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Only 28pc of mobile mainstream brands measuring key performance indicators: study

Although brands continue to up their mobile investments, many are not measuring the medium's effectiveness, according to a new report from Kontagent.

The ?Mobile sophistication and strategy? report is published by Econsultancy in association with Kontagent. The report breaks brands into two groups ? mobile-first companies such as Uber and HotelTonight and mobile mainstream companies, which include retailers and brands that are using the channel as part of their marketing mixes.

?The biggest takeaway here is that only a quarter of mainstream brands have a well-defined mobile strategy, yet two-thirds plan to invest more heavily in mobile this year,? said Dan Kimball, chief marketing officer at Kontagent, San Francisco.

?The large majority don?t have a strategy and don?t know what to measure, but they are increasing investment,? he said. ?It reminds me of the 1997 and 1998 PC space.?

?What they ought to be doing is looking at what the mobile-first companies are doing. Twice as many mobile-first companies are building completely different experiences for mobile from the PC than the mobile mainstream group.?

Mobile effectiveness
The study?s results are collected from Jan. 15 ? Feb. 15 and include approximately 1,300 responses from clients and agencies.

Twenty-five percent of the mobile mainstream brands reported having a well-defined strategy. Fifty-four percent had a mobile site, 37 percent had a tablet application and 47 had a smartphone app.

To compare, 64 percent of mobile-first companies have a well-defined mobile strategy. Ninety-two percent had a smartphone app and 82 percent had a tablet app while only 50 percent had a mobile site. This shows the emphasis that mobile-first companies have put on apps.

Forty-five percent of mobile mainstream brands said that they are planning for their mobile strategy to extend beyond 2013. Seventy percent of the mobile-first companies said the same.

Even though these brands are banking on using mobile in the future, few have tools available to them to prove mobile?s effectiveness.

Twenty-eight percent of the mobile mainstream group tracked specific performance indicators in their mobile programs. Sixty-four percent of the mobile-first looked at key performance indicators.

There are also differences in how brands are managing their mobile initiatives internally.

Forty-five percent of senior management, marketing and technology employees at mobile mainstream companies work together on their mobile strategy. Seventy-one percent of mobile-fist companies do the same.

Missed revenue
Brands that are lumped into the mainstream group of mobile companies are also not viewing mobile as a revenue stream.

The study found two main reasons why mobile mainstream companies are using mobile. The first is to stay competitive in their industry and the other is to build engagement and brand loyalty.

On the other hand, the top two goals of mobile-first companies are to acquire users and build revenue streams.

Additionally, applications lead as tactics for driving revenue.

Per the findings, 69 percent of mobile-first companies place apps as their most important mobile initiative for their current business model.

For the mobile mainstream group, 23 percent picked apps as their most important mobile effort. Thirty-one percent of the mobile mainstream group said that their mobile Web sites were more valuable.

In many cases driving direct revenue from mobile apps is tough, though.

Take retail, for example. Even though mobile conversions continue to grow, one of the strongest use cases of mobile is the medium's influence on shopping behavior with research or location-specific information.

However, the mobile mainstream group did acknowledge that apps will grow in the coming years. Thirty-two percent of respondents in the group said that apps will become their most important mobile asset in the future.

Agency lag
According to the study, agencies believe that brands are not investing enough in mobile.

Only 19 percent of agency respondents in the study said that companies are investing enough in mobile.

Additionally, 25 percent of agency executives thought that organizations do not understand the role that mobile is playing for consumers.

Thirty-seven percent of the agency group responded that native apps are more valued than mobile sites. Thirty-three percent disagreed with the statement, and the remaining 30 percent remained neutral on the question.

One of the biggest factors holding brands back from mobile is an understanding of how mobile behavior differs from desktop usage.

In fact, 89 percent of the agency group said that mobile users have different behaviors than desktop users.

However, only 42 percent of agency participants said that apps offer experiences that are different from desktops. Similarly, 28 percent of agency respondents said that mobile sites offer significant differences from a Web site.

?I see mobile increasing as part of the overall marketing mix, but I see it taking some time,? Mr. Kimball said.

?The ratio if time spent versus advertising spend on mobile is ten to one,? he said. ?Ten percent of time spent is on mobile devices but only one percent of ad budgets are for mobile.

There will be lots of experimentation and proof with data that brands need to get comfortable with.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York