Mobile Analytics Summit Recap
I recently participated in the first ever Mobile Analytics Summit, which was a fantastic event chock full of great information and insights. The virtual format allowed attendees to tune in based on sessions that were most relevant to them. And if you missed it, there’s an opportunity to go back and catch all the sessions because the presentations are archived and available. ObservePoint was a gracious host and organized event sponsor; I was honored to participate in the Summit.
Some of the key trends that I observed from the conference included:
Mobile Strategies Must Be Holistic Strategies
Let’s face it, mobile is HUGE today. According to Krista Seiden of Google, “half of all searches on Google take place on smartphones globally”. And, “More than half of all web traffic (recorded with Google Analytics) comes from smartphones and tablets.” Krista delivered a compelling presentation on her personal journey Moving from a Web to a Mobile World that highlighted many of the nuances and fundamentals of measuring today’s digital environment.
But, mobile is ubiquitous…it’s in your pocket, it’s on your nightstand, and it’s probably not far from you wherever you are these days. So you better be strategic about it. The mobile experience is dominating half of all time online, which means that there’s still another half of the experience that’s happening elsewhere. This means that your mobile experience must connect to your customer’s desktops, to their telephones, and to their in-store experiences as well. Companies that fail to build integrated experiences are alienating their customers. Accept that mobile is part of the stack that includes acquisition drivers, marketing layers, testing solutions, CRM applications, Email and SMS communication tools, and a myriad of other technology solutions that manage customer interactions. So keeping mobile in a silo is a recipe for disaster. If you think about the customer lifecycle for any product or service, there are multiple touch points and inevitably multiple channels, accept that you will capture data and interact with customers and prospects via multiple methods. Whether on the app, website, or in the store, you’re gathering data. You know it and the customer knows it. Yet, their expectation is that you’ll remember them regardless of device. So get strategic about it.
Find Your Framework
Getting strategic requires mobile developers, product managers, strategists and analysts to find a method to their madness. This can be accomplished by using a framework for measurement. This was touched on by a number of us speakers at the Mobile Analytics Summit, but Stephen Blake Morse of mParticle put it into context by stating that a customer journey framework is imperative for aligning your measurement efforts with company KPI’s and business goals. Stephen provided a resource for Designing a Mobile Strategy Microsite; and also gave a nod to Dave McClure’s Pirate Metrics as frameworks to learn from while developing yours. At Analytics Demystified, we help clients do this too. We help by understanding corporate objectives, developing frameworks and socializing them with leadership. Once our frameworks have been established and socialized, we empower clients to execute using a Measurement Plan that aligns specific initiatives with measures of success.
In another great presentation by Tim Trefren of Mixpanel, he advises listeners to Stop Treating Your App Like a Marketing Channel. Tim states that Engagement and Retention are the KEY metrics, and I agree. Acquisition and revenue are relatively clear. Although the tactics are wildly complex, the math is straightforward. Find more customers, make more money. Yet, engagement is vague and retention…well that’s tough. According to TechCrunch, nearly 1 in 4 people abandon mobile apps after one use. Tim referenced Andrew Chen’s research that revealed that losing 80% of mobile users is normal. Most apps have a retention problem. The average app loses 77% of its Daily Active Users within the first 3 days. By 30 days…90% of active users are lost. After 90 days, the average app has lost 95% of active users. This means that it’s not about getting the downloads and installs, it’s about keeping them engaged right from the get go. While a framework can’t necessarily save your failing apps, it can be applied as a means to strategically plan, launch, and manage mobile apps throughout their lifecycle.
Focus on the App
So now that we’ve established that a holistic strategy is a solid one; and that a framework can help organize your strategy…did I mention that it’s all about the app? We already know that more than ½ of all web traffic comes from mobile, but what’s even more interesting, across all these mobile devices, 85% of time is spent within apps. This makes the App the king of mobile.
Not only are Apps dominating the consumer world, they’re also ruling the workplace. According to my research, a study called Accelerate digital transformation with simplified business apps finds that, 69% of employees seek an engaging mobile-first work experience. This experience is enabled through apps! The ability to minimize the number of enterprise systems like CRM, Email, Jira, etc. an enterprise worker must log into every day can be enabled through an app. But what’s more relevant is that these app data streams can be customized or more accurately, curated to meet each user’s personal requirements. This is facilitated via an app. Yet, app deployment in the enterprise still lags consumer applications. The study revealed that 55% of organizations have implemented three mobile apps or fewer – typically email and calendar…but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for enterprise app utilization. Watch for the explosion of a new marketplace of enterprise easy apps in the next 18 to 24 months.
Optimize Your Apps
There are two primary things to consider when working to keep your apps performing in tip-top shape. The 1st) Operational Diagnostics, and 2nd) Testing.
I learned from Stephen Blake Morse that average Mobile App has eighteen 3rd party SDK’s. Eighteen! That’s a lot of data flowing out of each and every app. App bloat is a real thing.
The explosion of growth in data and analytics has led to a bounty of tools and technologies in both analytics and marketing (remember the stack?). As such, apps are getting loaded with data dispersing agents by the dozen. Within any given app, you’re likely to have Acquisition tools, Analytics, Optimization, Automation, and Aggregation solutions. Each of them is collecting and sending data to 3rd party solutions across the farthest reaches of the cloud. But with every potential benefit you receive from yet another integration, comes the potential cost of slowed performance. Additionally, apps that drain battery life, those that make excessive server calls, or those whose libraries rival the size of the Library of Congress can all impact performance and contribute to retention problems. As such, prudent app developers are optimizing apps.
Test To Be the Best
Several sessions in the Mobile Analytics Summit delved into the testing world. Sun Sneed of ObservePoint articulated that Mobile is Hard and the challenges we face are technical, process oriented, and resource constrained. Sun offered 7 Ways to Win at Testing Your Mobile App Analytics, which called out: device fragmentation, “chatty” apps, testing throughout the dev process, the high cost of defects, and starting with your end goals in mind
Chetan Prasad of Adobe, walked us through his presentation Acquire, Engage, and Optimize to Drive App Addiction, which clearly underscored the themes of using a framework, the retention challenge, and testing everything. Chetan spoke of testing examples that included testing features to achieve 50% more revenue; testing design to increase logins by 10%; and testing content to realize 110% improvement in click-throughs and an 8% lift in redemption of rewards and offers.
Matt Thomas of ObservePoint also shared his thoughts on How Smart Companies Transform Their Mobile Testing Paradigms. Matt takes a pragmatic approach that begins with requirements gathering after first discussing the goals of the app or more simply put: What does success look like for this app? Matt hammered home the theme of defining your strategy first, which is the key factor in actually measuring the success of the app. In similar fashion to my own presentation at the Mobile Analytics Summit, Matt talked about the importance of documentation and developing a Solution Design that will be a guide for developers to use as a roadmap. The pivotal point in Matt’s presentation was that Change is the only constant and automated testing is the means by which you must assure your app validity.
Mobile Experiences are Leading the Digital First Revolution
Many of the presentations touched upon the User Journey is some form or fashion. What I found to be interesting about this theme is that the absolute most important revelation about digital today is understanding customers as they traverse channels. Mobile is almost certainly part of the experience, but it’s not singular. Digital First competitors today must know their customers and they must be able to reach them in real-time.
Moe Kiss of The Iconic shared her analysis in the presentation How Cross Device Analysis Taught Us the Value of Our Mobile Apps that included seven steps to determine the value of their app. First and most important, was stitching visitors. By analyzing the steps leading to critical actions such as using wish lists, Moe learned that apps were driving some conversion events, but not necessarily sales. She found that cross device users spent more time online, they engaged more frequently throughout the day, but while they browsed on their mobile devices, they ultimately purchased on the desktop. So, while the app was critically important, it wasn’t the key to driving success. Their success came from delivering great user experiences. Each device played a different role and not every feature was necessary on every platform. Among Moe’s key findings was that users are transitioning between devices and being open to use the right channel at the right time was the secret to their success.
Chris Slovak of Tealium shared his presentation Identity Resolution is Key to Digital Transformation, which began with Chris setting the stage for experience-driven companies. Uber, Nest, Gatorade, Waze, Venmo, and Amazon are creating customer experiences that are the gold standard of mobile first. Like Moe’s findings, Chris talked about the experiences being more important that the products. Because mobile is measured in events, it carries the potential to humanize the experience and use data to make it personal. Yet, to get there organizations need to connect with their customers via 1:1 relationships across all channels and devices. To do this, companies must operate in real-time. But that can only be effective if you know your customer through harvesting customer ID’s, which Chris claims must be part of your data layer.
Stephen Blake Morse also talks about this in mParticle’s Customer Data Platform. Whether it’s a social handle, email address, subscriber ID, 1st or 3rd party cookies, iPhone IDFA, IoT device ID, or any other personal identifier…you need these identification keys to get relevant to your customers. Chris too talks about a framework incorporating data Capture > Enrichment > Activation as a means to interact with customers in real-time. This ability is the lynch pin for becoming personal with customers who want that and for delivering meaningful experiences.
In closing, I want more…
And you should too. The world of Mobile Measurement is pretty exciting. It’s filled with “micro moments” that don’t mean much as stand-alone actions, but in the context of a greater strategy for measuring success, they are essential for defining and shaping experiences. The trends I mentioned here are observations that I took away from the Mobile Analytics Summit, but there are many many more. I wrote about just a few of my favorite presentations, but I encourage you to check out what’s interesting to you.
And, if we at Analytics Demystified can help in any stage of your mobile measurement pursuits: whether that’s an overarching strategy, requirements, a measurement plan, implementation, or analysis…give us a shout or leave a note in the comments. We look forward to hearing from you!