Image via Mad Men Facebook Page.

Only 15 years ago, if you told a friend you were in marketing, they would probably conjure up images of creative types drawing pictures, writing copy, or cobbling together stories for brands. Or perhaps they would envision the Mad Men-esque wood-paneled boardrooms of Madison Avenue agencies.

Today’s typical marketer is neither a creative ninja nor an ad agency exec. Certainly there are still wood-paneled boardrooms, and there are, of course, still creative types that make things look pretty. These positions and the stereotypes associated with them will never disappear. They are critical to the machinery of marketing.

But today the most common type of marketer is one who is obsessed with numbers, analytics, data and results. This marketer may be an executive at a big media firm, an enterprise-level company, or the owner of a small business. Every marketer at every level is in desperate need of analytics.

Analytics and Big Data

Marketing has, as many have noted, moved “from art to big data.” This is a massive shift.

Analytics hold marketers accountable and shape campaigns. Budgets are allocated, employees are hired and corporate strategies are established by analytics.

Online marketers are just now getting comfortable with the deluge of big data that comes from being able to track everything from open rates to time on site, page visits and even how many times articles are read. They’re still figuring out how to correctly use and apply the data.

And now, just when they’re getting comfortable, here comes mobile.

Mobile is different

Image by Prive International via Flickr

The problem is that mobile marketers “grew up” as online marketers. They have built-in biases, habits and traditions.

Mobile marketers think like online marketers. They market like online marketers. And they look at analytics like online marketers.

But mobile marketing is vastly different from online marketing. The biggest difference might be in how users engage with mobile compared to how they engage with regular online marketing.

A stunning 90 percent of mobile searchers take action within one day. A more stunning 70 percent of mobile searchers take action within one hour.

Did you know that the two most common actions after a mobile search are a phone call and a map look up? True story.

The three most critical things to know about mobile analytics

1) Online analytics aren’t enough

Every online marketer has his or her list of five or six metrics they look at to determine effectiveness. Maybe they look at bounce rate, unique visitors and abandon rates. Perhaps they look at visit duration or total pages visited. They are, no doubt, tracking conversion rates and page views.

Far too many mobile marketers are trying to use the same metrics to track their mobile campaigns. They’re trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.

Traditional online metrics are secondary in a mobile environment. Tracking calls and social media engagement is paramount. Tracking the time someone spent on a mobile site and bounce rate is peripheral at best.

2) The phone is a big deal

Online marketing took the wind out of the phone’s proverbial sails. The phone had lost its swagger as a conversion rate machine in the 2000s. Well, guess what? The phone is back.

BIA/Kelsey says that mobile will spark a deluge of calls to businesses that will more than double call volume by 2014. They are literally saying that businesses receiving 20 calls a day now will be receiving 40 calls each day in just over a year.

Mobile produces calls. Nielsen recently said that 73 percent of mobile searchers call a business as a result of their search. Wow.

And getting all of these calls is a good thing. Phone calls are the highest value leads most businesses receive. Our own data shows that inbound phone calls are 15 times more likely to convert to customers than an inbound web lead that downloaded a White Paper or e-book.

Calls are awesome and with mobile you’ll be getting a lot of them.

Calls are awesome. Image via Mad Men Facebook Page.

3) Mobile analytics tools are available

In 2010, 30 percent of mobile marketers told R2integrated they didn’t have enough analytics to measure ROI effectively. That was a problem then. It isn’t a problem now.

There are dozens of tools that track mobile engagement. There are entire suites of products that measure social media engagement via mobile devices. Even Google Analytics’ new mobile features will help.

The bottom line is this: You no longer have a mobile metrics blind spot.

Gold in them calls

Marketing is changing. It is now a numbers game – a game of big and useful data. Marketers need to adapt to gather these changing analytics.

There is gold waiting in every mobile click, every call and every engagement. The trick is getting the gold out and then using it to further your marketing efforts.