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When Was the Year of Mobile?

It’s almost the end of another year and with the end of the year, people in the business of mobile marketing often reflect on whether the upcoming year will be the Year of Mobile?  My contention is that the year of mobile has already come and gone.  We are now instead, living in the AGE OF MOBILE.


The Year of Mobile

Nobody knows for sure when the “Year of Mobile” was, but it has surely already happened.

You do not hear much anymore about when was the “Year of Mobile,” but it used to be the title of numerous articles that one saw towards the end of the year in the late 2000’s.  Of course, the premise that one particular year could be the turning point for an industry that has evolved incredibly quickly is ludicrous in the first place.

But, let’s take a shot at this one anyway.   And, to discuss mobile, it simply makes sense to discuss the two most influential companies in the business—Apple and Google.

In 2007, Apple developed the first iPhone.  It was a game changer.  The iPhone would change the way we thought of mobile, because mobile was no longer just about making a cellular phone call.  Apple’s new creation changed all that as the mobile phone evolved into what it is today—a multi-dimensional communications tool.

But, of course, smartphone penetration by age group took a while to really catch on and have enough mass appeal to be a significant factor.

In 2010, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google (now called “Alphabet Inc.”) announced, at the Mobile World Congress, that its company would develop for mobile devices first and everything else, including the then ubiquitous desktop computer, would be secondary.  This was the start of the buzzword “mobile-first” as a philosophy of doing business.  Today, mobile is the single most important medium of communication in the world.  Mobile has gone from a nice thing to have to a must have for forward thinking businesses.

So when was the “Year of Mobile?”  In my mind, it is 2010, because it was the introduction of the moniker “mobile-first.”  Today, sagacious businesses know that a mobile-first strategy is the single best way to succeed long term.


50 KPI’s to Measure Mobile Marketing

What KPI’s to Choose to Measure Mobile Marketing Effectiveness

No matter what you do in life,  you need to set goals for yourself.  Mobile is no different, only we don’t call them goals, we call them key performance indicators, or KPI’s.

KPI's for mobile marketing

MOBILE KPI’S: Purchases remain the ultimate mobile marketing KPI.

A key performance indicator is a business metric used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization or a specific effort related to that organization.

There are many different end result KPI’s to consider.  Obvious ones might be increased sales, increased memberships, or similar.  But, often increased sales figures, especially for luxury items, are not immediately available and even if they are, they may not be an effect of the mobile marketing promotion.  Therefore, early-term KPI’s are considered so that the business can get a more immediate evaluation of the effectiveness of the campaign.

Accordingly, choosing the right KPI’s relies on a good understanding of the right factors for the organization to evaluate.  Such KPI’s will likely vary based on the department doing the evaluating.  What is important to marketing, for instance, may not be as important to the sales or finance departments.

Effective KPI’s are often not financially related, even though increased sales is often the ultimate, and most obvious, outcome of a an effective marketing strategy.

Key performance indicators work best if they are:

  • timely and able to be measured frequently.
  • simple and easy for all involved to understand.
  • team based so that all departments are pulling together for success and there’s no finger pointing later.
  • based on factors that have had significant impact in the past.
  • acted upon and approved by senior management.
  • able to be evaluated and analyzed to lead to future success.

Choosing the right KPI’s for your organization is paramount to evaluating the success of a mobile effort.  Too often, businesses blindly adopt KPI’s that others in the industry like to evaluate and base the success of the program based on it.  An example of a KPI that is often improperly overused in mobile is click-through rate.  Clicks through can be an important KPI, but if the message is misunderstood or exaggerated, it could result in a great click through rate, but poor sales conversion.  Also, a click through on a Mommy blog may not be as valuable as one from a Huffington Post article.

Be sure that your organization starts with the basics, understands the goals of the promotion, and how it plans on achieving them.  The process should be an iterative process that involves feedback from multiple department managers and those implementing the details of the campaign.  Then, the goals need to be understood by all employees who are involved in the process of attempting to reach a particular KPI goal.

With mobile marketing revolution, there are many different KPI’s that you could consider based on the type of mobile marketing effort that you are employing.  Here are a few of the most often used ones.

  • Active users — Usually judged based on daily active users (DAU) or monthly active users (MAU).  These are your best customers and ones you need to learn more about so that you can continue to improve on the product.
  • Ad revenue — Total advertising revenue from the app or mobile website.
  • App downloads — How many consumers have downloaded the app.
  • App revenue — Gross sales from the app or upgrades after a free app download.
  • App reviews — It’s another thing that you need to get off to a quick start with to gain high app store rankings.  The quantity and quality of the reviews matter, so call out some favors when your app first hits the stores.
  • App store rank — The higher you rank in the download lists in the app store, the more likely that you are going to get continued downloads.  It’s why it’s so important to get off to a quick start when you first submit the app.
  • Call tracking — Number of calls generated.  This is often measured by companies by using a unique phone number to track call statistics.
  • Click-through rate — Of the consumers that see your offer, what is the rate of those that are clicking through to the landing page of the offer?  This rate is often inflated based on bots that are doing the clicking.
  • Completion rate — The rate at which mobile video viewers watched until the end of the video.
  • Conversion rates  — The percentage of users, or visitors, that do the action that you are soliciting, such as making a purchase or registering their information.
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) — How much did it cost the business to obtain that app download, the text message opt-in, or the sale?
  • Cost per click (CPC) — Cost to generate a click through.
  • Cost per install (CPI) — Cost to drive the installation of the app.
  • Cost per lead (CPL) — Cost to generate a lead.
  • Customer satisfaction scores — Usually derived from follow up messaging.
  • Delivery rate — The percentage of text messages that were successfully delivered.
  • Failure rate — Usually an SMS KPI, it reports the number of messages that were unable to be delivered.
  • Frequency — The number of times that the average person has seen your marketing message.  Frequency is certainly not unique to mobile marketing and can be used to compare the effectiveness of a mobile campaign versus a traditional advertising campaign.
  • Gross impressions — The total number of times that the message has been seen, regardless of whether the same person saw it multiple times.  Reach times frequency equals gross impressions.
  • Hits — Its the most basic KPI and has probably been around the longest.  In the dot com boom days, hits, not revenue were the source of the often times ridiculous valuations of companies.
  • In-app purchases — Total sales made while in the app.
  • Items in cart — Average number of products being purchased per order.
  • Keyword tracking —  A great way to track the effectiveness of different promotions for your SMS campaign is to use different keywords for each medium.
  • Leads — The number of consumers that have indicated interest in a product and that are now being turned over to sales or marketing to follow up or continue marketing to.
  • Lifetime value — What a customer is worth to the business over a lifetime.  This is usually matched against acquisition costs to determine if the marketing is cost effective.
  • Lift — Increased store traffic.  Often also called “in-store visits.”
  • Load time — How quickly your mobile website loads.  In the app business, it’s known as “app launch.”  Cutting seconds off of your load time will lead to improvement; people today are not known for being very patient.
  • Loyalty programs — Statistics on the number of customers engaged in a mobile loyalty program.
  • Mobile emails — Percent of promotional emails being read on a mobile device.
  • Mobile traffic — Percent of web traffic coming from a mobile device.
  • New customers — It’s an obvious one, but you can bet the boss is measuring it.
  • Opt-ins — How many customers are agreeing to receive your SMS marketing messages.  Also known as “list growth.”
  • Opt-out rate — What percentage of opt-ins are replying with STOP to be removed from future text message marketing.  If you get a flurry of opt-outs, perhaps you are sending too many messages, or too many irrelevant messages to your database.
  • Organic searches — The percentage of your overall traffic on the mobile website that is generated from search engine clicks.
  • Page visits — Average pages visited per user in the app or on the mobile website.
  • Permissions — How many people that downloaded the app that also registered their personal information.
  • Purchases — How many people bought.
  • Push notifications opened — What percentage of the app push messages are actually being opened.
  • Reach — Total number of unique consumers that your message has reached.  Along with frequency, this is another statistic that can be compared against traditional media.
  • Redemption rate — Number of mobile coupons that were redeemed.
  • Retention rate — It determines what percentage of users or buyers are coming back again to purchase or use the product.
  • Revenue per user (RPU)  — Revenue divided by total users.
  • Session length  — Naturally, a longer session length should indicate greater engagement with an app or mobile website.  If consumers are leaving quickly, it’s probably because they are not getting what they thought they would.
  • Social shares — Social media shares prove the virality of mobile marketing.  More shares means more engagement and free promotion for the organization.  The business is reaching individuals that it never had to pay for!  Plus, the message is so important to the recipient that they’ve taken the time to promote it on your behalf.
  • Subscription rate — What percentage of users purchase a subscription.  This act proves that an organization has a sustainable business model.
  • Time between visits — How long is it taking them to come back on average?
  • Time spent — The IAB believes the average time spent watching your mobile video is the most important KPI for the video category.
  • Traffic to lead ratio — How much traffic does it take to generate a single lead?
  • Unique engagement — Often, customers will use unique URLs or keywords to gauge the effectiveness of specific promotions.  This method makes for an easy way to evaluate results of specific promotions.
  • Usage — Is the app being downloaded and then falling into the app graveyard or is it being used consistently?
  • This is certainly not a complete list of mobile marketing KPI’s, but it’s quite a few.  Choosing the right ones, in advance of the campaign, will allow alignment of all members of the organization to have a common goal when running your mobile marketing campaign.

While immediate and interim KPI’s are certainly an important gauge of the overall success of a campaign, early mobile marketers certainly were too hung up on some of the more short-term ones.  Clicking on a mobile ad and downloading an app are certainly important, but it’s what happens after the click or app installation that really matters.  Lifetime value may be impossible to predict at this early stage of mobile marketing, but in the long run, it’s retention, compared to the cost of acquisition, that matters most.


Time Spent with Mobile Digital Continues to Increase as Traditional Media Flops

Media use by year

Time spent with digital continues to increase among American adults through 2015 while traditional mediums such as TV, radio, and especially print are on the decline.  Mobile has been the big winner with American adults spending 2 hours and 3 minutes more with non-voice mobile services from 2011 through 2015.

If your marketing plan for 2015 doesn’t include mobile and digital, your marketing plan simply isn’t done.

Want to learn more about the mobile revolution that is occurring today?  Check out this article about mobile.


Back End Mobile Marketing for Traditional Advertising Agencies

ATS has been in business for nearly 26 years.

Imagine how much technology has changed during that time.  When we started our business in 1989, only about 3.5 million Americans had a mobile phone.  And, most of them were those big bulky bag phones!

But, while technology has changed tremendously over those years, our clients have not changed much.  In 1989, we were supplying toll free 800 numbers to our advertisers and advertising agencies.  In fact, 26 years later, we continue to provide IVR solutions for advertisers, agencies and other services such as class action lawsuits.

But, what we do quite often today is act as back-end consultants for traditional advertising agencies.  ATS works with agencies in many ways.  In some cases, we are merely the hired hands to provide the back-end technology.  In other cases, we act as partners of the traditional advertising agency to bring them the mobile expertise that they need.

Do you work at an advertising agency and need help understanding mobile?  We live, sleep, and dream of mobile every day.

So your agency doesn’t have to.


Talent Acquisition via Mobile Marketing

Your HR Homerun

ATS’s Barb Breeser recently did a presentation at a talent acquisition conference for human resources professionals.  Barb spoke with the audience about how HR departments can employ a mobile first marketing strategy to engage and acquire professional talent.

Here’s more of Barb’s presentation.



The Mobile Revolution

This year, I have been given the distinct honor being chosen as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Denver. I am teaching a graduate level course in the Communication department in Mobile Marketing.  Over the next few days, I will be presenting some of my articles that have been written for teaching in this class.  Here is the first of those articles.

the Mobile Revolution


In the 21st century, a phenomenon occurred in the United States and the world. A mobile phone began appearing in nearly every pocket and every purse of every person old enough to own one.

American Express coined the phrase “Don’t Leave Home Without It” long before the mobile phone, but that phrase probably better typifies the mobile phone than it ever did the credit card. Leave your mobile at home and you’re likely looking for the next place you can safely do a U-turn to go back to pick it up. If you’ve ever lost it, it’s probably worse than losing your wallet or purse. It’s our lifeline. It’s our gateway to the world.

Your Digital DNA

Never before in the history of technology has one device become the centerpiece of our lives. The cell phone you own today is your digital DNA. If you grew up in Denver, but have since moved to Austin, you’ve probably continued to maintain that 303 area code number despite the fact that you live in the 512 area code now. You will likely die with the same mobile phone number that you have today regardless of where you move.

Your mobile phone is so very personal that even spouses don’t share it. And, most people would even consider it an invasion of privacy if your spouse looked at the text messages on your mobile. When your phone rings, it plays your favorite ringtone that you selected. Only you control what apps you put on your phone. And, only you know the passwords to open them. Your mobile phone is YOU! Nothing you own is more personal.

Your Message on the Move

In 2007, my company hired an advertising agency that came up with a catchy slogan for us to describe our mobile marketing services: Your Message on the Move

At the time, that slogan did a great job of portraying the potential that mobile marketing brought to the advertiser. Now, you just didn’t have to reach the consumer on their landline when they were at home, when they were watching television or reading the newspaper (remember them?), or on their desktop computer when they were in the office. Now, you could reach the consumer when they were out and about…and nearby to your store. You could reach the consumer on their terms and you could reach them 24/7.

But, something changed along the way since 2007. Now, mobile no longer just characterizes reaching people that are on the move, because mobile has become the norm. Today, mobile is consumed everywhere, even on the couch at home—something that was not commonplace in 2007.

Cutting the Cord

That’s why more and more Americans are cutting the cord. More than 41% of Americans now live in households that are cell phone only with no landline present. With minorities and the poor mobile is even more pervasive–over 53% of Hispanics, for example, are living in homes that are cell phone only.


The History of the Mobile Phone

Captain Kirk's cell phone, circa 1969

The first mobile phone call was placed in St. Louis on June 17, 1946. That call was made from a car phone.

Prior to 1973, mobile technology was limited to phones installed in cars and trucks. Motorola and Bell Labs raced to be the first to produce a handheld mobile phone. That race ended on April 3, 1973 when Martin Cooper, of Motorola, made the first mobile telephone call from a handheld mobile device. Commercial sales of the prototype system, however, were still a long way off and did not become available until 1983.

Mobile as a Medium

Today, the amount of mobile subscriptions in the USA exceeds that of the total population. That is, there are about 1.1 mobile subscriptions for every adult and child in the country! See the breakdown of carrier market share here.

Thus, mobile offers the perfect storm for marketers to reach a vast, still comparatively untapped, marketplace.

In this course, you will learn about mobile marketing. Mobile marketing refers to nearly everything done on a mobile device from the most basic of services (text message marketing) to the most complex (apps development) and everything in between.

The mobile train has left the building, but there is still time to get aboard. In fact, the mobile train has just started making its long journey. No doubt there are plenty of stops along the way with seats open to savvy marketers that are willing to jump on board.

This is one train you don’t want to miss!


ATS Mobile Capabilities

Our Mobile Marketing Product Line

At ATS Mobile, we do so many things that sometimes it’s kind of hard to keep track of them.  That’s why we’ve put together this presentation to give you an overview of what it is that we exactly do from a product perspective.

Of course, what we really do is talk to you and find out what your needs are, then come up with a strategy to drive digital and mobile engagement with your customers.



How Many of Us are Ordering Take-Out via Mobile?

The decision on where to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a spontaneous one (see the stats here).  So, if your text message or search reaches their mobile phone at the right time, there’s a good chance that they will choose your establishment.

A recent study from the National Restaurant Association shows just how important it is to have a mobile-optimized website.  If your website is not mobile optimized, 61% of potential customers will simply leave for one that is.  (Source = Google)  An astonishing 46% of people went online to find directions to a restaurant and 23% ordered by mobile.


How many people order from restaurants via a mobile phone

46% are checking out where your restaurant is via mobile.

Here’s why people are ordering from their mobile phone, instead of the old-fashioned way.  For baby boomers and Millenials, it’s mostly about ease of ordering and not having to wait.

mobile restaurant ordering

Is your restaurant website mobile friendly?


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