Five questions to ask to make mobile data work for your business

If you’re anything like me, you use your mobile devices so much you don’t even notice it. It’s second nature. So it’s not surprising that today’s consumers are spending increasingly more time on mobile devices to look for information, consume it and then share it with their social circles. The important thing to grasp is that the data associated with this kind of 24/7 mobile engagement has become the new currency for understanding how and when to reach consumers. It’s like gold to marketers, and many brands have begun to align their marketing priorities to make mobile a primary channel within which to engage customers. The challenge is though, that marketers need to harness mobile data more effectively to create more relevant experiences through these highly personalized devices. Below, I’ve listed five things to keep in mind as you focus on leveraging mobile data.

Mobile…it’s a game changer

Consumers leverage mobile applications to comparison shop, click-to-call, update their social network, consume various types of content, play games and many other activities. Consumers are also opting-in with a greater degree of comfort than before to receive instantaneous information and compelling offers on their mobile devices. Mobile, as a channel, is now a leading barometer for gauging consumer sentiment, assessing attitudes about products and services and understanding buying behaviors. In a recent Ad Age article, Conde Nast and Gawker Media both reported that visits from mobile have more than doubled in the past year. Similarly, earlier this year eBay/PayPal CEO, John Donahoe, projected that eBay would reach $8 billion in mobile gross merchandise volume (GMV)  in 2012, and PayPal will reach $7 billion in transactions in 2012.

Consider how mobile engagement and the data evolution changed the recent U.S. Presidential election. In 2008, social networking was the ‘flavor du jour’ and Facebook and Twitter usage soared as both the Democrat and Republican parties used these sites effectively to communicate with voters. While parties in that election used consumer data to make messaging more timely and effective, this time both parties developed bespoke mobile applications with interactive features, including social, where consumers could push information back to the senders which was then used to continually fine tune, reinforce and redirect messages. Pew Research recently reported 27% of registered voters who own a cell phone have used their phone in this election campaign to keep up with news related to the election itself or to political issues in general.

Five questions every marketer should consider about mobile data

In this mobile-first world, marketers and brands need simple and seamless ways to measure, understand and analyze consumer activity on mobile. As mobile advertising, both search and display have hit a tipping point. Much like the online world, ad networks, ad exchanges and other ad serving companies have tried to establish a gradient for measuring consumer activity and developing new and innovative ways to reach consumers. However, with the emergence of social on mobile, mobile commerce and m-payments, there is an added level of complexity that gets introduced into the mix. To date, there has not been a way to measure and connect ‘true’ consumer activity across website, mobile browser, mobile messaging (email, SMS, MMS) and application usage. As mobile usage continues to grow at unprecedented rates, so does the divergence in what constitutes the right standard for mobile activity measurement. I believe every marketer should be considering the following questions:

  1. What does mobile data means for your business? Outline the right metrics for what constitutes consumer engagement in the context of your business.
  2. How will changes in the marketplace change the metrics and associated data that matter to you? Consumer usage on mobile is evolving at an extremely rapid pace and it is imperative to keep up with how consumers are re-aligning their engagement via this medium.
  3. Is there a data and analytics lead for the business? Having a dedicated person or team who are contextualizing the data for your business is important to drive the right focus.
  4. Do you have the same general data metrics in place as your partners and vendors? This drives a common set of measures for everyone to drive their business.
  5. Are you trying to over engineer your mobile data metrics? There is nothing known as perfect data and it is important to focus on the right methods and approach versus perfect data.

With answers to above questions in hand, you’ll be able to identify the relevant sources of mobile data that can make a positive impact on your business. Always practice continual examination of your data and data resources. Don’t be a slave to your data! Make data work for you and help guide you to smarter decision making.

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