Measurement and attribution top challenges for getting mobile right

Content Takeover Display AdvertisingDuring the desktop/laptop era, marketers got spoiled by the availability of better analytics than they’d ever had in the offline world (with the possible exception of direct mail and DRTV). But the explosion of mobile use by consumers and business buyers is presenting unprecedented marketing challenges to agencies and marketing teams.

Some of these challenges relate to the increased difficulty of tracking and targeting users across devices environments. Others are a product of being required to reckon with the increasingly complex context of mixed desktop/mobile usage itself.

For example, some consumers only use mobile devices when interacting with social media. Even in Q4 of last year (2014) Facebook reported that 526 million of its monthly active users access Facebook solely from their mobile devices; that’s 38 percent of Facebook’s 1.39 billion monthly active users in Q4 of last year. Data regarding mobile usage exploding on many other social networks is similar – you’ve likely noticed such behavior when studying your own analytics data.

In October of 2015, Digiday and Marchex published a report, based on a survey of brand marketers, summarizing the challenges of mobile marketing. Measurement and attribution were cited as the top challenge by a wide margin.

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“As mobile advertising budgets continue to grow, we’re seeing brands and agencies demand more accountability,” said Pete Christothoulou, chief executive of Marchex. “These results confirm that effective measurement and attribution of mobile advertising is a major challenge, and we anticipate growing demand for analytics solutions that can connect mobile behavior to real-world, offline actions.”

Consumers increasingly use mobile devices to make purchase decisions in the real world. In fact, offline purchases influenced by digital and mobile behavior will account for more than $1.5 trillion in consumer expenditures this year, according to data from Forrester. Consequently, retailers with store footprints have an even greater incentive to “get mobile right.”

According to Shagun Aulakh, senior marketing manager at Macy’s, who was quoted in the report, “Mobile has really pushed personalization to another level. We can’t just market to the mass consumer anymore. It’s necessary to really understand the full circle of a customer’s behavior and life and market to them in a way that speaks to them as individuals and give them info that’s as real-time as it gets.”

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Let’s dig deeper into this report, available here.

Key findings include the following:

  • Survey respondents were more likely to call mobile advertising measurement and attribution (the ability to tie mobile ad exposures to sales) “very challenging” or “challenging” (56 percent) as opposed to issues related to scale (39 percent) or transparency (37 percent). Without good tracking and attribution, the chances of allocating your mobile dollars and resources successfully drop dramatically. I’ve discussed the unique methods Marchex is using to solve this challenge with its Call Analytics platform in earlier columns.
  • More than 60 percent of survey respondents’ sales come through offline sources, either in-store or over-the-phone sales. Depending on your industry, store footprint, or product/services mix, your share of offline sales or conversions to leads could be even greater. The more expensive, heavy/large, or high involvement the purchase decision, the more likely the buyer is to have to speak to someone on the phone or in-person.
  • Nearly half of those polled cited driving in-store purchases as a desired outcome of mobile marketing, with 40 percent citing click-to-call. Nearly all marketers will need to evolve towards an omni-channel approach to marketing. The consumer/buyer will choose the channel they are most comfortable with, and marketers will need to be ready to service and track those channels as well.
  • More than 60 percent of respondents indicated that a consumer’s location weighs heavily when determining what content or information to serve them through their mobile device. For your business, location may be even more important, due to the need to deliver or service the consumer’s needs.
  • Marketers consider call analytics to be the most effective method for connecting mobile ad exposure to purchases via inbound phone calls. The surge in mobile has made mobile analytics critically important for marketers who could have safely ignored call analytics just five years ago. Now may be the time for you to evaluate or re-think call analytics.

Even if you’re in a corporate or agency environment that’s less likely to take risks on new forms of media or tracking solutions, you should consider making a case for re-evaluating both your mobile media/marketing strategy as well as evaluating whether or not you have the analytics platforms in place to measure the mobile impact on sales and revenue.

Marchex *Sponsored content in collaboration with Marchex. Views expressed in this article are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect ClickZ’s opinions.

Article and homepage image via Flickr.

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