Does my Mobile App cannibalize my Desktop Traffic?

This is one of the big questions that mobile marketers think about with cross platform analysis. Most of the time we assume that the mobile channel is taking visitors away from the desktop channel. A robust solution using Adobe Insight can marry data across platforms to answer the cross channel challenge, however, you can get started with cross platform analysis in SiteCatalyst by following the steps below. This solution takes behavioral data from your mobile report suite and imports it into your Desktop site report suite via classifications.

This solution requires that you have a common login or customer ID that is used across your desktop and mobile app, and that you are recording that customer ID in a SiteCatalyst variable.

In the mobile report suite, make sure you have set up classifications on the App Install date eVar as indicated in my post about Mobile Cohort Analysis. Use Report Builder or Data Warehouse to export the Customer ID by App Install month.

Customer ID by App Install Month

In your desktop report suite create a classification on the Customer ID eVar for “Mobile App Install Month.” Export the SAINT template. Paste the data from your mobile export for Customer ID and Install Month into the template and upload. **For those sites that have a very large customer base you may consider running this on a sample of Customer ID’s rather than the entire customer base.

Customer ID by App Install Month SAINT Import

In your desktop report suite run the classification report for Mobile App Install Month using the Visits metric. Select one cohort (like April 2012 Installs) and trend the report by month for 12 months. Now you can see desktop site visits for users that installed the Mobile App in April. The chart below shows that for this site, Visits to the desktop site fell for the group of users after the Mobile App was installed in April.

Desktop Visits by Mobile App Install CohortHowever, this is only the start of an analysis. Not all customers engage with the mobile channel in the same way, particularly in a multi-channel environment. Customer may not necessarily swap out mobile for desktop but use a combination of channels to engage with the company. So let’s go back to our mobile report suite export and get a little more complicated. This time export the Customer ID and Mobile App Install Month for different segments. For example, segment data for users that do transactions on the app versus those customers that do NOT do transactions on the app. (Or use any segment based on any engagement behavior like video views, games played, social shares, etc.) The example below indicates those customers that “YES” do transactions and those that “NO” do not do transactions on a support app.


Create a second classification on your desktop report suite Customer ID eVar for “Mobile App Transactions Segment” and import the SAINT file.

Classification Setup

Run the trended report for “Mobile App Transactions Segment” and see which types of users are visiting the desktop site more or less often after downloading the mobile app. You may need to overlay the report with a segment for the specific App Install Month to look at just one cohort of data, or use Report Builder to trend data within a subrelation.

Desktop Visits by Mobile App Segments

The blue bar in the chart shows that desktop site visits from users who do transactions on the mobile app, and the orange bar is for visits to the desktop site from users who do NOT do transactions on the mobile app. In this example, users who do transactions on their mobile app appear to visit the desktop site less often after app install. However, users who do NOT do transaction on their mobile app are visiting the desktop site as often as before app install. This starts the opportunity for further segmentation analysis around the mobile channel. Does the mobile app increase total brand engagement for the users that are not doing transactions on the app, but still using it to check-in? What kind of marketing or cross sell opportunities does this allow? Marketers must view customers not as mobile users or desktop users, but by how multiple channels contribute to the overall engagement with a unique visitor.

Watch the Advanced Mobile Analytics session recorded during Summit 2013 to view more about Mobile Analysis using Adobe Analytics.