Despite the increasing importance of mobile devices for both traffic and sales, fewer than half of businesses (41%) are able to accurately measure the behavioral differences between mobile and desktop visitors, according to research from Econsultancy and Kontagent. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

The 'Mobile Sophistication and Strategy Report' also found that a further 41% have limited insight into how mobile users browse their sites, while almost a fifth (18%) say they cannot measure the difference at all.

The study, which examined how organisations and marketing agencies are responding to the ever-expanding reach and importance of the mobile channel, was based on a survey of 1,301 respondents from both client-side and agency backgrounds.

To provide context for mainstream marketers, the survey sample was divided into two main parts:

  1. One part comprised those companies who have been determined to be 'mobile first' by one or more measures, such as having a majority of customers/audience access site(s) via mobile devices or having a primary revenue stream from mobile.
  2. The second and larger part of the sample comprised those companies determined to be 'mobile mainstream', which better reflects mobile programmes across all sectors and company types.

As expected, the mobile first group proved to be far more adept at measuring user behaviour than the mainstream. Almost two-thirds (63%) of that group can track differences in behavior between mobile and desktop users.

Perhaps as a result of the lack of accurate analytics, 46% of the mobile mainstream said that they optimise their mobile sites less often than quarterly, or even never.

Only 23% of the mainstream group said they update their mobile sites based on user feedback/data either monthly or weekly; however, this increases to 63% among mobile first companies.

The report noted that mobile sites are updated even less frequently than apps, which was a surprise given that site updates are easier than app updates for most organisations. This may be related to the current divide in goals between the two: many apps are conceived of as revenue drivers, while sites are for information.

Finally, the report examined the extent to which mobile programmes are supported by business intelligence and analytics teams. This can often be a useful measure of how much value a business places in its mobile initiatives. Among companies that have BI or analytics teams (roughly 65% of the total sample), there's an expected gap between the mobile first and mainstream.

However, it is perhaps a sign of the importance of mobile within all types of organisation that the majority reported reliable support at a time when many departments suffer from a lack of analytics resources.

The full report has been made available for purchase from Econsultancy's web site - click here.