app usage.
"We're seeing a tremendous disruption by mobile" as huge numbers of people move from the traditional web to mobile devices, Fuloria said. That's being driven by the large number of mobile devices around the world - and there's plenty of room for more growth.
And mobile has only just begun for apps, like those early days of the web.
Once people started to understand that there were business reasons, beyond "information," and once they realized that they had analytics tools at their disposal to optimize site purpose, (web) digital commerce took off. But let's drill down into some interesting mobile uses, as we're truly in the middle of a revolution.
At the Kontagent conference, I spoke with dozens of attendees who not only knew what their mobile application objectives/purpose was, but were already in the process of optimizing those goals using analytics. A few attendees were using cross-channel data, and marrying the information to point-of-sale (POS) information, encouraging coupon capture from in-store displays, and coupling with profile data on the customer, stored in company databases (all opt-in).
Others were talking about using the phone's signals, and mashing up GPS, geo-location, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) with wireless location and other web services like local weather, to best target the customer with offers most likely to convert over time.
According to a senior VP of mobile at Zions Bank, the bank has decreased support cost from $3 per person to $0.03 per person by deflecting costs from the call centers to an easy-to-use mobile app in only a few years' time. The bank executive noted the number one reason that people will leave a financial services institution is "the lack of a mobile relationship," and said that the bank has quickly evolved from "banking only" access to account information to utilizing all kinds of mobile applications and services, including experimenting with augmented reality-based applications. The bank tracked downloads and user engagement, like time spent and device types, and learned that its mobile customers are $100 to $800 more profitable than non-mobile customers. Its goal: more mobile customers, and retention of those the bank has with great user engagement (that's where augmented reality (AR) may come in).
Several attendees were optimizing their applications based on the use of extensive A/B testing when, like the bank, longer engagement is considered better. Some attendees noted that long duration is not always a goal, and a quick "share" conversion is desired.
A navigation company measured the conversion by the obvious - the user reaching her destination - and analytics allowed them to capture user behaviors with their application. More frequent app engagement and more destination conversions are better according to the executives I met. They spent time testing and presenting users with multiple user interface/user experience (UI/UX) choices to optimize their behavior over time.
I met one consumer-packaged goods (CPG) company attendee who said his company is able to identify the "value" of their mobile customers, from a lifetime value (LTV) perspective, across channels (online and offline), and have pegged that value at $800 per individual. Until they started tracking their mobile applications, and measuring the value, they had no idea. Like the bank, they are developing many more mobile apps. Their goal is to get customers to sign up for the mobile application in order to belong to a community, receive product discounts, and encourage loyalty both in stores and online. They were surprised by the results, and are moving more marketing dollars into the mobile channel.
The marketing profession is always changing and we know that the brand-only-style era of advertising that favored creativity over analytics is gone. Some see this move from creativity to data-driven actionability as two distinct and separate disciplines. I don't, and they're not. It's critical that we learn what these attendees had in common - the new marketing Four Ps.
Remember the old marketing Four Ps - product, promotion, place, and price? Well, there's a new set of Four Ps today, driven by mobile - people, process, purpose, and platform.
I can't wait to see what happens at next year's event!
Image on home page via Shutterstock.
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Rand Schulman is a pioneer in digital marketing and new media. He was founder and CEO of one of the first SaaS-based web-analytics companies, Keylime Software (Yahoo) and lead products and strategy at Webtrends; was CMO of WebSideStory(Omniture/Adobe) through its IPO; was general manager of Unica's Internet Division (IBM); and is a co-founder and board director, and is an emeritus board director of the DAA. He's been a trustee of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation and is an executive-in-residence at the University of the Pacific for New Media and Marketing and was managing partner at SchulmanThorogood Group.
He is currently board member and advises numerous mobile and social media companies and is a managing partner with Efectyv Digital. You can contact Rand at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @randschulman.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT