Nearly every day I read arti­cles on Mobile Mar­keter about busi­nesses launch­ing new mobile ini­tia­tives: from mobile ad cam­paigns to iPhone apps and from enhanced ven­dor ser­vices to strate­gic part­ner­ships. Even after cut­ting through the hype, its obvi­ous enter­prises large and small are scal­ing up their invest­ment in mobile. Yet, as I read news feeds such as these and dia­logue with cus­tomers, prospects, and part­ners one theme remains con­sis­tent: many mobile ini­tia­tives launch with lit­tle or no ana­lyt­ics and opti­miza­tion strat­egy beyond very basic met­rics like click-through rates or down­loads. A col­league, Matt Langie, high­lighted this theme in his blog six months ago in a post about mobile ana­lyt­ics.

Inter­est in Mobile Ana­lyt­ics Lags Mobile Web Usage
The divide is also appar­ent when com­par­ing the per­cent­age of analytic-related searches which include mobile key­words to the per­cent­age of page views which are gen­er­ated by mobile devices. While mobile ana­lytic search vol­ume is less than .5% of all ana­lytic related searches, many web­sites are see­ing between 1.5% and 10% of total page views orig­i­nat­ing from mobile devices. For web­sites heav­ily invest­ing in mobile ini­tia­tives, page requests from mobile devices can be even higher—35%+ of the total page views in some cases. In other words, web usage from mobile devices is accel­er­at­ing but many busi­nesses haven’t fully engaged ana­lyt­ics and opti­miza­tion efforts for the channel.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
If your enter­prise is launch­ing (or has already launched) mobile spe­cific ini­tia­tives, you should ensure an opti­miza­tion strat­egy has been for­mu­lated and mea­sure­ment for the ini­tia­tives has been deployed. Ini­tial efforts in any “emerg­ing” space have sig­nif­i­cant oppor­tu­nity to build the busi­ness. How­ever these efforts are more sus­tain­able in the long term if the ROI of the invest­ment can be demon­strated through ana­lyt­ics and then improved through optimization.

Your fledg­ling mobile ini­tia­tives may be wildly suc­cess­ful or they may need tweak­ing. Either way, the long-term suc­cess of such efforts may depend on your abil­ity to mea­sure, ana­lyze, and opti­mize them.

Mea­sure
The first step in quan­ti­fy­ing and improv­ing ROI for a mobile ini­tia­tive is to mea­sure the effort. The pur­pose of today’s post is to dis­cuss mea­sure­ment strate­gies for some of the most com­mon chan­nels includ­ing mobile opti­mized sites, mobile appli­ca­tions, mobile cam­paigns, and mobile video. The next sev­eral sec­tions will detail how to approach the tech­ni­cal imple­men­ta­tion of these ini­tia­tives so if you’re not a devel­oper, now is a good time to reach out to your favorite engi­neer or tech lead.

Mobile Opti­mized Sites
When deploy­ing mea­sure­ment for a mobile opti­mized site, there are two main parts to the imple­men­ta­tion: (1) the tag­ging method­ol­ogy (i.e., JavaScript, man­ual page cod­ing, server-side script­ing, packet sniff­ing, log file records) and (2) the data trans­port mech­a­nism (i.e., image bea­con, XML, direct HTTP request, FTP—for log-file analysis).

The most com­mon mea­sure­ment approach for tag­ging and trans­port on mobile opti­mized sites is to lever­age server-side script­ing to gen­er­ate a for­mat­ted request either through cre­ation of an image sent back to the page which the device then requests from the data col­lec­tion server or by gen­er­at­ing an HTTP or XML request which is sent directly to the data col­lec­tion server when the device requests the page.

In the Site­Cat­a­lyst v14.6 release, Omni­ture sig­nif­i­cantly enhanced sup­port for this method of data col­lec­tion by adding a class which han­dles tag­ging, for­mat­ting, and trans­port­ing requests. Imple­men­ta­tion details for the new mea­sure­ment library can be found in the Help area of Site­Cat­a­lyst. Just login and go to Help > Sup­port­ing Docs > Man­u­als > Mea­sure­ment Library (PHP).

Essen­tially, the new class allows mobile imple­men­ta­tions to closely resem­ble stan­dard web­site imple­men­ta­tions which ref­er­ence a few lines of page code, uti­lize an exter­nal library, and ensure best prac­tices are fol­lowed. The main dif­fer­ence being the stan­dard web­site imple­men­ta­tion lever­ages JavaScript whereas the new mea­sure­ment library lever­ages a server-side language.

If the new class doesn’t meet your need, you can still deploy mea­sure­ment by using a server-side script to gen­er­ate an image bea­con, a direct HTTP request, or an XML request. Once basic mea­sure­ment has been deployed, I sug­gest review­ing the Mobile Imple­men­ta­tion Man­ual to ensure you are lever­ag­ing Omniture’s best prac­tices for imple­ment­ing mobile sites. The guide can be found in the Omni­ture Knowl­edge Base under imple­men­ta­tion man­u­als and is titled “Mobile Device Reporting.”

Mobile Appli­ca­tions
The 1.5+ bil­lion iPhone apps down­loaded have cer­tainly caused a big stir. If you are involved in mobile ini­tia­tives within the orga­ni­za­tion you’ve prob­a­bly con­sid­ered or been involved in the release of a mobile appli­ca­tion on one or more pop­u­lar mobile plat­forms (iPhone, Black­berry, Android, Palm Pre, Sym­bian, etc.).

Although some cus­tomers have been mea­sur­ing mobile appli­ca­tion usage with Omni­ture for years either using the XML API or Data Sources, Omni­ture sig­nif­i­cantly enhanced sup­port for mea­sur­ing inter­ac­tions with mobile apps in two releases this year (Jan­u­ary & July). The new method­ol­ogy allows cus­tomers to lever­age Omni­ture libraries native to the plat­form the appli­ca­tion is writ­ten in.

For exam­ple, to deploy mea­sure­ment for an iPhone app you sim­ply embed the Omni­ture iPhone com­po­nents into the exist­ing iPhone app, cus­tomize vari­ables, and call the Omni­ture rou­tine (track or track­link) to send the ana­lyt­ics. The imple­men­ta­tion is very sim­i­lar for the other sup­ported mobile app plat­forms. One advan­tage to this style of deploy­ment is mea­sure­ment can be deployed very quickly—less than an hour for a basic imple­men­ta­tion in some cases.

If you’d like to review the spe­cific imple­men­ta­tion steps for the platform(s) you will be launch­ing your app on, you can find step-by-step imple­men­ta­tion guides in the Knowl­edge Base. Just login to Site­Cat­a­lyst and go to Help > Sup­port­ing Docs > Man­u­als > App Mea­sure­ment for Android/Blackberry/iPhone/Symbian (imple­men­ta­tion steps for Palm can be found in the last post on Palm Pre app mea­sure­ment).

If the native libraries aren’t the right fit, you can still deploy a mea­sure­ment solu­tion using XML, Data Sources, or the new server-side mea­sure­ment library. Details on how to imple­ment these meth­ods can be found in the knowl­edge base.

Mobile Cam­paigns (Ban­ner, SEO, SEM, Bar­code, Mes­sag­ing, Wid­gets, Book­marks, E-mail, etc.)
Deploy­ing mea­sure­ment for mobile cam­paigns almost can’t be over­sim­pli­fied. Mea­sur­ing mobile cam­paigns which drive users back to a web­site can be split into two parts: (1) pro­vid­ing a unique url which dis­tin­guishes the cam­paign from other entry meth­ods, and (2) cre­at­ing a mech­a­nism for send­ing this cam­paign iden­ti­fier to Omniture.

To accom­plish #1, it’s usu­ally best to set­tle on a unique URL query para­me­ter which iden­ti­fies cam­paigns and pair that with an iden­ti­fy­ing value unique to the cam­paign. For exam­ple, a link encoded in a bar­code might look some­thing like the following:

bar code

Once the QR bar­code has been scanned with a reader, it’s decoded to a URL that looks like this: http://​omni​ture​.com/​?​s​_​s​c​i​d​=qr.

The URL can then be accessed on the device to take the user to Omni​ture​.com.

Once the user accesses the link, you’ll want to ensure mea­sure­ment has been deployed which picks up these cam­paign codes and places them in the cor­re­spond­ing Omni­ture vari­able (usu­ally the cam­paign vari­able which appears as v0 in the query string). If you access the Omni­ture link above, you will notice the value ‘qr’ shows up in the cam­paign vari­able (v0).

To mod­ify your track­ing bea­con and accom­plish #2 with server-side code you could deploy some­thing like the PHP code below (sim­i­lar capa­bil­i­ties are avail­able in other server-side lan­guages). Often the busi­ness will have already stan­dard­ized on a sin­gle cam­paign iden­ti­fier and it’s a best prac­tice to use the same iden­ti­fier for mobile cam­paigns. The exam­ple below assumes ‘cmp’ is the query string para­me­ter being used to uniquely iden­tify the campaign.

Sam­ple PHP

$campaign=$_GET['cmp'];

echo "<img src=\"http://cname.domain.com/b/ss/rsid/5/123456?v0=".$campaign."\" width=\"5\" height=\"5\" border=\"0\" alt=\"\" />";
?>

Sam­ple PHP Using New Mea­sure­ment Library


$s->$campaign=$_GET['cmp'];

echo $s->track();
?>

Adding mea­sure­ment for SEO efforts is slightly dif­fer­ent since you will need to pass along the page’s refer­rer. If your deploy­ment will be using the server-based mea­sure­ment class, col­lec­tion of the refer­rer will be done auto­mat­i­cally. If not, here’s how to pass along the refer­rer as part of your mea­sure­ment beacon.

Sam­ple PHP

$page_referrer=$_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'];

echo "<img src=\"http://cname.domain.com/b/ss/rsid/5/123456?r=".$page_referrer."\" width=\"5\" height=\"5\" border=\"0\" alt=\"\" />";
?>

Mobile Video
A recent mar­ket study by Transpera and Insigh­t­Ex­press showed users of mobile video exhibit behav­iors that make them a key demo­graphic for adver­tis­ers. The study uncov­ered other inter­est­ing tid­bits which show the value of this uniquely engaged demo­graphic. Regard­less of the indus­try, if your busi­ness is pro­vid­ing mobile video, there is a sig­nif­i­cant oppor­tu­nity to max­i­mize the impact of video on KPIs (i.e. seg­ment mobile video users, opti­mize video usage, improve ad sales posi­tion­ing, etc.).

Regard­less of the desired opti­miza­tion, the first step is to ensure usage of mobile videos is being mea­sured. While sev­eral viable approaches exist for cap­tur­ing mobile video usage depend­ing on device capa­bil­i­ties, deliv­ery for­mat, and video access method, we’ll just touch on the most com­mon use case—accessing video through a link on a mobile-optimized site. Most of the tech­ni­cal steps to deploy video mea­sure­ment in this sce­nario have already been cov­ered in the prior post on Mea­sur­ing mobile user actions in Site­Cat­a­lyst.

While you could just use the method cov­ered in the post to incre­ment desired cus­tom vari­ables and the cus­tom link report, why not use some of the out-of-the-box video report­ing capa­bil­i­ties? To lever­age the stan­dard Omni­ture video reports, you need addi­tional video para­me­ters not cov­ered in the prior post.

To cus­tomize the link redi­rec­tion method, you’ll set the page event type (pe) to indi­cate the type of user inter­ac­tion being mea­sured is media (pe=media) and you’ll set the media para­me­ters with their cor­re­spond­ing attrib­utes of the video being viewed. (medi­aName, medi­aLength, medi­aPlayer, medi­aSes­sion). In this case, we don’t know what the user’s ses­sion will ulti­mately look like so we set medi­aSes­sion to 0–0.

Here’s a work­ing example:

Orig­i­nal site link: <a href=“http://www.omniture.com/en/product_tours/sitecatalyst13”>SiteCatalyst Prod­uct Tour</a>

Rewrit­ten link: <a href=“http://metrics.yoursite.com/b/ss/reportsuiteid/5.4/REDIR/?url=http://www.omniture.com/en/product_tours/sitecatalyst13&pe=media&mediaName=D=url&mediaLength=120&mediaPlayer=mobile&mediaSession=0–0″>SiteCatalyst Prod­uct Tour</a>

The usage of the dynamic vari­able flag (D=) in the exam­ple above will result in the video url being used as the name in the video reports. To cus­tomize the reports to show a more friendly value, sim­ply replace the value in medi­aName with the desired name.

Note: Some of the Omni­ture video func­tion­al­ity will not be avail­able when using this method. For exam­ple, since the actual sec­onds of the video con­sumed are not avail­able at the time the link is clicked, the fol­low­ing reports (video seg­ments viewed, time spent on video) and the fol­low­ing met­rics (video views X-100, Aver­age View Time) are not available.

Get Code & Docs
We’ve cov­ered basic ana­lyt­ics imple­men­ta­tion steps for mobile opti­mized sites, mobile apps, mobile cam­paigns, and mobile video. How­ever, as you begin imple­ment­ing the var­i­ous solu­tions cov­ered, I rec­om­mend access­ing tech­ni­cal doc­u­ments and code for each mea­sure­ment method­ol­ogy you plan on deploy­ing. The tech­ni­cal docs men­tioned in this arti­cle can be found by log­ging in to Site­Cat­a­lyst and brows­ing to Help > Sup­port­ing Docs > Man­u­als; and code libraries for mobile opti­mized sites and mobile apps can be found by log­ging in to Site­Cat­a­lyst and brows­ing to Admin > Admin Con­sole > Code Manager.

1 comments
David
David

Thank you, that does explain how this is possible and the benefits of using QR barcode for more details campaign tracking. The question is how many people are a going to utilise this and does offering bonus incentives such as mobile content help increase those using the QR barcode and how does this affect the campaign conversion rates. Watching interactions with people they still seem to be using mobile internet devices such as iphones/palm sitting next to their laptop or computer. This could spike campaign results as they are not technically the same visitors so its very hard to filter out.