In my role as an indus­try strate­gist at Adobe, I keep a close watch on trends and bench­marks for the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions indus­try.  Over the course of the last year, as part of var­i­ous bench­mark­ing efforts, we’ve observed mobile traf­fic to telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions web­sites quickly reach­ing, and in some cases exceed­ing, even the largest retail­ers.  Most tele­coms report 25–40% of traf­fic to their web­site is mobile, which is on-par with lev­els recently reported by Ama­zon for its US based traf­fic.  The oppor­tu­nity to engage cus­tomers in mobile chan­nel is sub­stan­tive and has become table stakes for mobile net­work operators.


Visit share total and by device type for tele­com indus­try and wire­less oper­a­tors.
(Source Adobe Dig­i­tal Index July 2014)

With a high per­cent­age of customer/prospects engag­ing through mobile and the explo­sive growth of this trend, tele­com orga­ni­za­tions rec­og­nize the oppor­tu­nity and the need to invest in mobile.  A study soon to be released by Adobe and Econ­sul­tancy on August 27, 2014, reveals that mobile is one of the top three oppor­tu­ni­ties for oper­a­tors in 2014, and invest­ments in mobile are following. [Update: Blog Sum­mary and link to full study may be found here.] To wit, a large per­cent­age of tele­com respon­dents said that their company’s mobile spend was more than $7.5 mil­lion. In the US, the invest­ment exceeds that of EMEA and is likely dri­ven by the fact that US com­pa­nies get on aver­age 10% more Web traf­fic from mobile than their EMEA counterparts.

While our research has found that spend on mobile mar­ket­ing and tech­nol­ogy is high across the board, the impact of these invest­ments is often dimin­ished because of the lack of mar­ket­ing inte­gra­tion.  Only one-third of tele­com com­pa­nies report mobile as fully inte­grated with other chan­nels.  Not sur­pris­ingly, it is the tech­nol­ogy plat­forms inte­gra­tion itself, along with orga­ni­za­tional struc­ture that most impede uni­fied mar­ket­ing activities.


If we zero in on shop­ping con­ver­sion, it’s easy to see the need for inte­grated mar­ket­ing.  Analy­sis per­formed by Adobe while bench­mark­ing wire­less oper­a­tor retail prop­er­ties shows mobile con­ver­sion lags desk­top con­ver­sion.  How­ever, look­ing at the con­ver­sion gap through the lens of device siloes doesn’t tell the full story.

In fact, a recent study of smart­phone buy­ing behav­ior exem­pli­fies the need for an inte­grated mar­ket­ing approach.  Cus­tomers who aban­doned the shop­ping cart were sent a retar­get­ing email.  Con­ver­sion responses to the email across PC, tablet, and smart­phone were ana­lyzed by device type.  It was found that the major­ity of pur­chases made on any device began with a shop­ping ses­sion on that same device.  It is also inter­est­ing to note that one-third of smart­phone con­ver­sions come from shop­pers who browsed on their PC.


The key to suc­cess here is vis­i­bil­ity into brows­ing behav­ior and con­ver­sion across chan­nels, giv­ing full con­text that informs improve­ment. The abil­ity for mar­keters to align the tim­ing of retar­get­ing emails in light of device usage pat­terns has the poten­tial to sig­nif­i­cantly enhance the per­for­mance of a retar­get­ing cam­paign.  For exam­ple, aban­don­ing a cart while shop­ping on a PC sug­gests that send­ing an email imme­di­ately would max­i­mize the pos­si­bil­ity for a con­ver­sion event. A sec­ond retar­get­ing email to that same vis­i­tor later in the day within the time of high smart­phone and tablet usage could result in fur­ther improve­ments in con­ver­sion rates.


To assess the suc­cess or fail­ure of this sort of tim­ing tac­tic, one must have

  • an inte­grated view of brows­ing and con­ver­sion behav­iors across these engage­ment channels,
  • abil­ity to test tim­ing of cam­paigns across tar­get audi­ence seg­ments, and
  • auto­mated cam­paign man­age­ment and deliv­ery across engage­ment channels.

Unfor­tu­nately, Adobe’s research shows mul­ti­chan­nel cam­paign man­age­ment is less of a pri­or­ity for tele­com orga­ni­za­tions, which sug­gests com­pa­nies in this ver­ti­cal might be under­es­ti­mat­ing the impor­tance of inte­grated com­mu­ni­ca­tions across dif­fer­ent touch points. While mobile holds great promise to enable telco’s to deliver on busi­ness objec­tives, suc­cess­ful strate­gies for mobile must be con­ceived and deliv­ered as part of an inte­grated mar­ket­ing effort that pro­vides vis­i­bil­ity and focus on other cus­tomer engage­ment channels.

Learn more about how mar­ket­ing teams are improv­ing con­ver­sion through cross chan­nel mar­ket­ing efforts.

We will be pub­lish­ing the full sur­vey on August 27, 2014. [Update: You can now get the full study here.]  In the mean­time, be on the look­out for my blog post that sum­ma­rizes our find­ings. [Update: My sum­mary blog may be found here.]