18/10/2013 07:46 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Five Reasons You Need Mobile Analytics

Year after year, your smartphone audience is growing. This growth is not just limited to numbers, although those are also highly impressive; the latest figures from IDC showed that in the worldwide smartphone market, vendors shipped 237.9 million units in 2Q13 compared to 156.2 million units shipped in 2Q12. This represents the highest annual growth rate in five quarters. Your smartphone audience is also growing in its expectations from the mobile web, its technical savvy, and its demands for great mobile experiences. More than ever, your audience wants mobile websites that aren't just optimized for mobile but also give them the information and experience they want in as fast a time as possible. They may want to interact with your brand on mobile - but increasingly on their terms.

Of course, most marketers will not be surprised by this and the majority of companies today already have some kind of mobile strategy in place to deliver the best experience to their users. Now, the question to ask is 'how well informed are the marketing decisions behind my strategy?'. You probably already know that tracking and measuring customer behaviour is important. You have also probably read that customer segmentation is an essential part of being able to successfully identify and manage experiences. But analytics can also be used for your understanding of your mobile website - not just your customers. It can help you monitor the progress of your mobile traffic over time, helping you benchmark the reach and performance of your website. You can compare the outputs to industry averages when it comes to new technology adoption, and set exactly the right targets and expectations when scoping out future projects for mobile readiness. And by linking this to your understanding of the customer profiles that characterise your web traffic, you can begin to accurately design the ideal customer experience.

The more a company invests in mobile, the more important it is that they measure what works, what the customer likes and what delivers ROI. To further explore the topic of mobile analytics, we have compiled our 'Top Tip 6' - a look at why analytics can be so valuable today, for brands and their customers alike.

6. Knowing your customers: Customer segmentation is a crucial part of being able to effectively identify and manage experiences among different groups. By understanding the customer profiles that characterise your web traffic, only then can you begin to accurately create the best possible customer experience. Analytics can enable users to implement an experience-based mobile strategy that will maximize engagement across defined consumer segments.

5. Delivering custom content to specific user groups: When browsing the web on a mobile device, location, device capability and context can significantly impact the content being consumed. Being able to categorize these attributes and understanding the differences they may cause can be critical to designing specific user journeys for mobile content delivery. With a quality analytics tool, you gain the ability to identify detailed profiles of mobile devices, and the features being used by browsers when interacting with your web content.

4. Profiling with user content in mind: Profiles can also be contextual, based on fluctuating circumstances, such as identifying how customer web browsing habits change when moving from spots with high versus low bandwidth availability. As content consumption is bound to be impacted, you'll need to be able to identify and address these fluctuations. Analytics allows you to create a custom bandwidth report to segment customers, and decide how to cater for these users to deliver context appropriate material over the web in real-time.

3. Future-proofing your strategy: To effectively future-proof your mobile strategy, you need to be able to predict when to introduce additional feature support for your website, such as for a new video format. Analytics reports can provide you with information which shows how much of your web traffic is able to support specific features. With Netbiscuits for example, our 'HTML5-ready' report determines how much of your web traffic is able to support specific HTML5 elements. This way, brands can predict the optimum time to launch pilots using new web technologies, and determine prioritization based on what customers are actually able to access.

2. Finding what works: Critical to delivering a superior mobile web experience, is the ability to quickly and easily test your mobile websites to identify issues, and discover precise areas where the user journey is broken. For example, if a customer abandons your website, do you know where and why this happened? Is it the same for all customers on all devices, or just for a sub-set of customers using certain devices? Without this knowledge, identifying the actual cause of the problem is an impossible task.

1. Improving the user experience: Consider what would result in better on-page customer engagement - a step-by-step guide or a how-to video. Is the how-to video taking too long to load on a mid-spec device? Or what if you had a custom report to show whether the abandonment rate was higher on iOS, Android, BlackBerry or Windows devices?

Performance is often times cited as the biggest problem area for mobile users, with 41% stating that speed is the most important thing to them when using their mobile device for web browsing. Establishing very specific cause and effect scenarios can show that only certain segments need attention in order to improve the overall customer experience. The beauty of analytics is that it minimizes these problems provide reports of how your website is performing, and what and how it needs fixing. With mobile analytics you're able to rest easy, knowing that you're never a single step behind your strategy.