So mobile is the future, huh? How the heck do I measure that?

December 28, 2009 at 9:23 AM 7 comments

Lately, all I’ve been hearing about is how mobile is the future.  Mobile marketing is growing and will only continue to explode in the coming years.  My own work and curiosity makes me wonder how measurement will need to grow as mobile marketing does.

Recently I had the opportunity to have a good, long chat with two fabulous IT guys: Ryan and Adam.  And I have to say I felt more than a little nerdy as I chatted in the kitchen with two of my oldest friend’s significant others talking about user strings and Web servers, while a group of my oldest girlfriends sat in the living room and decided which male actor most represented each of them.

I asked these two IT guys what they knew about mobile and what they thought about its emergence.  Luckily, they were more than happy to tell me everything they know and where they think the industry is going.

Then I asked them this: how can we measure mobile marketing?

I told them a few things I knew clients would want to be able to measure, and they told me about tracking some usage through user strings.  And I think this is definitely a great start, but it won’t bring back as much data as I know will be needed moving forward.

As companies begin to use mobile more, they are going to want to understand how effective their campaigns are.  I wonder, is there a way to track mobile usage without building metrics into a mobile application or interface itself?  Is there a third party out there already tracking this kind of usage?

Adam and Ryan gave me a great start, but now I’m asking y’all to help me get farther.  How do I get enough data to be meaningful?


Entry filed under: Marketing, Measurement, PR metrics, Social Media. Tags: , , , .

Social media conversations: what would you want to know? How do you quantify influence?

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah  |  December 28, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    Depending on the type of mobile marketing you are utlizing there are multiple ways to measure results.
    The most-obvious and easiest is through text message marketing. With most providers, you are able to track usage through a backend system (see
    Another way is through mobile-only banner ads, which are measured similarly to the way online ads are measured.
    With things like iPhone applications, it’s also obviously measured by number of downloads & usage, etc.
    What other types of mobile ads am I missing? This is more-or-less everything I have used in the past.

    • 2. Rebecca Denison  |  December 28, 2009 at 12:26 PM

      We talked about things like that, but we struggled to really understand if there were metric in place that could really measure usage. I’m curious if I can measure not just how often but how an application is most often used? And I was unsure that this was a possibility?

      • 3. Sarah  |  December 29, 2009 at 4:50 PM

        I don’t know the details either…I’m sure you can measure usage. I guess I’m not sure, I don’t have an iPhone and have never used its apps…too poor! Do they open up through the phone itself, or through the network? If so, it’d probably have to be something that’s coded into the app itself. No idea!

  • 4. jpirrello  |  January 1, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Great post! I agree, we have a lot of work to do to be able to effectively measure mobile programs.

    User agent is great for understanding mobile usage of web sites. Pairing a user agent filter with whatever analytics package you already use (e.g. Google Analytics) you can drill down on usage patterns and behavior of just those mobile users.

    Augmented Reality will also play a role in measurement in the coming year.

    iPhone apps have some measurement available to them if the user has to authenticate. The login has to go through the app’s server so it’s easy to track that. Detailed usage for requests that don’t hit the app’s server would need to be coded in order to be tracked.

    I see a lot of parallels between mobile measurement now and web measurement 10 years ago. I expect over time we’ll see consolidation and agreement upon the metrics and tools.

    For now though, I’m enjoying being a part of the discovery!

  • 5. DR. WHAW? – January 12, 2009 « One true sentence.  |  January 12, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    […] mobile ROI by Dan Butcher — I had to include this article since just a few weeks ago, I wondered how we could possibly measure mobile.  While this does not answer all of my question about measuring mobile marketing, it definitely […]

  • 6. DR. WHAW? – January 14, 2010 « One true sentence.  |  January 14, 2010 at 10:42 PM

    […] up to Mobile by Adam Cahill — Just what I was looking for a few weeks ago when I wondered how the heck to measure mobile. This is a great introduction to how we can catch up with mobile technology because there is […]

  • 7. DR. WHAW? – February 3, 2010 « One true sentence.  |  February 3, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    […] Tracking by Paul Teitelman — I am so pumped to see this! I was just wondering a few weeks ago how to measure the new mobile craze. Can someone please try this out? Tell me how it is? While this doesn’t measure all aspects […]


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