How do you eat an ele­phant? One bite at a time.”

I like this pop­u­lar lead­er­ship adage because it pro­vides a very visual image. Large and over­whelm­ing tasks (the ele­phants) are some­how man­age­able if taken in small “bites.” So, if the thought of imple­ment­ing mobile ana­lyt­ics feels over­whelm­ing, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.

Last week, I began this series on mobile ana­lyt­ics. We talked about how Fan­tasy Foot­ball is impos­si­ble to play with­out ana­lyt­i­cal tools. In the same way, you can­not be effec­tive in mobile mar­ket­ing with­out mobile ana­lyt­ics. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been show­ing you how to orga­nize for mobile suc­cess, make a busi­ness case for mobile, and more, but For­rester says that 54 per­cent of com­pa­nies sur­veyed in 2013 still don’t use any mobile analytics.

In response to that fact, today we will focus on get­ting started with mobile ana­lyt­ics by tak­ing small, bite-sized chunks. We’ll look at your orga­ni­za­tional objec­tives and the met­rics that you’ll need to assess move­ment toward those objectives.

Gain an Edge with Ana­lyt­ics, It’s More Than Reporting

As we begin our jour­ney deeper into mobile ana­lyt­ics, it’s impor­tant to point out that mobile ana­lyt­ics and report­ing are not the same thing. You may cur­rently gen­er­ate reports that tell you what hap­pened on your mobile Web or app, but reports don’t tell you what to do. The nuanced dif­fer­ence between ana­lyt­ics and report­ing, accord­ing to the McK­in­sey Global Insti­tute (MGI), is that ana­lyt­ics must “per­sist over time.” Ana­lyt­ics uses data in richer ways, look­ing at pat­terns over time, and then unlocks “the under­stand­ings of the root causes of a company’s suc­cess or fail­ure in serv­ing a customer.”

In “Big Data: What’s Your Plan?” MGI points out,

The tally of suc­cess­ful case stud­ies con­tin­ues to build, rein­forc­ing broader research sug­gest­ing that when com­pa­nies inject data and ana­lyt­ics deep into their oper­a­tions, they can deliver pro­duc­tiv­ity and profit gains that are 5 to 6 per­cent higher than those of the competition.”

Why does ana­lyt­ics result in greater pro­duc­tiv­ity and profit?

Ana­lyt­ics Keeps You Close to the Customer

In the era of customer-centricity (the cus­tomer is the cen­ter of mar­ket­ing) and mobile-centricity (the mobile device is the cen­ter of the customer’s uni­verse), it’s impor­tant to stay as close to the cus­tomer as pos­si­ble. In “iCon­sumer: Dig­i­tal Con­sumers Alter­ing the Value Chain,” MGI rec­om­mends “invest­ing in cus­tomer insight” as “cus­tomer behav­ior is rapidly chang­ing, demand­ing strong mar­ket intel­li­gence and cus­tomer insight func­tions.” The report goes on to note, “Seg­ments will get smaller and more pre­cise” as “the need to use data” wisely and cre­atively will get larger and more urgent. “Lead­ing play­ers will test and mea­sure just about every­thing – and, ‘big data,’ sys­tems will sup­port and guide them.”

How to Get Started with Mobile Analytics

Step 1 | Link Busi­ness Objec­tives to the Mobile Experience

For­rester Research in “Use Mobile Ana­lyt­ics to Build Mobile Advan­tage” sug­gests a sim­ple way to get started: Link your busi­ness objec­tives to the mobile expe­ri­ence. The closer your over­all busi­ness objec­tives can align to your activ­i­ties in mobile, the more focused you will be in car­ry­ing out your plans with pur­pose and inten­tion­al­ity. For­rester sug­gests think­ing through: “What are the busi­ness objec­tives of your mobile expe­ri­ence? Acquire vis­i­tors? Con­duct ecom­merce? Reduce costs?”

For exam­ple, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts set out to opti­mize its online cus­tomer expe­ri­ence using inte­grated ana­lyt­ics to help “iden­tify how cus­tomers nav­i­gate and inter­act with Hyatt web­sites.” Robert Fra­cassa, cor­po­rate man­ager of dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics at Hyatt says, “We use ana­lyt­ics for every­thing. If we’re going to redesign any­thing on our sites, we start by look­ing at our … data to see where peo­ple may be encoun­ter­ing prob­lems or drop­ping off, and how we can improve their experience.”

Hyatt recently extended its con­tent across chan­nels through the cre­ation of best-in-industry mobile apps. App func­tion­al­ity includes fea­tures such as “infor­ma­tion pub­lished to indi­vid­ual hotel web­sites is pub­lished auto­mat­i­cally to Hyatt’s iPhone app.” Through mobile ana­lyt­ics, Hyatt also “closely follow(s) trends on social media sites like Face­book to see what … cus­tomers there respond to.” Hyatt not only used mobile ana­lyt­ics “to make the case for the iPhone app” to its cus­tomers, but as a result, they iden­ti­fied a 400 per­cent increase in mobile vis­its in one year.

Step 2 | Define Mobile-Specific KPIs

Next, the “Get­ting Mobil­ity Right with Mobil­ity POST” report sug­gests defin­ing mobile-specific key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors (KPIs) that you can align with your busi­ness objec­tives. Once defined, you can use your KPIs to track your progress against your busi­ness objec­tives. Fur­ther­more, you can use KPIs and ana­lyt­ics “to refine your mobile ser­vices and make tech­nol­ogy deci­sions,” just as Hyatt Hotels and Resorts has done.  

In an inter­view with 25 mobile e-business exec­u­tives “who felt they were posi­tioned for suc­cess with mobile,” the fol­low­ing mea­sure­ment objec­tives made it to the list of the top five: 1) engage­ment, 2) task com­ple­tion, 3) rev­enue, 4) down­loads, and 5) log-ins. Of course, the KPIs for your busi­ness may vary from the list stated above.

Engage­ment + Rev­enue Go Hand-In-Hand

Engage­ment is sort of a catch-all cat­e­gory in mobile.

Engage­ment met­rics can include traf­fic, log-ins, and vis­its to your mobile web­site or mobile app. For exam­ple, the num­ber of weekly app launches pro­vides a clear-cut, simple-to-track met­ric. Typ­i­cally, a fre­quent app user will cor­re­late with more rev­enue for the busi­ness. Engage­ment met­rics can help you seg­ment users into cat­e­gories such as “first-time launch­ers,” “high-value loy­al­ists,” and “one launch and done.” At the min­i­mum, you need to put mobile ana­lyt­ics in place to track engagement.

The rev­enue met­ric is one of the eas­i­est KPIs to ana­lyze if your orga­ni­za­tion has commerce-enabled mobile ser­vices. Julie Ask of For­rester explains, “Retail­ers with more mature mobile strate­gies tend to pur­sue tac­tics (such as loy­alty pro­grams) or mod­el­ing exer­cises to track con­sumers across chan­nels.” Accord­ing to Ask, lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions track the entire pur­chase fun­nel, includ­ing data such as store loca­tion, price com­par­isons, and shop­ping cart pur­chases and removals.

Make a Plan and Keep It Simple

In “Big Data: What’s Your Plan?” the McK­in­sey Global Insti­tute sug­gests mak­ing a plan and keep­ing it sim­ple. Ide­ally, you will plan once a quar­ter, not once a year. The mobile and dig­i­tal worlds are shift­ing rapidly, and your plans need to keep pace.

While eBusi­ness pro­fes­sion­als need a mul­ti­year vision to put ini­tia­tives with a long lead time in gear, they must oper­ate in agile teams with devel­op­ment and con­stantly revisit their near-term priorities.”

Remem­ber that ele­phants are edi­ble one bite at a time. Start today by gath­er­ing your mobile team to define your busi­ness objec­tives and KPIs for mobile. It’s that simple.