By 2018 mobile advertising will have overtaken desktop and account for over half of all internet advertising, according to a recent Advertising Expenditure Forecasts report. As such, we are witnessing the fastest transition of ad budgets in history as marketers and agencies clamber to catch-up with people’s preference for a mobile way of life. 

Mobile presents marketers with a highly personalised consumer environment, ideal for one-to-one relationship building made possible by the ocean of available profile data. Apps in particular provide a great opportunity for marketers to really understand their customers compared to the anonymous impressions they would find on a traditional web site. Apps allow us to reach people in more sensory ways via alerts, vibrations and images. 

Mobile tech also allows for insights such as location data thanks to GPS tracking. It’s a huge opportunity for personalised targeting, the likes of which we’ve never had before, and it opens up new possibilities to engage customers in different ways. It’s noticing someone’s train has just arrived, knowing they have the Starbucks app, and offering them a reward for popping in at the nearby store. It’s knowing someone’s favourite band from the ‘80s is on tour and offering a discount on VIP tickets, just for them.

Astonishingly, despite the vast opportunity at hand, only 43% of digital business professionals use mobile analytics. Moreover, only 21% of developers integrate crash reporting or analytics into deployed applications to monitor app performance and fix problems. So why are marketers failing to measure and optimise for mobile success, and what can you do to improve mobile measurement in 2016? 

A recent Forrester Research survey titled ‘Use Analytics To Create Mobile Best Practices’ identified the following:

Most businesses struggle to define the proper success metrics

Less than half of the companies interviewed by Forrester had defined mobile objectives or identified KPIs to measure their progress against those objectives. This creates two problems: developers writing mobile apps don’t know what data marketers want to capture, or how to improve the app to optimise outcomes. Once marketers decide what success looks like on mobile for their brand – whether that is app downloads, mobile page views, conversions, etc. – then the right delivery and measurement tools can be put in place, and results delivered back into the business.

Enterprise mobility is often immature, with experiences designed for the web squeezed onto smaller screens

Almost half of the respondents to Forrester’s survey have yet to adapt or design mobile experiences to serve the needs of consumers in their “mobile moments.” If mobile is factored in from start to finish – i.e. from the creation and distribution to testing and optimisation – then we should see mobile app measurement maturing and moving in line with what we see on desktop.

Mobile teams are siloed instead of integrated into marketing departments

Forrester also found that mobile teams often sit within digital silos. It’s much harder to devise mobile marketing strategies if your mobile team is cut-off from the planning process. Often, apps are developed by either another department, or by outsourced agencies, and IT departments will always want to keep the app light and avoid lots of SDKs. Better communication is required because if mobile apps are the height of brand engagement, and a significant indication of brand loyalty – so they should be high up on a brand’s agenda.

Within many businesses, mobile specific tools are non-existent or incomplete

Most companies find themselves measuring digital engagement rather than actual business outcomes or performance. With mobile, we know that people are ‘always on’ so it is important to know the impact mobile engagement has on business KPIs as a whole – not just digital ones such as downloads or logins – so we can optimise and adjust in real-time. The tools are available to map investment on mobile back to greater engagement with a brand as a whole, and by investing in this, marketers should see increased buy-in from the entire c-suite when it comes to investing in mobile tools.

This research shows that companies are finding it hard to evolve with the rapid pace of change and that marketers regularly complain that they don’t feel in control of their app’s potential. If you can make one mobile resolution for the New Year, make it about measurement and testing to give yourself an advantage over the competition.