First a confession: I accept that my choice of title may seem a little inflammatory! But in my defence, I firmly believe that a huge number of mobile businesses are making some old mistakes all over again - and particularly when it comes to the field of ‘analytics’.

Before I go any further, and in the spirit of fair play, perhaps I should briefly acknowledge the case for the defence. I am all in favour of collecting and using as much data as possible (as long as it is actually useful - which is at times debatable), so this is not a suggestion to anyone that they give up the idea of being a data-driven organization.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that ‘mobile analytics’ as currently conceived - and sold - is not doing the job it should be. There are two reasons for that - one I’ve talked about previously and will only recap here. The other reflects the growing multi-channel reality that most modern organizations operate in.

Action Not Analytics

Here’s the first argument: analytics never helped any organization make a number. By saying that I am not for a moment suggesting that they are irrelevant - but what I am saying is that they are useful only insofar as they drive action.

Many people, including those who sell analytics, would immediately agree with that assertion. But that doesn’t tally with the implicit world-view that buying and selling ‘analytics’ promotes. I would suggest a look at the (more mature) online world would be instructional here. Whilst pure analytics products are now thinnish on the ground, and few people pay for them, there is a raft of product from Marketo to Responsys and via all points in between that incorporate analytics, but would never be described as analytics.

That’s because they are marketing products - building first and foremost the things that organizations want to do to move numbers. And only measuring them in service of that goal. I would be convinced that mobile is going the same way and that ‘mobile analytics’ as a product category is not long for this world.

The 360° View

But there’s a more compelling reason why ‘mobile analytics’ is becoming redundant, and that is the rise of the multi-channel business. What has happened over the past five years is not simply mobile ‘taking over’ from the desktop, but rather consumers using both channels as they suit.

In that context, ‘mobile’ analytics can only ever tell us half the story. It’s time to at least start thinking about ‘user analytics’. We want to know what each individual is doing, and how they are behaving, across all our touchpoints: otherwise all we are doing is creating campaigns that fail to recognise and reflect that full experience. Which is a bad thing!

There is some way to go before that true and seamless integration is a commonplace: something expected by marketing professionals. But there is absolutely no doubt that it is coming down the track. Our recent open platform work with Marketo and others is a first and significant step on that journey. By its conclusion, there will be little talk of ‘mobile’ analytics at all.