In order for your business to be successful in today’s competitive digital marketplace it’s necessary to adopt a “mobile first” approach, plain and simple. We’ve all seen the stats to prove this out; mobile has overtaken PCs in terms of sales and more consumers globally are shopping online with mobile devices.
Because of this transformation in the market, we’ve been advocating that a paradigm shift also has to take place in your business strategizing. The concern here is that businesses are still thinking and approaching their strategies from the PC or desktop-based frame of reference. And this is usually how responsive web design is positioned; as a solution to make your traditional website mobile friendly. This myopic approach also usually extends to analytics and marketing efforts today. Consider the following points of comparison from the first article:
* Mobile web development vs. responsive web design
* Mobile analytics vs. desktop analytics with built in mobile features
* Mobile marketing vs. social media marketing with mobile add-ons
Do you see the two approaches? Notice the differences between a “mobile first” framework and one that privileges the traditional website? In the last segment we looked at the need for a mobile first development approach and argued that responsive web design alone isn’t enough. We also highlighted the “development dilemma” and suggested that businesses shouldn’t get too bogged down in these discussions. Remember, your business strategy should adopt whatever it takes to please the customers.
So with this review in mind let’s turn to the next point: analytics. Again, when it comes to leveraging the mobile web we need to adjust our paradigm to a mobile focused analytics strategy, not just desktop “mobile friendly” analytics.
Mobile analytics uses data collected from visitors access to a website from a mobile device to determine the parts of the website work best for mobile marketing campaigns, including mobile advertising, mobile search marketing, text campaigns, and desktop promotion of mobile sites and services. Despite what some marketers believe, mobile analytics is inherently different than traditional web analytics. For example, websites have traditionally focused on measuring metrics that track this process:
Visitors > Visits > Pageviews > Events
On the other hand, mobile apps and mobile websites are tracking metrics based on the following process:
Users > Sessions > Events
As one writer has described, these two approaches in tracking KPIs boil down to primary differences in pageviews vs. sessions. For traditional websites, pageviews are central but not always accurately measured:
Many web users today leave pages up that they aren’t actively viewing, or revisit pages to recall information, not to act on events like converting, purchasing, or downloading
In the mobile world, the focus is on sessions:
Sessions are tracked more minutely than web visits and pageviews. In the mobile world, users are identified by the device tracking or through social authentication, and a session times out after a user closes the app, or navigates away from the app for more than 15 seconds.
So what this all means is that there are inherently different KPIs in the world of mobile that you need to track and fit into your overall mobile first strategy. This translates into a major adjustment in your analytics paradigm and the need to switch from tracking pageviews to tracking sessions. Additionally, you will also want to start using mobile session insights to measure engagement and to drive your A/B testing, marketing campaigns and UX changes.
There are a number of mobile app and mobile web analytics platforms on the market. A great platform to get started with is Google Analytics. It has universal recognition and offers easy to use mobile features for tracking Android and iOS support, provides custom views of your data in interactive dashboards and reports, and offers customized campaign tracking on mobile acquisition-behavior-conversion. And best of all, it’s free!
A mobile first strategy requires businesses today to shift their paradigm in significant ways. This requires not only moves away from responsive web design to mobile development but also integrating a full-fledged mobile analytics strategy into that framework as well.
Stay tuned in the next segment where we’ll press this paradigm shift further by looking at how a mobile first strategy must include a new approach to marketing efforts as well.