Mobile Marketing KPIs: What to Consider

This post gives an overview of essential mobile marketing KPIs that would be considered for a performance dashboard. It also outlines a general framework of how these KPIs relate to each other.

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Mobile marketing KPIs structure

Conversion funnel is an important part of any performance dashboard. The funnel shows how the user travels through different stages and interacts with the ad and then with the product.  A simple conversion funnel for a mobile marketing display campaign advertising for an app would be:  Impressions-Clicks-Installs-First Interaction, with percentage share between them.

Return KPIs can be measured as monetary values: revenue per user, lifetime user value, etc. However, non-monetary KPIs (number of installs, daily active users, daily active paying users, average session length, etc.) are also important, especially in the cases where monetization is detached from the download (free apps or image campaigns).

Cost KPIs will largely depend on your payment model for the advertising. Possible ways are:

Cost per mille (per thousand impressions)

Cost per click

Cost per install (also possible: cost per lead, cost per download)

Cost per engagement

Cost per revenue or revenue share models

ROI is calculated as a percentage share of return on what has been invested in advertisement, for a product that does not monetize immediately, the ROI is calculated per time period (daily, weekly) in user cohorts.

The framework at the bottom of the picture shows how the KIPs can be adapted to achieve a significant level of preciseness and data consistency.

Timeframe includes both how the KPIs are aggregated (daily, weekly, monthly) and what time periods they cover (past, current or future/trend data).

Segmentation is essential for getting the working data. Making the segments too broad will impact the data consistency negatively and working with micro-segments is mostly too difficult to implement and does not allow to make solid conclusions based the data sample.  As an example, consider segmenting the data by country or region, by traffic channel or by device type.

Sample statistics includes the parameters that analyze the quality of data and how the sample behaves in general. Instead of just aggregating and averaging the data, consider such parameters as median, min. and max. amounts and standard deviation. Besides, look at the size of the segments you work with: which of those have the strongest impact and why? Also, learn to recognize patterns in your timeframe, and how the data fluctuates on a daily, weekly or seasonal basis.

After you have decided on the KPI data you will include for your dashboard and reporting, consider making the data more visual and more structured for the intended users. In one of my next posts, I will cover the issue of data visualization in more detail.

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What is the Turnover of 2000 Likes?

Every marketer has probably asked himself/herself a similar question.

In fact, looking at a Facebook page, what are the actual merits of judgement how successful it is? Do the “likes” necessarily convert into dollars (or any other currency)?

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The turnover of Facebook likes?

Imagine a product or brand page that currently has 2000 fans/likes.  It seems like a lot of fans and probably means a highly popular product. However, it is better to take a closer look at this number.

The first problem is if these fans actually exists. A recent case study about Facebook advertising points out that almost half of the likes came from unidentified profiles that probably have no real consumers behind them.

I.e. it may be easy to receive a  number of fans by investing into Facebook advertising, however the sad fact is the existence of  numerous cases of spam and fraud on the internet (possibly even whole “click farms”), which decreases the value of advertising campaigns.

Secondly, even if the fans seem to be real people, they might not be on Facebook often  (or their profiles may be outdated), so that your chances of interacting with them are very low. Another extreme is the people who are keen on “liking” everything they see,  so that the number of their liked Facebook pages can be counted in hundreds. In this case, your chances to reach these consumers organically will also be close to zero, since their news feeds are very cluttered.

In addition to that, if a user “liked” the page in order to take part in a Facebook lottery or any other incentive,  he/she may, in fact, have little interest in the product or brand and refuse to interact with the postings.

So the only important parameter that helps to evaluate a Facebook page is the engagement, i.e.  Likes, Comments or  Shares of the posts. Shares are certainly the most helpful type of engagement as the organic reach of the posts increases significantly after the post is shared on the wall of a fan or in a community.

Besides, engagement influences the Edge Rank, which, in turn, determines how often (if at all) your posts will be shown to your fans, so this is  a closed circle.

However, we also need to consider the pure business aspect of social media. Does “liking” a product or commenting positively on something actually involve a purchase?

Here we face the core psychological function of social media, that is image-building and self-defining both externally and internally. When a consumer clicks “like” on a product page, he or she wants to be associated with this product and add it to his or her image.

Whether this association also includes purchasing a product will depend on the total buying costs (that is the price and availability of the product, conditions for use, etc.)  As an example: it is highly unlikely that out of 15,5 million Ferrari fans on Facebook (as of July 2014) everyone or at least a half own a Ferrari.

Social Media may play a significant role in after-sale marketing or brand-building, but the actual purchase motivation has to be supported by promotion (discounts, special offers, testers, etc.).

In summary, the turnover of 2000 likes may be much lower than expected, so when budgeting for Social Media one has to consider the return on investment aspect in the first place.

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Into Marketing and Away: the Changing Role of a Marketing Manager

marketing manager competencies“Non vitae sed scholae discimus”, said Seneca (“We learn for school, not for life”). His words truly reflect the situation at the majority of educational institutions preparing marketing professionals: the content of education is not matching real-life requirements. The traditional understanding of marketing as a function has been transformed in many ways, and new competencies are needed for the existing and ongoing marketing managers.

Competency #1: New Media

Indeed, modern marketing practice is almost impossible to imagine without extensive use of New Media, especially Social Media (Facebook, corporate blogs, etc). This includes not only one-way communication and maintaining social media accounts, but also being able to interact with users, even in case of negative comments or complaints. In addition, social media activity should help to sustain the brand values and product/service positioning.

Competency#2: Information Technology

Apart from managing and creating content and graphic material, a marketing manager should have an understanding of IT systems and processes within a company. Possible uses of IT knowledge include: managing customer or product databases, editing and optimizing websites, analyzing performance needs and writing specifications for programmers in the IT department.

Competency #3: Handling financial and accounting data

A marketing manager should understand and control implications of marketing policies on the operational data and end-of-the-year financial results of the company he/she is working for. Instead of thinking of marketing campaigns in terms of costs, a marketeer must be able to demonstrate the value of marketing activities in terms of brand equity accumulation or share price growth.

Competency#4: Corporate Social Responsibility

One of recently emerged functions of a marketing executive is responding to stakeholder expectations both externally (customers, suppliers and shareholders) and internally (employees). Marketeers have to make sure that the corporate values are being lived by and that these values are communicated in the right way across different channels. It is also a well-known fact that skillful use of marketing techniques in CSR context (e.g. fair trade products) helps to sustain higher margins and increase the overall profit.

Competency#5: Cross-functional knowledge

In addition to the above-mentioned IT and financial knowledge, a marketing manager often plays an integrative role between a number of departments. He/she has to communicate with R&D and Production when a new product is being developed, with Sales when the product is being launched, and not unusually, with the legal department, for example, when crafting advertising strategy. Thus, cross-functional and interdisciplinary knowledge is a must as well as the ability to talk to a number of specialists “in their language”.

Competency#6: International and intercultural thinking

Apart from classic cases of international marketing (launching a product abroad, designing marketing campaigns in a foreign language, adapting promotional activities to a different setting), cross-cultural competencies are often required for working inside the company. Two major reasons for this are the growing number of multinationals (including micro-multinationals) causing the necessity to work with branches and subsidiaries abroad; and skilled migration, due to which foreigners fill up vacancies in domestic firms.

Competency# 7: Team orientation

Resulting from the scope of cross-departmental or cross-country projects on which a marketing professional often works, team orientation and team building skills are essential to keep the projects going.

Competency#8: Creative skills

Though this is an obvious tool for a marketing manager, most universities cannot bridge the gap between the requirement for creativity and “out-of-the-box” thinking in the working life and the rigid and mundane teaching methods preventing the students from developing creative skills. Another extreme, though, is creativity for the sake of creativity, when a marketing manager is reluctant to direct his/her efforts into solving a particular customer or organizational problem or to plan the details of putting the creative idea into practice.

Competency #9: Management skills

As more and more companies realize the strategic importance of marketing, a marketeer is faced with typical management tasks, namely planning (laying out campaigns and budgeting), organizing (distributing roles in a project, creating an action plan), directing (ensuring cross-departmental cooperation, motivating the project participants) and, finally, controlling (checking if the set goals are being met).

As can be seen from this list of competencies, both hard and soft skills are essential for a marketing manager of today. Therefore, the ability to respond to the changing conditions and the drive for self-improvement and self-development should be added to make up the full list of competencies required for marketing professionals.

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Business Models on the Internet

Internet is said to have given birth to innovative ways of making money. On the one hand, you can copy some of the traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses and paste them into the Internet environment (online travel agency, online supermarket, etc). But on the other hand, there are endless possibilities for purely virtual business models. Here I would like to share some thoughts on online business models and develop a kind of typology for most common models.

Business model definition

A business model has the following facets:

  • The product. What is the core product and the product extensions/ complimentary products? What is your value proposition?
  • The customer. Who is your target customer? What kind of relationship do you aim to build with your customer (marketing and communication)? How do you deliver your product to the end customer (sales channel)?
  • The company. What core competencies are required? What is your overall market strategy? How can you use partnerships and networking with other businesses?
  • The money. What is your cost structure and financing model? How do you derive your revenue and what profit margins do you expect?

Typology of internet businesses

According to the revenue source and financing, Internet businesses can be subdivided into the following groups (software and online platforms as examples):

  • Open source and financing through donations/grants (iversity, Wikipedia, flattr.com)
  • Open source and financing through client data collected (patientslikeme.com)
  • Open source and financing through advertising (Facebook, Spotify)
  • Open source and commercial licenses or payment only from B2B clients (Groupon)
  • Open source and commission on transactions (Amazon.com, Kickstarter.com)
  • Open source and paid extra features for premium accounts, or freemium models ( LinkedIn, some antivirus software)
  • Strictly commercial software or technology, possibly with a trial period (Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop).

What is more, businesses combine several types of revenue collection (paid games on Facebook in addition to advertising).

Success factors

It is hard to say which of the listed above model types are likely to be more successful than the others, as there are winner companies in each category. Rather, it comes down to other factors, such as the product, the marketing strategy, the target market, the networking possibilities, as well as the flexibility of the business model as such.

Not only the flexibility to change in time, or innovation, is the key to success in the rapidly changing online environment, but also the scalability and extendability of the business model. In other words, is the model transferable to a variety of markets without significant losses in profitability?

For new market entrance, the language together with the culture and the local conditions play a significant role. Even successful businesses are not 100% scalable, this probably being the reason why Google and Facebook have not yet managed to capture the lion’s share of the Russian or Asian market, despite of doing pretty well in European countries. Amazon.com still has not dared to venture into the Russian market, due to perceived logistical and security problems, its place now taken by its Russian clone, ozon.ru.

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