Personal mobile is sticky mobile

Eighty-five percent—that’s the amount of increase researchers are predicting for mobile marketing spend by the end of the year. As in $11.6 billion by December 31. That’s a whole lotta dough—and with a whole lotta dough comes a whole lotta responsibility.

Enter analytics. If you’re spending that kind of money on a marketing channel, you need to know it’s working, right? But despite mobile’s growing maturity, not all marketers are tracking like they should, says Brendan O’Kane, CEO of Brisbane-based analytics startup OtherLevels.

“Essentially, a lot of budget is being spent up front and the measuring of success is being done relatively simply in terms of tracking acquisition and downloads,” says O’Kane. “People feel like they’ve achieved a good outcome if they have half a million downloads or a quarter of a million or two million or if their app has initial traction on a mobile webpage.”

Downloads are nice—what brand doesn’t want its app to be downloaded?—but a more “sophisticated and nuanced” approach to mobile measurement is needed, O’Kane says.

Great, someone downloaded your app—but did they engage with it after the first time? Have they even opened it in the past six months? In seeking acquisitions, don’t lose sight of the real goal: retention. While there’s a fairly good understanding in the marketing community of what it takes to acquire customers (search, branding, social, promotions, apps), retention is a little trickier, says O’Kane.

“You need to spend more quality time on retention thinking about how you deliver your campaigns and doing proactive research on how to engage with your audience,” he advises. “The key message is to be more integrated and ensure campaigns are timely, relevant, and preferably highly personalized.”

Personalization is especially crucial.

“Mobile is a very personal environment and people only want interesting, useful, relevant information there,” O’Kane says. “They don’t want to be swamped like on a desktop or in an email inbox, and for direct marketers this can pose a bunch of challenges.”

Mobile users have an extremely low tolerance for intrusions and interruptions, which means delivering value on mobile is a quite different proposition than doing it through traditional channels.

“If you send me something and I’m on a desktop, it might pop up on the right side of my screen and I can still focus on what’s in front of me until I’m ready to look at it,” he says. “If something pops up in the mobile environment, it’s much more intrusive.”

Basically, O’Kane says, direct marketers are facing the same challenges with mobile that they’ve always faced, in general: to craft nuanced communications to keep consumers actively coming back for more.

The difference now, he says, is that “it’s happening in a different medium and at a much faster pace.”

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