As recently reported in Australia's Smart Company, six out of every 10 people on Earth, including children, the elderly and people in developing countries, have a mobile phone. This equates to approximately 6.7 billion mobile devices worldwide. With this kind of penetration, the chance that you'll be conducting some kind of mobile marketing or advertising campaign in the near future is huge. With the help of the Mobile Marketing Association's MMA Primer on Mobile Analytics, let me help guide you through the process of tracking and measuring your mobile marketing and advertising efforts.

First, some definitions.

Though the measuring and analyzing of online campaigns has matured, the field is still in its infancy. Unlike online campaigns, mobile campaigns have varying factors to take into account: screen size and resolution across thousands of devices, numerous operating systems and browsers, unique network elements, user location, according to the MMA. Compound this complication by the fact that the cookie, one of the de facto means to track online campaigns, generally doesn't work on mobile, and campaign tracking gets even trickier.

(For the purpose of mobile campaign measurement, the MMA only counts as mobile campaigns generated by "a handset, tablet, or other communication device used to access the Internet wirelessly." Traditional PCs and laptops do not count as mobile devices.)

The primary difference between online campaign measurement and mobile campaign measurement is consumer engagement, a factor "heavily influenced by the intimacy and personal nature of mobile," says the MMA. That's because mobile can be used any time, anywhere, and mobile users are often very task-focused--they don't wander as much as someone who's surfing on their home computer.

These differences significantly impact expectations for typical data points like total traffic, time spent, and pages viewed.

Next, start analyzing.

The mobile user's experience varies on any given day. The catch-all term "mobile" includes a litany of possibilities, including mobile messaging (SMS, MMS, and mobile email), voice interaction (Siri, Google Voice, etc),  search,  Web browsing, apps, location-based services, QR codes, mobile payments, augmented reality, and mobile ads.

Here's what you should be analyzing:

  • Mobile Messaging. Aspects of mobile message measurement include mobile device carrier, device identifier, timestamp, response history for specific numbers, and URL link conversions.
  • Mobile Apps. The MMA points out that analysis of mobile apps can pose challenges because there are so many variables that impact applications, and some of the data points are housed within the apps themselves.
  • Mobile Ads. Mobile ads range from "text, to audio, images, video and even rich media." Due to the wide-range in mobile device capabilities, mobile ads themselves still tend to be simpler than their online cousins (the advent of tablets and larger screens will continue to evolve mobile ad content, however). Like online ads, mobile ads are also measured in terms of impressions, or how many people view them, but how the impression gets tracked--and therefore counted--depends upon the chosen tracking asset or tag, defined as "any piece of content associated with an ad or the page on which an ad appears that is designated to serve as the 'trigger' by which the ad is counted." Common tracking assets include a 1×1 pixel image, a 302-redirect, a Javascript code, or the ad itself.
  • Mobile Context. The context of a user's mobile experience also reveals a lot to marketers. Just imagine what analyzing any of the below context points can tell you about your consumers and your campaigns.

  • Cross-Media Impact. Expect to see more and more integration of mobile and traditional marketing and advertising campaigns such as the placement of QR codes on product packaging and print advertising or the mobile call-to-action on television programming or radio advertisements to drive consumer engagement. The response rate funnel of these engagements can and should be measured.

Because of the complexity of mobile analytics, right now you cannot rely on Google Analytics to provide all the analysis you'll need. Here is a comprehensive list of mobile analytic tools and resources you might find helpful.

Now go out and get your marketing "mobile-ized!"