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A calculator for retailers to review the potential for multichannel mobile sales

Author's avatar By Rob Thurner 22 Aug, 2013
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Measuring mobile activity with Google's mobile calculator

eBay Europe recently reported that UK consumer spend on mobile has increased by 55% year on year, and is set to grow a further 115% over the next 12 months.  Olivier Ropars, Senior Director of mCommerce at eBay Europe urges retailers to 'act now to turn this opportunity into an exciting reality'.

I’d argue that leading retailers have made a serious investment in mobile already to improve the shopper experience throughout the purchase cycle.

The IAB’s mobile retail audit of the top 50 UK retailers shows that most have invested in mobile: 74% now have mobile optimized sites, 62% have a mobile app, 48% have optimized their mobile search, and 14% have WiFi in-store. Leading brands are seeing healthy returns: eBay generated $8 billion in sales from mobile last year.

But the mobile opportunity which Ropars describes is far from a reality for marketers operating in most other sectors. This is borne out in the mobile audits and workshops I run for multiple clients.

The challenge is not a technical one – how to build a mobile site, develop an app, or optimize search.  Feedback from audits and workshops shows the real challenge is developing and presenting the business case for mobile, based on measuring mobile’s impact on engagement level and sales.

On the face of it, this seems odd. After all, every interaction on a mobile phone or tablet has a time and location-based data trail. And as one phone has one user, we can link that interaction back to one named individual with real certainty. Mobile is the most accountable channel.

What is lacking for most brands is benchmarks showing the value of each mobile channel in generating sales.

Google's mobile evaluation tool

Google’s Full Value of Mobile evaluation tool looks set to play a key role here since it shows potential for integrating sales between mobile and other channels using Google's mobile advertising options such as mobile sitelinks and click-to-call.


 Source: Google Mobile Calculator

The tool comes was launched with a video demo featuring an interesting storyline which shows the different ways shoppers are relying on their mobiles to find and purchase a whole range of products for themselves, their two and four-legged friends, and a simple calculator which isolates the contribution made by various mobile channels in the customer journey:

  • In-store

Measure - how many of your in-store sales started on mobile. (If you’re an online business only, skip this section)

Method - track the number of people who clicked 'get directions; in mobile search; how many of them actually visited the store as a result; what percentage of store visitors make a purchase; the average value of an in-store purchase.

  • Mobile sites

Measure – how sales on your mobile site drive value for your business

Method – track the number of visits to your site generated by clicks on mobile search ads; what percentage of site visits make a purchase; the average value of a mobile site purchase.

  • Apps

Measure - how many app downloads come from your mobile ads. (If you’re an app, skip this section)

Method – track how many 'download app' clicks your mobile search ad generate; what percentage of them actually install the app; the best estimate lifetime value of each app download.

  • Calls

Measure - how many of your phone orders originate from mobile ads and what they're worth.

(If you’re not trying the drive sales, skip this section)

Method – track how many customers clicked the 'call; button on your ad or site; what percentage of them make a successful call, what percentage of the calls generate a purchase; the average order value of purchases completed over the phone.

  • Cross-device

Measure – how your customers are using multiple devices to buy from you and how to value these sales

Method – track how many visits to your mobile site were generated by clicks on mobile search ads; what percentage of your mobile site visitors subsequently visit your desktop site; what percentage of these visits result in a purchase on your desktop site; the average order value for your desktop site purchases.

Summary of the Google Mobile Calculator

As you’d expect, there’s a clear focus on search ads, but the tool could be adapted in include other display media (e.g banner ads, social media referrals, mobile coupons).

The site includes case studies and measurement tips. The calculator is quick and easy to use, and allows you to add data manually or import spreadsheet data over a defined date range.

This tool should go a long way to assist analysing, comparing and contrasting the relative performance of different mobile activation channels and their contribution to sales.

Here is what the calculator looks like for measuring calls:


 Source: Google Mobile Calculator

The findings can then be used to develop benchmarks for various product lines and audience segments whose purchase behaviour using multiple channels will vary significantly.  In turn, the findings should yield clear KPIs for mobile activity to underpin mobile investment - which can be escalated to senior stakeholders and budget holders to prove mobile’s real value.

Author's avatar

By Rob Thurner

Rob is a mobile consultant, author, trainer, and speaker with 10 years experience in the mobile sector. He is Managing Partner of Burn The Sky, the full service mobile agency which connects brands to multi-screen consumers. Rob delivers mobile consultancy and mobile talent development projects for American Express, Barclays, Barclaycard, Betfair, Carphone Warehouse, Heineken, Ladbrokes, O2, Paddy Power and Richemont. Rob runs intermediate and advanced courses for marketers of all levels of expertise across Europe and the USA. His training partners include the IDM, Econsultancy, The Knowledge Engineers, Emarketeers and the IAB Rob has written two books on Mobile Marketing best practice: The Smart Insights guide to Mobile strategy and Winning with Mobile: Creating a strategy for Mobile Marketing, Mobile,Commerce and Mobile CRM. Download from Amazon. You can connect with Rob through LinkedIn.

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