We all know it: Consumers are glued to thier mobile devices, glancing at them hundreds of times in a day, and spending almost 67 hours on apps and sites in a month. These glances -- anytime you pull out your phone to do something -- are what we call "mobile moments." What could this moment be? To set an alarm. To browse Facebook. To check your email. To go to your favorite retailer's site to shop. To do seemingly anything you wish.
The meaning of these multiplying mobile moments to brands and marketers is clear: You need a mobile strategy. But what should this strategy be? How can you win in your customers' mobile moments?
What is mobile pathway analysis? Mobile pathway analysis is defined as: Charting the immediate path customers take to and from your brand's mobile moments.
Where does mobile pathways data come from? We’ve been tacking mobile sessions in the US and UK to learn about how people use their phones – what sites they visit, what apps they go to, and what string of actions they take in a mobile session.
What does mobile pathway analysis tell you? In mobile pathways analysis, we aim to help answer 5 pressing questions:
Smartphone adoption is surging. Your customers’ eyes are glued to their mobile screens. You want to get your brand in front of them. It’s time for mobile advertising.
Sadly, executing on a mobile ad campaign isn’t as easy as deciding you need one. Not only do you have to fight for budget and craft a mobile-first — not mini-desktop — campaign but you also need to pick the right partner to deliver on your mobile advertising needs. And while there is surely no shortage on vendors to select from, there is a lack of clarity into who actually does what.
To navigate this chaotic landscape, we surveyed mobile ad tech vendors and asked nitty-gritty questions about their heritage, creative, targeting, and add-on capabilities. What did we find? Marketers are right to be confused.
Why is this?
Each vendor’s value proposition isn’t clear. Fewer than one-third of the 35 vendors we surveyed are purebreds in any one ad tech category, and they offer anything from in-house creative services to contextual targeting to strong attribution chops. The result? Many jacks-of-all-trades that muddle the mobile ad tech landscape.
Each marketer’s expectations aren’t clear, either. We’re not just blaming the mobile ad tech vendors for this. Vendors are creating combinations of capabilities that they think marketers want — but aren’t getting much guidance.
Facebook, the social media giant that has already made a large dent in the mobile ad ecosystem, today showed it has no plans to stop the momentum: Welcome, Audience Network.
Before today, there were already several factors working in Facebook’s favor: its reach among avid social users, its engaged and captive audience, and its trove of affinity data, which my colleague Nate Elliott talks more about in his blog post here.
After its Audience Network announcement today, Facebook is breaking the application of its tools and its data out of its own silo, and this could benefit several players:
Other developers and publishers could make more money by offering Facebook data-infused mobile ads.
Advertisers can dip into Facebook’s rich affinity data to target their ads across other mobile properties.
And of course, Facebook itself just extended its potential revenue base and faces a new competitive set with the likes of Google AdMob and MIllennialMedia.
It’s true; the mobile advertising opportunity is huge. With nearly a third of the world’s population toting smartphones, today’s mobile audience is sizable, always addressable, and can be reached with hyper-targeted messages based on mobile data. So it makes perfect sense that marketers, agencies, and ad tech vendors are turning their attention to mobile ads.
But when we look past the excitement in this market we face the reality: It has a long way to go — just because the mobile ad market is growing doesn’t mean that it’s working as well as it could be. Why is this? Well, the marketplace is still evolving and in flux, and there is a lot of deferring to familiar desktop thinking from marketers, agencies, and ad tech vendors. This poses one glaring problem: It completely overlooks the uniqueness of the mobile experience.
The time has come to rethink your mobile ad strategy, and here’s our advice: Divorce your mobile strategy from desktop and focus on integrated, personalized experiences. Here are some steps to help as you go:
Accept that mobile advertising is different. Your mobile customers are fundamentally different than your desktop customers — they are task-oriented, using a smaller screen, and demand that their mobile experiences be immediately actionable, simple, and contextually relevant to them. If your mobile customer is fundamentally different, shouldn’t your ad strategy be, too?
First, the good news: Mobile marketing is maturing within organizations. More marketers than ever have mobile programs in place, and they are shifting from testing to “see what happens” to the more strategic, and Tim Gunn-recommended, “make it work.”
Now for the bad news: Marketers have to demonstrate whether their mobile programs are, in fact, working. And in a still-evolving industry that lacks measurement standards, coupled with marketers who are just starting to measure strategically, this is no easy task.
But it can be done! Our advice to marketers is this: Start by benchmarking against yourself. Here are the three steps to help you set the right baselines:
Set up a mobile dashboard. You’re going to need a clear view of your data to develop consistent measures. And for mobile, this requires a feature-rich dashboard with the right level of granularity. What does your mobile dashboard need to have? New filters like operating system (OS) and app version, new data sources like app review sentiment, and cross-channel measurement capabilities to demonstrate mobile’s full impact.
Establish your baselines. So many variables impact the success of any one company’s mobile program — from its stage of mobile maturity to its audience to the campaign's creative. To make sure you land on the right baseline for your company, create a measurement plan that defines which KPIs matter for your goal and what the right frequency of tracking is based on the longevity of the program or introduction of new factors.
IBM is diving head first into mobile — yesterday it announced the acquisition of a leading mobile messaging vendor Xtifiy, and it even released its IBM Institute for Business Value study showcasing the value of mobile the same day.
This acquisition adds to IBM’s Smarter Commerce offering and makes its MobileFirst portfolio more robust through enhanced one-to-one communication and customer relevancy. But what does it mean for marketers?
In the short term:
IBM keeps moving towards a one-stop shop. We like IBM’s solutions – its MobileFirst solution was even ranked a Leader in our Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Mobility Services, Q1 2013. So, a strong partner adding a mobile messaging pure play to the mix benefits everyone in the short term: Xtify increases the scale of its offering, IBM can pitch an integrated solution, and customers get to reduce their procurement load. And combine Xtify’s messaging with IBM’s soon-to-be-launched Presence Zones and IBM has an especially attractive retail suite.
Think about the past 24 hours: What have you done with your mobile phone? Did you send a text message? Check your email? Read any articles? Challenge someone in Words With Friends? If you said ‘yes’ to any of these, chances are that you may be one of the rapidly growing segment of perpetually connected customers that Forrester has been talking about. Welcome to the club!
Being one of these super-connected, mobile-savvy people is exciting. You can sit on your couch browsing a store’s catalog on your tablet while simultaneously messaging with friends on your smartphone. You can get a notification from your favorite store’s app about a flash sale happening that moment. You can search for the best dinner spot nearby and check reviews while walking down the street. You can find out more information about the TVs you are deciding between while in-store through the mobile Web or scanning a barcode. The options are endless!
Now put on your marketer hat. It’s an exciting time from this perspective too because the opportunities available to reach this consumer anytime, anywhere also seem endless! So yes, it’s exciting, but — let’s be honest – there is a lot of pressure to successfully meet these consumers’ demands, and it’s a little daunting to wade through the endless options to discover what tactics are right for your brand and how to get the programs launched.