How to measure ROI in Mobile Marketing

by Alicia Holbrook



Large smartphone screens list the seminars at Internet WorldInnovation in the digital space moves fast. Internet World held annually at Excel London is one of the finest ways to gain insights into the future of digital marketing. From practical workshops divulging how to perfect your pitch, case studies from marketing giants Tesco and Barclaycard and industry suppliers marketing their products and services Internet World offers broad appeal to anyone who works in information technology.

There are seven theatres running seminars throughout the day but measuring ROI was top of the list for me. Before you embark on any marketing campaign it’s important to determine what the objectives are – this is the first question I always ask clients. Understanding what the goal is enables me to work backwards to develop a strategy. 

There is often a different metric for each client, depending on their strategy and how far their marketing plan has travelled on the road map. Over the past year I have seen a sharp increase in visits from mobile, with some of our clients experiencing for the first time visits from mobile overtaking visits from desktop. 

But one fact that can be determined is that mobile is growing fast with no signs of slowing down. This was the theme for Getting ROI from your mobile marketing strategy delivered by Dominic Yacoubian, MD, Purify Digital Limited who shared some interesting facts about how important mobile marketing is:

  • Expect a 1-5% conversion rate within three minutes of receiving an SMS
  • 30% of email is opened on a mobile device
  • 80% of time on mobile is spent inside apps
  • For every one paid user on mobile you will gain one organic user
  • A 72 hour burst campaign on the app store will achieve the most installs and push up the rankings which will in turn promote organic growth
  • 26,000 downloads will achieve a top 10 slot in the UK compared to 72,000 downloads in the US
  • Email marketing is still strong and immediate; 9 out 10 emails are opened within 30 mins
  • 98% use a smart phone at home, 89% use their phone on the move
  • 85% would rather give up bottled water than their smart phone
  • 63% tablet users have purchased an app
  • 47% smart phone users want in-store push notifications


How to measure ROI from Mobile Marketing

With those mind-blowing statistics it is clear that mobile marketing can be a successful addition to the marketing mix. In a recent survey 96% of businesses use or are planning to incorporate mobile marketing this year. What is confusing is why 9 out of 10 CEO's do not understand how to calculate the ROI from mobile marketing. In the digital space it’s possible to measure ROI but tracking must be put in place first. Here are some of the goals you can track:


  • Cost per acquisition – the goal may vary from signing-up for a newsletter, the view of a key page or a sale. Remember if you want subscribers to sign up for a newsletter the fewer details required, the higher the likelihood they will convert.
  • Cost per affiliate – paying a third-party to drive sales, this may be measured per sale.
  • Cost per install or download – measured by revenue from the app/ game.
  • Cost per Mille – this is a typical advertising means of measuring the cost per thousand impressions and can be used to measure brand awareness. This is essential if you are launching a new product or need your brand to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Remember that you won’t be able to drive sales if no one is aware of your product or business.
  • Cost per view – a measurement for video. This may be the first 30 seconds of an ad or the full length of a video.


Like any other campaign, mobile marketing can be measured through a pre-determined metric. Not all of those metrics may translate directly into sales but as with any brand awareness campaign there most likely will be an uplift.  But sales aside, the data you receive from a mobile campaign may also form the ROI. Insights such as the best time of day to promote an app, send an SMS or geo-demographics will help you refine your marketing campaign. Overall, if you can’t prove ROI then you may need to rethink your strategy.