I have a confession to make:  I’m addicted.  You and your customers are too.

As average Americans, we check our phones between 35-74 times per DAY, spending an average of 5.6 hours on our devices.  Overall, Americans check their phones over 8 billion times daily!!!!

Yes, some of that time is spent checking Facebook, Twitter and SnapChat, or maybe even talking on the phone, but a chunk of time is spent surfing the web and SHOPPING.

Every Marketer intuitively knows this. A growing percent of digital business comes from mobile devices.  Traffic from mobile devices now are close to 50% of total online traffic to U.S. retail sites.  Approximately 30% of total e-commerce is now “M-COMMERCE.”  Mobile transactions were forecasted in mid-2015 to grow by another 10% by December of that year.

          So how are Marketers moving toward Mobile?  What are they doing?  What SHOULD they do?

Most Marketers start with the low hanging fruit — making their website work for Mobile.  Their efforts focus on developing a responsive website design – in effect, customizing code to show an optimized site on the smaller mobile device screens.

The heavier lifting starts when you want to leverage mobile data.  By this I mean STITCHING – linking a mobile customer to their web and off-line accounts — tracking which purchases and behaviors came from mobile devices.

For too long, Marketers have not been able to access information about which mobile customer does which behaviors online, due to challenges in dropping cookies and other technical constraints. Combining mobile data with web site and offline behavior and transactions is no small feat, particularly if you have not done this type of stitching before. The most expensive web tracking tools are improving their ability to track such behavior, but integrating mobile data is no small task.

There are several ways you can improve the tracking of your customers’ mobile behavior:

1.) Build and Promote Your Own App

The most common mobile vehicle for rich data analysis comes from apps. Apps utilize this equation:

  • Customers download, register and use a company’s phone app.
  • Company provides benefits (digital coupons, sale notifications, geo location notification, store inventory, even where in the store a product is located)

USE is the key word about mobile phone apps. Getting customers to download an app is a challenge.  Getting customers to use a mobile app regularly is a much more difficult task.  eMarketer.com reports that while consumers have between 40-70 apps on their phones, the average number of apps used on a given day ranges between 4-6!  And over 20% of apps are deleted on the day they are downloaded.  So not only do you have to get an app loaded, but in effect you have to do a mini-marketing program to make sure that the app continues to be used, reinforcing the benefits – mobile coupons, geo-notifications, flash sales, etc.

Benefit:  Apps let Marketers know specific metrics about a customer’s mobile behavior – how long they use the app, what they use it for, where they go on the app.  After registration, the data can be linked to the customer’s web site and store accounts, to provide a more complete view of customer interactions with the company.

2.) SMS Marketing

What’s not to like about communicating directly to your customer’s phone?  It’s sexy and effective WHEN you can convince your customers to not only opt-in, but also click-through!

Benefit:   As a result, many companies have been quick to SMS marketing as a way to reach consumers on their mobile devices.  The benefits of SMS are immediacy and impact – consumers are used to checking their text messages obsessively.  As a result, you are more likely to get noticed.

At the same time, the challenges of SMS are obtaining permission from customers to text them, and the very high levels of opt-out.  Also, while you can measure click-through to sites or coupon redemptions, Marketers do not get any mobile usage data.

3.) Aggregate measurement through Google Analytics

As we suggested earlier, you can measure the number of visitors on your site from mobile sources, including timing, “goal” (task completion), conversions, etc.  You will not be able to link that data back to individual customers but will gain an overall sense of the impact of mobile activity on the site and upon transactions – which can be critical to developing at least a high level ROI.

Mobile marketing is here to stay. Forbes and the CMO Survey report that spending in this channel is expected to increase by 118% over the next three years, yet over 50% of all companies surveyed responded that mobile marketing contributes no, or minimal performance gains.

So now you have some tools, but how to make mobile marketing profitable?  MEASUREMENT!!

Clearly, enough consumers are using mobile.  But for Marketers to continue to invest in this channel, the results must be measurable AND meaningful.  To obtain those metrics, Marketers will have to implement mobile analytic tools, such as Google Mobile App Analytics and then stitch mobile data to data from other channels.

Whatever marketing strategy, and especially for mobile, keep financially focused measurement at the forefront.  That’s how you’ll grow your budgets and, hopefully, your career.