The Fantasy Football season is now in full swing. As a “team owner,” I pay attention to how my players are performing. Weekly, I check on key metrics and notice how they’re helping me move toward the ultimate objective of fielding “the best team based on players stats.” What would Fantasy Football be without the analysis of essential data? Imagine playing Fantasy Football without metrics. You and your friends would have to monitor every game and assess performance by taking notes while watching highlights. This would be tiresome and time consuming.

So my question to you is this: Why are so many of us implementing our mobile strategies without using any analytics tools? According to Forrester Research, “Only 46% of the eBusiness professionals surveyed have implemented a mobile analytics solution.” However, 60 percent indicate they have defined specific business objectives for mobile channels. This scenario is as absurd as playing Fantasy Football without metrics. My imperative to you today is to stop the insanity and start measuring mobile. In this two-part series, I will give you the basics on mobile analytics and show you how to get started.

What Is Mobile Analytics?

To put it simply, analytics is “the practice of using data to manage information and performance.” In a blog post on Big Data tools, Tim Waddell, Adobe’s director of online advertising management and analytics, explains it this way:

“Analytics takes information and makes it useful and actionable for an organization’s bottom line. For example, every data point that comes in when a person clicks, registers, or reads online content, provides information about that visitor. Analytics turns signals into traits—demographics, age, etc.—and those are turned into useful segments for marketing.”

Differences between Web and mobile analytics are subtle, but distinct. Brent Dykes, author of Web Analytics Action Hero, calls them “first cousins” and explains, “Mobile analytics is generally split between mobile web and mobile apps. Mobile web refers to when individuals use their smartphones or tablets to view online content via a mobile browser.” In the same way that marketers have used analytics tools to support the creation of optimal content for webpages, mobile analytics can be used to create optimal mobile Web and app experiences.

Why Bother With Mobile Analytics?

Why are mobile analytics important? Well, in case you haven’t noticed, the whole world has gone mobile. Mobile is the new epicenter of the marketer’s universe. Mobile is the central channel of all marketing channels. Why? Because people never put their mobile devices down. While watching TV, they’re checking their phones or using their iPads to browse the Web. While walking around, they’re talking and texting on smartphones. The ubiquitous nature of the mobile device makes it imperative that you begin to monitor what, exactly, is going on with your mobile apps and your mobile Web.

In “Advancing Analytics: How Insight Fuels the Marketing Engine,” CMO Council’s independent research revealed

“While many marketers are still struggling to get started, there is a distinct group of best-practice leaders who express confidence in their ability to construct, execute and measure campaigns that are data driven and customer focused. These marketers tend to have more fully embraced digital measurement and campaign execution platforms … (looking) to customer intelligence to continuously improve performance.”

With that said, mobile analytics can be used to improve your customer’s mobile experience. In Forrester’s “Use Analytics to Build Mobile Advantage” report, Julie Ask explains, “An app crashing or a website returning a 404 error will have an immediate impact on mobile app ratings and conversion rates. Analyzing performance helps eBusiness pros detect errors early and optimize campaigns in real time.”

What Can You Expect Mobile Analytics to Deliver?

You can expect mobile analytics to deliver insights that drive a superior customer experience.

Julie Ask explains, “insights gleaned from mobile analytics should first and foremost drive improvements in the customer experience.” An improved customer experience drives customer engagement and that in turn drives customer satisfaction and conversions, ultimately driving your bottom line upward. So, what does customer experience entail? Everything from the type of content that mobile users will see to the ease of task completion on mobile devices.

Analytics enables a deeper understanding of the marketplace, according to Nicole Rosner, VP of music and logo digital research at Viacom (formerly MTV Networks). As a media leader with almost 40 million Facebook fans and two million Twitter followers, Viacom is engaging online with a key demographic that is highly mobile. Rosner explains that analytics allows Viacom to “look at the different platforms that (their) users are on and understand … consumer content on mobile and tablet.” Rosner expounds on the power of analytics with mobile: “What’s resonating best on that platform versus a web experience, you really need to have those analytical insights to be able to make those decisions rather than just basically creating a web experience on mobile.” Rosner says that organizations must pay attention to data-driven insights; if you don’t, “you’re not going to optimize the experience for the user and you’re certainly not going to optimize the revenue opportunity on those platforms.”

Stop the Insanity, Start Measuring Mobile

In closing, remember that Fantasy Football is useless without metrics in the same way that mobile is not relevant without analytics. Check in next week for part two of this mobile analytics series, focusing on your business objectives and the metrics you’ll need in order to assess movement toward those objectives.