5 Considerations in Mobile Analytics   

By Jennifer Laws, Associate Technical Writer, IIBA   
On February 26, 2013, Professor Anindya Ghose of the NYU Stern School of Business joined Maureen McVey, Head of Learning and Development for International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®) to present a webinar titled “Mobile Analytics: Apps, Advertising and Commerce in the New ‘Mobile’ Economy”. This is a very hot topic as the mobile community grows worldwide, and certainly something to be familiar with as a business analyst.
In today’s world, mobile usage is increasing all the time. With increased mobile usage has come an explosion of “big data”; data gathered from mobile devices is incredibly complex, and comes in many different forms. Measuring and analyzing the big data comes with many challenges. The usage is extremely diverse, so traditional web analytic tools simply don’t work. The mobile ecosystem is composed of so many parts that the data collected is fragmented and noisy.
Another issue is persistent identification of mobile users. Traditional web analytic software may fail to identify unique visitors because the IP addresses captured are not user-specific, but gateway IPs from the network access providers. More than that, cookies don’t work on mobile phones. Cookies are largely session-based, and there are no cookies for mobile apps.
In Professor Ghose’s words, “traditional web analytics tools don’t hold that well for mobile analytics, which is why there is a need to develop methods and models and tools specifically customized for mobile analytics.”
The mobile community is growing and changing daily. Mobile devices have completely changed how people live and how they conduct business. Here are five things to keep in mind for anyone who cares about measurement and mobile analytics.
1. Mobile is the glue between digital and offline advertising
User travel is another big difference between mobile usage and traditional web usage. People carry mobile devices everywhere, and use their mobile data for any number of things while on the go. The studies done by NYU Stern have shown that location and time are key factors in how marketers should target their ads. Combining offline ads, like a billboard, with a targeted ad to a mobile device will show a higher ROI.
2. Context is key in targeted advertising
If sent the right ad for the right product at the right location at the right time, 41% of people will make a purchase that day. Thirty-three percent of people will make an in-store purchase within a week. People who use mobile devices and purchase in-store have a 30% higher lifetime value to that company than non-mobile users. This means they are more likely to return to your store and spend more money over time.
3. Task complexity affects device usage
Another powerful tool in mobile commerce is the basket purchase. Users are able to purchase products on almost any web-enabled device, or place products in their “basket” on one device and complete the transaction on another. If it’s something they buy all the time, 87% of people use mobile phones or tablets to buy. For unfamiliar purchases, or products that require more specification, 71% of people will use their largest screen, likely a computer.
4. Both mobile and web ads affect conversion rate
In terms of marketing, mobile ads are just as important as web ads. In fact, the marketing is most powerful and effective when mobile and web ads are used together. The conversion rate rises dramatically when both type of ads are used. This means that more people will click on the ad if they are exposed to it on each device. People are more likely to see an ad on a mobile device but actually make the purchase on a computer than they are to make the purchase straight from the mobile ad. 
5. Account for multiple screens
This past year, mobile devices accounted for 20% of Internet traffic. Next year, mobile Internet usage is predicted to surpass PC Internet usage. People often use more than one screen at once, and are likely to start a session on one device and then continue it on another. More and more people are engaging in mobile commerce as time goes on, and there is an increasing interdependency between different devices.
These are just a few highlights from this webinar. For more on this topic and answers to more specific questions, watch the archived version.