Do You Need Mobile App Analytics, Web Analytics, or Both?

Companies are increasingly looking at mobile as a key channel within their organization, with mobile strategies evolving from the highest levels—the CMO or CIO under the direction of the CEO or CXO. Everyone wants to be part of the mobile movement. In some cases, business units are building local strategies around mobile on their own, and moving faster toward mobile than the rest of the organization.

The Mobile App Analytics Challenge

The challenge to developing an effective mobile strategy is in understanding the metrics. Everyone agrees that marketing campaigns should be data driven, but how do you build a mobile strategy when you don’t fully comprehend what measurements you need to be effective?

This is where an Omni channel marketing approach comes in. You look at all marketing channels as a portfolio and try to dynamically analyze results across the entire marketing spectrum. Then you attempt to figure out which channels are more effective, either over a period of time, during a specific season, or following major events.

Digital marketers modulate different parts of their Omni channel marketing in response to the metrics they analyze. Maybe it’s a major change to a website or deploying promotions through mobile apps. To ensure successful outcomes, they must bake in mobile app analytics. Before that can happen, however, they’ve got to have a handle on what mobile app analytics is all about.

Education around Mobile App Analytics

Web analytics has driven much of our marketing decisions over the past decade. We’ve mastered the art of analyzing number of visits, page views, time on page, and so on. But, if you turn the conversation to mobile app analytics, the mood changes. What do we measure? How do we prioritize some metrics over others? There’s a new jargon—a new set of criteria to analyze.

So, marketers need to be educated on how mobile behavior is measured. No longer can we rely on page visits; we’ve got user sessions. We have to break out mobile Web usage versus mobile app usage. Add to the equation a diverse set of screens—smartphones, tablets, wearables—and you can see there are more device- and action-oriented metrics to consider.

Key Metric Differentiators between Mobile App Analytics and Web Analytics

What are some of the differences between the two analytics frameworks? There are a number of unique mobile measurements that differentiate mobile marketing from Web-based practices.

Site Performance:

Site performance has been rooted in an IT-centric, back-end infrastructure. What is the server load? How do you respond to page slowdown? But with mobile, especially mobile apps, you’re looking at performance management based on device performance and platform throughput.

User Acquisition:

Mobile customers aren’t considered visitors, they’re users. So mobile app analytics is concerned with user acquisition. What kind of user acquisitions are you getting? Did a new user arrive through a beta acquisition or was it an organic acquisition? This metric is primarily focused on mobile app usage, where interactions are measured by engagement levels and not page views.

Active Users:

Next, we look at session logs. How often is your mobile app used? Daily? Monthly? Never? Digital-only leaders like Facebook and Twitter announce in their quarterly earnings reports how many monthly active users (MAU) they serve. Mobile app and mobile site engagement is critical to mobile app analytics because users are typically much more action-oriented than on desktops.

Average Revenue:

Average revenue per user (ARPU) is another metric that’s important in mobile app analytics, but ignored in traditional Web analytics. ARPU is tracked because of its position in the world of premium mobile apps, where a user downloads a mobile app for free then decides whether to upgrade to the premium version.

Lifetime Value:

Then there’s the concept of lifetime value, or LTV, for mobile app users. How long do they retain and use your mobile app? If you’ve acquired a bunch of users, that’s great, right? But now you’ve got to focus on retaining them. So, mobile app analytics programs look at app churn or retention rate.

The Need for Mobile App Analytics Talent

So you can see that, although the concept of analytics crosses both Web and mobile channels, the implications that stem from mobile are much different. Therefore, there’s a need for mobile experts in every digital marketing organization.

Talent familiar with traditional Web analytics needs to become familiar with these new metrics in the mobile world. So, as they examine the overall Omni channel portfolio, they can relate one set of metrics to the other and get an appreciation for what’s working and what’s not. They need to understand the implications of measuring app usage versus mobile usage, tablet behavior versus Web behavior.

What do you think? Do the differences between mobile and Web analytics require different resources and expertise altogether, or can you have that talent in the same person? It helps to have the right tools, such as those in the Adobe Marketing Cloud, to deliver the metrics in a manner that helps them fold in mobile app analytics effectively.