Posted June 1, 2011 9:49 am by with 3 comments

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In the online space we are enamored with numbers. We can measure everything and everything can be quantified. That’s why the Internet is the place for marketers to be.

OK, at least that’s how the industry pitches the online space. As that momentum moves to the mobile front that same mantra is being droned out over and over again just so there is an understanding that ROI in the online world is something that can be quantified.

Well, I would like to introduce hype to reality. They don’t get a lot of time together because reality doesn’t sell. But if the report by eMarketer regarding return on mobile marketing is any indication, then “Houston, we have a problem.”

If you do some simple math on this one you will see that 63% of marketers in the mobile space don’t have a clue what their ROI is. Add that to the additional 10% who say that the medium performed below expectations and you have a mobile marketing train wreck.

Of course, this is one study and another part of it did look at just advertising in the mobile space but the measurement numbers are only slightly more encouraging.

It’s hard to imagine that over 50% of the respondents felt that their efforts performed below expectations or were simply not measured.

This does not bode well for the mobile environment. If everyone starts rushing in because it’s the cool thing to do but they are not prepared to take advantage of it then we run the risk of actually slowing progress in the mobile space. Once bitten, twice shy is the marketer’s creed on the Internet. If they run into the mobile space with both barrels blaring then run out of bullets with nothing to show for it they will shy away from going back anytime soon. When jobs are lost because of false hope it’s hard to regain that trust.

Fools rush in is what I have heard. I know I have been guilty of it in the past. Are marketers doing the same thing with the mobile space?

What’s your take?

  • This is super vague. Mobile Marketing is a big arena. There is SMS, QR codes, Apps, coupons, mobile search, advertising, etc. This study doesn’t even elaborate on which aspect of mobile they are measuring in the first graph.

    The second graph mentions “advertising on mobile platforms”, again pretty vague. Is that advertising on mobile web, in app, iAd, SMS advertisements?

    Overall, a lot of these marketing channels are measured differently and at different stages of the game. There are plenty of case studies available that report back statistics of successful programs.

    I think the bigger issue is that many people jumping into mobile do so without a strategy and or goals from the beginning. If you are executing a campaign and havent’ even determined your measurement for success up front, how are you supposed to gauge if you were successful? That’s an easy answer. You won’t be able to.

    At the end of the day mobile is just another tool marketers can use to engage consumers. There will be new tools evolving every day that we need to learn to leverage. Tools are all useless unless they are a component of a coherent strategy.

    • @Greg – I think you answered the question yourself as to why these are not being measured. There is not just one flavor and being able to accurately see how they all play together is just as much of a game as is trying to find the right mix of the various parts for your brand.

      There is going to be a lot more confusion than clarity for quite some time to come as to just how the impact of these efforts are measured. Look how long it has taken for marketers to get some grasp on how search ROI is measured. In the end, all the traditional ‘success metrics’ like ranking have been scrapped in favor of even more vague attribution models.

      It’s all new and everyone is trying to figure it out as we go. Right now though there just isn’t much to go on.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  • Dan Petry

    We have had several good campaigns with SMS Marketing and have trained our staff to make sure we know who has come in because of it. The customer has to show the deal to get it. It’s all about tracking and knowing what works. BTW heard a new buzzword the other day, imocialize thought it was pretty good.