Mobile Measurement

*Check out The Retail Marketer’s Dilemma Part 1: Offline Sales is King.

All metrics aren’t created equal. It can be difficult to tell what is important and what is a waste of time when marketers are bombarded with a hundred different metrics spanning multiple channels, funnel stages, and vendors. Thankfully, mobile messaging has unique characteristics that shape how you can, and should, measure performance.

Think of the mobile marketing journey as a funnel: Audience -> Interaction -> Conversion

An effective mobile messaging strategy begins with subscriber acquisition, encouraging people to join your list with an attractive value proposition, call-to-action, and a compliant opt-in process. You then broadcast messages on a periodic basis in the hopes that a portion of them will convert into incremental purchases. An asset-based mobile strategy may include wallet passes and a mobile app, thus opening up native push notifications as a messaging channel in addition to the core SMS/MMS.


As a strictly permission-based channel, mobile messaging is the ultimate owned media channel and a true CRM medium, amenable to the metrics of advertising (audience and saturation metrics), direct marketing (RFM and its many heirs), but also informed by a consumer’s transaction history to enable fine segmentation and event-based messages.

The key metrics for audience and saturation are list size, growth, and churn partnered with message frequency. These are the closest relatives of classic advertising metrics around reach and impressions.


As a two-way channel, good mobile marketing invites consumers to actively engage with campaigns by responding to messages, adding passes to a digital wallet, clicking through to mobile web content, using an app, and so forth. The extent of this two-way interaction can be a gauge of success as well as a source of friction.

Key metrics for interactions can take two forms, messaging interactions and asset interactions. Messaging interactions include open rates, click-throughs, engagements, and landing page traffic. Certain strategies involve building up another base of assets, and a larger footprint on the mobile device, including wallet passes or installed apps. Metrics for these asset interactions include add-to-wallets, monthly active passes, app downloads and churn, app launches, and monthly active users.


Finally, among all marketing channels, mobile messaging is the most powerful at bridging the gap between digital marketing content and offline behavior. A consumer receiving the right mobile message at the right time and place can take her phone and walk into a physical store to transact, with an immediacy unavailable to any other channel.

Conversion metrics include store traffic, transactions, coupon redemptions, incremental sales and margin.


Now we’ve established the Audience-> Interaction-> Conversion framework, the question remains, where to focus first? In a perfect world, you would measure every step along this funnel and see exactly where to optimize. In reality, every organization struggles with disparate systems and data hoarding leading marketers to measure what’s available and easy. Audience and interaction metrics are tracked first, as they’re generally provided by your mobile marketing vendor. Conversion metrics tend to be ignored or put off until later because they require marrying POS or offline transaction data with messaging activity data, which in turn means integrating systems – involving IT – or sharing transaction data with outside parties – requiring trust.

This perfectly logical behavior can lead to a dangerous blind spot. Capturing offline sales with mobile marketing ultimately depends on continued investment. In the budget cycle, investment is best justified with hard financial returns. So while the easier metrics of audience and interaction are well and good, your ability to sustain a mobile strategy will ultimately depend on your ability to track conversion – the only set of data that carries weight with finance.

If you can link transactions to individual consumers and CRM records, that’s the gold standard, but that’s not always the case. If consumers aren’t individually identified at checkout, try to record mobile-driven transactions by using mobile coupon codes or a loyalty program. If no systematic attribution is possible in your POS, you should at least develop a statistical estimate of your conversion rate by running a pilot vs. control group experiment to quantify the impact of mobile messaging activity on sales. The golden number is the conversion rate: mobile-driven transactions divided by number of mobile messages sent.

Online sales will continue to be an important growing market for retail and marketers will need to capitalize on its importance. That said, digital marketers can’t ignore the potential of offline sales simply because it’s harder to track conversion. Tools like SMS, wallet, and push are all designed with the needs of the marketer in mind to drive sales and track the data.

I hope you found these blogs insightful into the true potential many marketers are leaving behind and a proven way to capture revenue. If you’re interested in learning what a mobile strategy can do for your brand, reach out to us at sales@waterfall.com.

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