I was one of those fortunate people who attended the eMetrics summit in San Francisco in March 2014. I focused on the mobile tracks, hoping to get more ideas I can apply to work, as user experience around mobile is becoming a key topic.
For some companies, mobile is becoming a higher priority because mobile traffic is growing rapidly, and it is something marketers just can’t ignore anymore. On the other hand, I was surprised to hear a comment from one of the speaker that if you’re doing a/b testing or anything regards to analytics and optimization on mobile, is way ahead of the digital marketing trend’s curve.
Why surprised? maybe I shouldn’t be, was just thinking that mobile topic has always been highlighted as a key for many years now, and would assume many marketers are already doing something with mobile by now. Here are very high level, key notes from the conference regards to mobile analytics and optimization.
Define what mobile is
I noticed some companies define “mobile” as including tablet devices (like iPad or Nexus 7), and other companies are calling mobile for any screen size below 10 in. Not to forget to mention that mobile site should be differentiated from mobile app when we say “mobile”. Most of the talking points in this blog post refers to browser based mobile website.
This practice of making “mobile” definition clear up front is pretty important because when you check your analytics, you may have interesting observations like:
- Mobile and tablet behaviors are different, and many data points may look different, too.
- Mobile and tablet usage is different by time. Example, your user may be accessing the site more on mobile site in morning Vs. tablets at night.
- Mobile and tablet traffic growth may be growing at different timing and rate
- At individual level, one person could be using multiple devices interacting with your brand’s site
We need to make sure we understand what the data tells us to give better context around user behavior differences per platform, and consider your planning around tracking and optimization strategies.
Understand mobile marketing tactics
Excluding the traditional digital marketing advertisement like Paid Search, Banner Display Ads, or Emails, mobile marketing may have something unique to mobile, which needs to be taken into consideration for mobile analytics and optimization trend.
Some of the unique mobile marketings are (not limited to):
- Location based services, like Geo fencing. Showing content or ads based on where users are.
- Mobile barcode
- Augmented reality
- Near Field Communication (NFC)
- SMS Marketing
- iBeacon type of sensor based content delivery and marketing
These variety of possible marketing tactics on mobile is a pretty good reflection of how mobile needs extra thinking around the context, location, timing of website usage per user. That adds more complexity to mobile analytics and optimization.
Based on what business problem you’re trying to solve on mobile, the breath of data and complexity may differ. That leads to making sure many events that occur on mobile site are tracked.
Speed is very important on mobile
One speaker mentioned that there were little over 100 events being tracked per mobile site. While many digital analytics folks have tagged their desktop optimized site with many events to learn from user behavior, additional contextual data obtained on mobile may generate more events to your analytics tracker. As you can imagine, more tracking on mobile equals more things to consider, and higher potential for latency issue. Tools like heatmap on mobile and testing tool for mobile app are emerging, and as mobile sites get richer, site speed becomes key to better to mobile site experience.
If you’re a global company, you may notice that not all countries have an infrastructure that deliver high speed network for smartphone. That said, the mobile content strategies and tactics will vary by what you’re trying to accomplish. In a world where people are buying mobile phone before getting a PC laptop, that can give you some important data observations that may help you better plan global marketing strategy. Like making the mobile site more adaptive, and load minimal content, or go with mobile custom site instead of a responsive web site in emerging markets/countries.
Speed is not just about the content delivery part of the mobile marketing. It is also about the speed in how you are becoming relevant in mobile environment to the consumer, or experience at a certain moment in their online customer journey. This leads into a topic like personalization stuff.
For example, if you’re a brand with mobile site running on a responsive website, you may have same content on single URL regardless of site visitor’s platform. In a personalization marketing enabled site, you can start catering content that is optimized for that consumer’s moment per device. Say I’m on an iPhone visiting a page, then you can cater content that is relevant to iPhone as I am more likely to resonate well with the content or images optimized to the phone I own, at that particular moment. The site’s speed to making that real time decision is obviously dependent on real time data delivery.
Mobile first or Customer first?
It was interesting to hear different answers from marketers on the question if marketers should focus on adopting the mind set of “mobile first” or “customer first”?
As we may know, having the mobile first mind set keeps us focused on delivering the necessary content and experience that works on mobile, which can scale to work on desktop. In other words, as an example, if we can cater the best of the best critical few content on a mobile page that performs, instead of all the content shown on PC desktop page, then obsessing to optimize for that small screen’s constraints will make us deliver better marketing results.
Customer first mind set basically takes into consideration of customer regardless of their device platform and obsess to do better and perform at every moment on customer journey. And even if you’re optimizing mobile site, knowing customer well is the key to delivering great results in mobile site optimization.
Various marketers had different answers, but for me, it is both mind sets are key to improving the mobile experience and it’s touch points. Removing customer’s friction on site regardless of what device their on is what marketers should obsessed, but the reality is resources and budgets are tight.
That said, marketers have to be focused and have to be smart about what they test and change while improving site performance faster. That is why, for me, you have to put customer on top of mind by being customer oriented, but excel to deliver results fast while adopting the mobile first mind set.