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Optimize And Analyze For Mobile, part 1

Thursday, 11 November 2010

This is part 1 of a timely 3 part guest post on mobile analytics strategy and implementation by Feras Alhlou at E-Nor, a Certified Partner in Northern California. A must-read if you're preparing for the mobile revolution that has been going on for a few years. :-) There's still time - use these posts as a starting point.

Only a few years ago, organizations were still trying to figure out the web. Forward thinking marketers contemplated the capacity of the digital medium to implement viable online business strategies and maximize marketing ROI. Over time, marketing managers and business owners saw the writing on the, er, screen. Those who invested in their online presence and established a measurement culture are now reaping great benefits.

Whereas the web’s ROI has proved rewarding, the possibilities in “mobile” have yet to be discovered. Just taking a quick look at the ubiquitous use of smart devices (Google’s Android, iPhone, etc.) should pique your interest. And rest assured, you won’t stumble across any hidden fees and dropped calls in this market. Lucky for you (and me), it's not too early to start taking the mobile market seriously and by following these simple yet key steps, the ability to “rethink possible” is just a few Google Analytics metrics away.

With these posts, I hope to share a few useful tips for marketing managers and business owners to better understand their mobile traffic and improve returns.

Can’t get good reception? (Pun intended). No problem! Just apply these three analytics tips. The first one is here, and the other two will follow in blog posts in the coming weeks:

1. Look for Mobile Trends
The number of visits to your site might not be the most attractive key performance indicator (KPI). Yes, that's exactly what I am saying- more traffic does NOT always translate to more sales! In fact, I’ve seen plenty of sites with traffic through the roof and sales down the toilet. Instead, give your metrics more context and you’ll transform it from boring to sexy at twice the speed of light.

Here is an example: if I tell you that your month-over-month traffic is flat, well, that’s not very exciting (and you might want to have a serious talk with your demand generation manager). But if I tell you that, while your overall traffic was flat your mobile traffic has increased at a rate of 25%, it's a different story altogether. The graph below depicts this upward traffic trend.

So show some love to this KPI and monitor mobile traffic to your website. This can be easily done with Google Analytics by clicking on the “Mobile” reports under the “Visitors” Tab. Then, follow these action items to realize your true mobile trends, in context:

1.1 Set up an auto report to be sent to your inbox (daily, weekly or monthly)

1.2 If you are interested in monitoring specific thresholds, you can create a profile for mobile traffic and then create a custom alert that is emailed to you when these thresholds are met

1.3 Or, for the Ninja analyst, using the Google Analytics Data Export API & plug-in (e.g. shuffle point), pull this data automatically into your marketing dashboard

Note: You can still add more context to your metrics to determine how engaged your mobile visitors are. You can even trend it over time. This can be easily done by creating an advanced segment for the engagement metrics that are relative to your business (e.g. non-bouncing visits, visits with more than X minutes and viewed Y key pages, etc.)

(note: while the case study we're using is specific to an e-commerce business, the approach and analysis are applicable to all businesses, be it lead-generation or content or other business models. Also, for technical accuracy, the reports and analysis in these posts reflect users accessing your website from a high-end mobile device. Please see the technical note at the end of the posts on mobile sites as well as non-smart mobile devices).

Stay tuned for Part 2: Give Your Reports More Dollar Power, coming soon.


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