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.