Last week we published a new report titled Mobile Measurement Is A Customer Intelligence Imperative. I’ve been getting more questions recently from Forrester clients about measuring mobile browsing and applications, so it was definitely time to look seriously into the topic. As an added bonus, this report also gave me the opportunity to work with two of Forrester’s mobile consumer strategy rock stars: Julie Ask and Thomas Husson; if you are interested in mobile, I strongly recommend that you follow their work.

The topic of mobile measurement has become increasingly frequent in digital analytics circles, and it’s not hard to see why:

  • Consumer adoption of mobile is on the rise globally.
  • Smartphones and other devices such as tablets are improving user experiences with advances in usability and functionality to become hubs for productivity, communications, and entertainment.
  • Improved infrastructure — carrier networks and widespread WiFi availability — supports data-intensive mobile browsing and application interactions.

For all the talk about mobile, it is interesting to note that mobile lags behind other channels in measurement sophistication. Certainly there are legitimate obstacles that impede mobile measurement: relatively low traffic and revenue attributed to mobile traffic, technical challenges such as devices that do not accept cookies or run JavaScript, and a constantly changing lineup of devices and operating systems.

I feel that this report is an important call to action for Customer Intelligence professionals. Simply put, mobile isn’t going away, and it’s only going to get more important. You can’t hide from it; brands are getting mobile traffic today, whether they have a mobile strategy or not. How can organizations prepare for a mobile-centric world? Start measuring now to stay ahead of the curve!

Mobile provides a unique experience by way of the device form factor, usage patterns, carrier networks, and — most intriguing of all — location. Organizations need a mobile measurement strategy to tune experiences to the mobile medium and leverage mobile’s inherent advantages. Fortunately, CI pros have a couple of things working in their favor with mobile measurement:

  • The data is accessible. Mobile measurement generates a tremendous amount of useful information beyond number of mobile site visits or app store downloads. This data and its resulting metrics offer great visibility into how users interact with mobile websites and applications that can be utilized to design great mobile experiences.
  • Mobile measurement tools are readily available. Most organizations can easily acquire mobile measurement technology, as many solutions are currently available spanning a variety of functional capabilities and levels of investment. In fact you may already possess these capabilities within an existing measurement solution such as your web analytics platform.

Next up in my coverage of mobile measurement: the intersection of mobile and testing. I’m exploring how techniques such as A/B and multivariate testing can be applied to optimize mobile experiences. If you've done any work in this area, I would love to hear from you!

P.S. An interesting and timely side note, apparently investors see value in mobile measurement also. Earlier this week mobile application analytics vendor Localytics (they are mentioned in the report) announced that it had received a new round of funding. Congratulations to the Localytics team, it's very exciting to see investment activity in mobile measurement!