CMO audit series, Part 2: Untangling the web of mobile technology
With a plethora of mobile marketing technologies to choose from, how do you find the right fit for your organization? In Part 2 of a series, columnist Scott Rayden lays out the elements you need to build a strong mobile strategy.
This CMO audit series sets out to provide insight into the six most significant growth drivers in marketing: customer journey, marketing technology, growth channel mix, user experience, devices and analytics. (If you didn’t catch Part 1, on the customer journey, catch up now.) Today’s post will focus on technology.
As recently as a few years ago, when social was still underutilized, desktop reigned over mobile, third-party data hadn’t yet exploded, and marketing technology was fairly low on the list of fundamentals of a great digital strategy. It used to be that technology, as it relates to marketing, was better served to provide support to teams and purely help with scale.
Today, the landscape is dramatically different: technology continues to take more of a front-and-center role. As ever, technology is only as good as the people using it, but the capabilities it can deliver have never been more important, as companies of all sizes strive to tackle the incredible complexity of today’s marketing climate.
The advancement of marketing technology specific to mobile devices has left most companies scrambling to figure out what they should be using and how they should be using it. It’s become a larger part of an internal marketing team’s role (as well as the supporting agency’s job) to help figure this out. With thousands of mobile marketing technology companies to choose from, the big question is where the starting point should be and how you should approach it.
I’ve always viewed marketing technology in two ways: internal or external. Internal focuses on making your internal marketing organization more efficient and effective and includes functions like reporting, tracking, organization, channel management, attribution, automation, predictive and testing. External focuses purely on the customer — specifically on what customers do, who they are, and what they want and why.
Success with mobile-focused technology comes from the right balance of internal and external technology. So where should you start? Let’s look at some great entry points that will create a strong foundation on which to grow your mobile practice. Rather than listing a hundred companies and creating more ambiguity, I’ll simplify things and take a short-list approach to where you can start.
DMPs (internal and external)
We use a DMP (data management platform) to understand our clients’ audience and purchaser composition (through demographic, financial, professional, psych, and in-market data, as well as other data sets), which we then use to define audiences for targeting across channels such as social, Display (DSPs) and mobile networks.
Examples of DMPs include Lotame, Adobe and BlueKai.
Mobile attribution (internal)
Similar to desktop attribution, we use these mobile attribution platforms to understand the cross-channel impact across all of our mobile app install and re-engagement campaigns.
Examples of mobile attribution platforms include AppsFlyer, Tune, Kochava and Adjust. We can then plug this data into Convertro to help us measure and attribute campaign performance across mobile and desktop devices, television and other channels to view users in a unified platform.
Behavioral analytics (internal and external)
We use this technology to understand how users navigate app screens and use app functionality; this helps us better understand barriers, fall-out and conversion funnels. Then we can identify where we can improve user experiences to drive lifts in conversions, similar to the way that we would look at web content consumption, navigation, conversion and so on.
Examples of these platforms include Localytics, Amplitude, MixPanel and Google’s Firebase.
Competitive analytics (external)
One tech company that’s really caught my eye of late is Acumen, which is an AI-powered competitive intelligence platform that can simulate human activity on your app. You can use it to reverse-engineer competitive onboarding flows and lifecycle marketing campaigns, as well as get new ideas to test from competitor or aspirational brands.
This type of intelligence is a no-brainer for any company running a mobile application as a core part of their business.
App store intelligence (internal, external)
The leaders in this space are AppAnnie and Sensor Tower (more on the latter below). AppAnnie provides great app store research and intelligence into historical app store rankings, ratings, reviews, keywords and much more.
App store optimization (internal, external)
App store optimization requires tools for keyword research and tools for A/B testing creative. Sensor Tower and TUNE are great keyword research tools that help you understand traffic volume of keyword queries on the App Store, and StoreMaven allows you to test creatives to improve conversion optimization on your app store page — app icon, screen shots, video and so on.
Some of these technology buckets aren’t specific to mobile; DMPs and behavioral analytics can have a tremendous impact on marketing performance across devices. But in a world where mobile traffic is far outstripping desktop (and will continue to widen the gap), my recommendation is to prioritize the mobile technology combination that can unlock growth at all stages of the customer journey.