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.

Steinhour-chart

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.

barriers

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.

conversions

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.

device

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.]

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