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Creating KPIs for Mobile Marketing Programs

Creating KPIs for Mobile Marketing Programs


Key performance indicators for mobile marketing campaigns must be made in advance, be easy to evaluate, and must give results of the performance of the campaign along the consumer path to purchase. In this article, I’ll discuss how to choose the right KPIs for your program, how to establish goals, and how to determine if your mobile marketing campaign was successful or not.

Key Performance Indicators

No matter what you do in life, you need to set goals for yourself.  Mobile is no different, only instead of calling them goals, we call them key performance indicators, or KPIs. A KPI is a metric used to determine the success of a business by assessing a particular critical factor. There are many different end-result KPIs to consider.  Obvious ones might be increased sales, increased memberships, or similar. But often increased sales figures, especially for luxury items with a lengthy path to purchase, are not immediately available, and even if they are, they may not be an effect of the mobile marketing promotion. Therefore, early-term KPIs are often considered so that the business can get a more immediate evaluation of the effectiveness of the campaign.

Choosing the right KPIs relies on a good understanding of which factors the organization needs to evaluate. Such KPIs will likely vary based on the department doing the evaluating. What is important to marketing, for instance, may not be as important to the sales or finance departments. Effective KPIs may not be financially related, even though increased sales is often the ultimate, and the most obvious, outcome of an effective marketing strategy.

When Key Performance Indicators Work Best

KPIs work best if they are:

  • Timely and able to be measured frequently;
  • Simple and easy for all involved to understand;
  • Team based so that all departments are pulling together for success and there is no finger-pointing later;
  • Based on factors that have had significant impact in the past;
  • Acted upon and approved by senior management;
  • Able to be evaluated and analyzed to lead to future success.

Choosing the right KPIs for your organization is paramount to evaluating the success of a mobile effort. Too often, businesses blindly adopt KPIs that others in the industry like to evaluate and base their success of their program on those. An example of a KPI that is often improperly used in mobile is tap-through rate. Tap-through rate can be an important KPI, but if the marketing message is misunderstood or exaggerated, it can result in a terrific tap-through rate but poor sales conversion. In addition, a tap-through on a mommy blog may not be as valuable as one on a Huffington Post article.

Be sure that your organization starts with the basics and understands both the goals of the promotion and how it plans on achieving them. The process should be an iterative one that involves feedback from multiple department managers and those implementing the details of the campaign. Then the overall goals need to be understood by all employees who are involved in the process of attempting to reach a particular KPI goal.


With mobile marketing, there are many different KPIs that you can consider based on the type of effort that you are employing. Here is a rundown of some of the metrics you can assess and subsequently use to optimize your marketing’s efficacy and engagement:

  • Active users
  • Ad revenue
  • App downloads
  • App revenue
  • App reviews
  • App store rank

Note — that’s just the A’s.  If you want the complete list, with a description of each, you’re going to need to buy the book.

Choosing the right KPIs in advance will allow alignment of all members of the organization and will create a common goal when running your mobile marketing campaign.

While immediate and interim KPIs are certainly an important gauge of the overall success of a campaign, early mobile marketers were too hung up on some of the more short-term ones. Tapping on a mobile ad and downloading an app are certainly important, but it is what happens after the click or app installation that really matters. Lifetime value may be impossible to predict at this early stage of mobile marketing, but in the long run, it is retention, compared to the cost of acquisition, that matters most.

If you’re really into it, you can listen to my interviews, but we don’t expect you to know all this. After all, at Purplegator, we eat, dream, and sleep mobile every day…so you don’t have to. Send a message to the swamp and we’ll get right back to you. 

Portions of this article are taken from my book Relevance Raises Response: How to Engage and Acquire with Mobile Marketing. The book is the official textbook used in the graduate level course in Mobile Marketing that I teach in the Communication Department at the University of Denver.

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