Marketers employ analytics to measure mobile activity and improve campaigns

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Marketers employ analytics to measure mobile activity and improve campaigns
Marketers employ analytics to measure mobile activity and improve campaigns

Marketers are beginning to mine data from mobile transactions and brand interactions with the same interest they glean information from other more traditional media sources.

The Pittsburgh Penguins National Hockey League franchise has found that understanding the effectiveness of mobile transactions is a crucial part of determining what type of data it sends to customers, says Jeremy Zimmer,
director of new media for the team.

The Penguins learned, based on analytics the team gleaned from SMS campaigns, that offers and promotions from its corporate partners are more likely to elicit a response if they're tied to the franchise itself. A recent example is a Verizon promotion that allowed Verizon Store visitors to receive a free Penguins Winter Classic game poster, he said.

In the past two years, the Penguins have launched a mobile website and mobile apps as well.

“Texting is the most powerful tool to get a message to somebody. I can't think of another medium that's more personal and effective,” says Zimmer, adding that there's potential for marketers to misuse it to bombard customers with offers they aren't interested in. “We had one campaign that we sent out that was not directly tied to the Penguins, and we saw a negative spike in bounce backs from that.”

The Penguins recently began to use Google Analytics to scrutinize their mobile website and apps. Zimmer said it is too early to give results, but notes “We are going to be putting a lot of time and effort into it,” particularly with mobile apps.

Zimmer adds that the Penguins also measure mobile activity because the franchise needs to inform sponsors of the effectiveness of the mobile experience, including how often fans are downloading videos, how many page views their website receives, and how many use the mobile Twitter section.

Seventy-four percent of online retailers have implemented or are planning to implement a mobile strategy, according to Forrester Research. The firm also predicted that $170,000 was spent on mobile sites per online retailer in 2010.

Travel website Vegas.com tapped optimization firm SiteSpect to develop a mobile destination for consumers. The website's page views increased 16% on an optimized page, and bounce rates decreased by 22%. Vegas.com has integrated the back-end analytics from SiteSpect with Coremetrics' Web analytics tool and Tealeaf Technology's customer experience management platform to create a 360-degree view of the mobile customer.

“We can see if the data is different than the profile of desktop users,” says Mike Brown, VP of optimization at Vegas.com. “It's making all of our marketing compatible for all users regardless of whether they're on mobile or desktop.”

However, he wishes the analytics could tell him more about what he calls “the Holy Grail of missing data” convergence.

“Where analytics totally falls down is telling me if the user started the research process on mobile and then booked their trip or room on their desktop at home,” he says. “I don't have any way to segment how people are crossing devices.”

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