“Downloads are the mobile equivalent of ‘Hits’ for a website,” quips Nick Earl, senior manager of digital media analytics at A+E Networks. “It’s not 1995 anymore, we need to move on!”
According to Earl, downloads are “a great metric for press releases, but that’s about it.” He pointedly asks, “Does it tell us anything about how many users we’re going to have next month? Does it tell us anything about engagement? Does it tell us anything that can help us improve our app?”
If you don’t know already, the answer is no.
So what can the creators of Duck Dynasty teach us about mobile analytics? You’d be surprised. Over my years in mobile, I’ve noticed one pattern: the television and film industry tends to be on the leading edge of technology adoption. Why? Well, it’s not only part of their heritage, but they also understand that their audiences can quickly become more connected to digital media than traditional media. As I said in previous articles, we can thank early adopters, such as A+E, for both their trials and errors and their success stories. Like A+E, we can learn to create our own organizational response to the inevitable: the “Mobile First” phenomenon that is sweeping the globe.
Adobe is thrilled that the leaders at A+E made themselves available to present at our Adobe Summit last month. I believe that they have a lot to teach those who are eager and willing to learn.
A+E’s Phenomenal Mobile Success
In case you don’t know much about A+E, let me briefly introduce them. A+E Networks is an award-winning global media content company reaching over 300 million households in over 150 countries. Among its most well-known television channels are the A&E, HISTORY, and Lifetime channels with popular shows such as Duck Dynasty, Vikings, and Dance Moms.
Do You Know How to Measure Mobile?
If you don’t, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many have already “rolled out” a mobile channel or campaign with no structure in place to effectively measure the success or effectiveness of our mobile activities.
I’m going to repeat the same question that I posed in my two-part series, “Stop the Insanity and Start Measuring Mobile”:
“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.’”
Does your organization understand the behavioral differences between mobile app and mobile Web visitors? Do you have the data and analytics to support that understanding? Today, Adobe offers mobile analytics capabilities for the Adobe Marketing Cloud. If you’re not yet aware of these advances in mobile app analytics, you can read more about our app-centric interface here.
Nick Earl from A+E explains, “We’ve been excited to analyze the differences in behavior between mobile app and mobile web visitors by virtue of having comparable measurement through Adobe.” At Summit, Nick discussed some of the “differences in peak usage times and user tasks/goals” and how those differences have been used to drive A+E’s successful mobile first strategy.
A “Mobile First” Pattern for Success
A+E perfectly demonstrates the pattern of successful organizational responses to mobile use, leading to mobile optimization that I discussed in “Optimize that App: Why Guess When We’ve Got Science”:
Is this a pattern that your organization regularly practices? If not, read on to learn from A&E.
Nick says, “This is really the mindset we try to have at A+E, where we make analysis a key part of the process for mobile just like it is for web. We start out by identifying some kind of business question like ‘How can we improve engagement.’ Then we do some analyses to try to determine what’s different about users who are engaged vs. those who aren’t. Hopefully that leads to some insights for opportunities that we can then put into action and then evaluate the results. This is an ongoing process, so we take that knowledge with us into the next cycle and start the process over again.”
For example, in one of their mobile apps, A&E released an update that includes a “Just Added” screen. Did it lead to an increase in time spent? By using the process described above, A&E discovered that a “Just Added” screen update led to a significant increase in time spent. However, the update introduced a decrease in time spent for specific devices that led to troubleshooting conversation with the app team.
We’re Promoting our Apps from our Websites. Is it Working?
To help drive user acquisition, A&E has placed ads on their website for smartphone and tablet visitors. Using the mobile analytics capabilities from Adobe, they were able to determine that about 6 percent of Android installs were being driven by interstitial ads. According to Nick, “this was a surprising insight; these interstitials were driving a non-trivial amount of new users to our apps that we didn’t really know about until we put mobile analytics in place.”
Weren’t Able to Attend Adobe Summit?
No worries, Nick’s session was recorded and you can listen to him discuss A+E’s organizational processes for building and marketing their apps, which teams are responsible for what, app engagement, use of analytics, how they measure app ROI, and more. In the Marketing Analytics track, search for S307: Mobile analytics: App-centric insights for teams thinking “Mobile First”.
Mobile marketers, if you’re looking to move beyond the measurement of app downloads, follow the lead of companies like A&E and consider using services specifically designed for apps, such as the tools available in Adobe Mobile services.