If you are like any of my clients you are probably asking one or more of the below questions:
1. How can I understand mobile visitors on my site?
2. Do I really need to invest in a pure mobile site if I don’t already have one or should I invest in an iPhone application?
3. Do I need to consider targeting my mobile users differently?
4. I already have a mobile site; please tell me the investment is well worth it!?
5. Is the Apple iPhone going to maintain its dominance in the mobile device market over the anticipated Palm Pre?
While I may have to leave the last point up for debate amongst other diehards out there, I do know that the first four questions are time and time again surfacing as critical points to a strategic discussion within our client base. I am currently working with many clients who are contemplating each question, and it has become increasingly important to address the ways in which Coremetrics can answer these questions and provide the necessary insight to help move our clients in the right direction.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will be discussing the various methods that our clients have taken toward answering these questions, explaining along the way, the best practices that are surfacing as a result of these analyses.
Topic One: Help Me Understand My Current Mobile Users
The first step toward understanding how mobile devices are playing a part in your online traffic is simply to identify if you have it, and to understand how meaningful it is to your business.
Assessing the impact that traffic has on your business means carefully selecting the right metrics that will serve as key performance indicators (KPIs). In other words, your traffic analysis reports must include metrics that are highly relevant to your business. Some example best practice KPIs we recommended for analyzing mobile activity are:
1. Page views per session
2. Error pages per session
3. Average time on site
5. Total Sessions
6. Unique Visitors
7. Session abandonment rates
Understanding the above or like KPIs can help you recognize the mobile traffic you currently have and how mobile activity should play a strategic part in future plans.
Let’s look at a potential mobile data scenario.
In the below scenario, notice that the Apple iPhone, Palm Centro and the Apple IPod Touch have the highest number of sessions, however, only the Apple devices are contributing to sales – a key business metric. Also notice that Gaming consoles are also getting in on the action as shown by activity from the Sony Playstation 3 (fourth in highest number of sessions – yet another key business metric) as well as the Nintendo Wii.
This initial insight yields the question, if I had a more mobile friendly site, would I see sales from my Palm Centro users? They are, after all, generating the second highest volume of sessions.
Once identified if you have a notable volume of mobile activity, the next key area to understand is how meaningful is that activity. To do that, you can try to answers questions, such as:
• Are these mobile visitors focusing on certain areas of your site?
• Are these visitors focused on browsing, learning, or researching? Or are they actually taking an action to convert?
• Are these visitors buying products, adding items to a wish list or converting by executing on a variety of conversion events on your site?
One of my clients was able to understand that while they were experiencing a notable volume of activity from iPhones, that activity was limited to people researching the company’s products. Visitors were not shopping through the iPhone. It became apparent that the mobile population was accessing the site to further research and contemplate the products they were interested in, but the buying occurred at a later date either in store or via their computer.
However, I have worked with other clients who identified another problem: it appeared that their visitors were not converting through mobile devices because it turns out their own sites did not allow for conversion due to incompatibility with mobile devices. These clients analyzed the number or access error pages per session, as well as departure page rate, and were able to understand that a significant increase in these two KPIs (as compared to standard computer based traffic) proved that visitors were unable to complete the conversion through mobile access. From this information, the client now has more data to show a positive argument for investing in a mobile site.
As the above two cases highlight, it is important to identify what activity your mobile visitors are focused on. Are these visitors trying to convert but are not able to, or are they simply augmenting their decision and conversion process through additional channels? Answering these questions can yield tremendous insights into how meaningful mobile activity is today and whether there is an opportunity to capture additional revenue and conversion through adapting to the mobile population.