Four key mobile attribution trends businesses need to look out for

An eMarketer report forecasts that mobile is set to overtake TV as the preferred entertainment medium in the US. American adults are expected to spend three hours and 35 minutes on their devices.

Businesses are also set to follow the market. Companies are preparing to spend more resources and effort enhancing their mobile presence. By 2020, mobile will represent 43% of total media ad spending in the US. At $113.21 billion, it will be bigger than all spending for traditional media combined.

For companies to be effective in their respective mobile efforts, they have to be able to craft experiences that would effectively engage their audiences. This can be quite tricky given the diversity of activities that are performed on mobile devices these days.

Fortunately, analytics and mobile attribution have been improving. Various platforms can now provide better insights concerning user behaviour on mobile devices. This should come as a welcome development since the mobile app space can be quite unforgiving. According to mobile attribution platform Appsflyer, 28% of apps get uninstalled in just a month’s time. Understanding user behaviour can help companies identify issues in their experiences and reduce churn rate.

As such, companies would do well leveraging all available means and tools that can help them improve their mobile presence. Here are four key trends that companies have to be aware of to maximise what mobile attribution has to offer.

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1. More complex use cases

The mobile phone has become the modern day Swiss Army knife for today’s digital lifestyles. Previously, mobile attribution only covered basic in-app events such as installations, impressions, clicks, and purchases.

However, mobile screen time is now effectively split among use cases like social networking, entertainment, communication, and use of other apps. The emergence of more sophisticated activities such as gaming, travel booking, and e-commerce transactions now requires companies to track a wider variety of activities such as game progression, product views, comparisons, and wish lists in order to better make sense of user behaviour.

2. People-based attribution

Legacy mobile attribution also has limitations. It only typically tracked users within a single channel’s flow resulting in data that is fragmented and siloed. Customer journeys aren’t exactly linear and users may enter the funnel through various touch-points. For instance, a user who clicked on an email campaign is treated differently from a user who tapped on a Google or Facebook ads even if they’re the same person. Insights generated from such data are often unreliable.

To address this, focus is now being given on people-based attribution which allows actions across channels to be associated with specific personalities, not just exclusively on mobile. Through unified cross-channel data, companies now gain a consolidated view of each users’ behaviour all throughout the journey from initial touchpoint to conversion. By tracking behaviour across devices, it can also help companies determine the best conversion paths to guide their campaigns.

3. Consolidation of platforms

Aside from people-based attribution, marketers and developers also now have other emerging needs that they need analytics and attribution platforms to fulfil. Additional functionalities such as fraud detection and deep linking help marketers safeguard their digital ad spend and effectively drive customers to key content, respectively. The emergence of data protection rules such as the GDPR also requires platforms to provide compliant tracking methods.

Because of these demands, analytics platforms are seeing themselves in need of expanding their scope with features which may not be part of their initial direction and design. The space has already seen a number of mergers as platforms look to complement and bolster each other’s offerings through consolidation. For example, Singular acquired Apsalar in 2017 and TUNE merged with Branch last year. Given these pressures, the market may see more mergers and acquisitions happen in the future.

4. In-house marketing operations

Improvements in mobile marketing technology platforms are emboldening marketers and companies to drop their partnerships with agencies and move their marketing activities in-house. Despite challenges such as recruiting in-house talent, more companies are now convinced that tools and solutions can balance such concerns out.

This focus on tools has also opened up new opportunities for business consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte to engage businesses to shore up their in-house capabilities. This growing sentiment is also encouraging mobile attribution service providers to offer more integrations and tweak their platforms to be as self-service as they can be.

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From insights to engagement

Given how competitive the business landscape is today, companies should capitalise on all sources of advantage that they can. As these trends point out, analytics would be key to their success in their respective verticals especially as user activities shift more towards digital and mobile.

Businesses shouldn’t be satisfied with simply knowing portions of a user’s journey anymore especially now that user experiences in mobile have become much more complex.

Companies should be looking at implementing analytics and mobile attribution efforts to comprehensively map user activities through their digital channels regardless of their niche or vertical. In doing so, they will be able to optimise their ad campaigns or experiences for optimal results.

Should they plan to move marketing in-house, it would be beneficial for companies to equip themselves with the best human and technological resources available and invest in the most capable tools and solutions that have features that cover their most pressing needs.

Ultimately, deep and rich insights obtained from strategic analytics efforts should empower companies to offer more meaningful experiences and engage users better.

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