KPIs for Mobile and Multi-Platform Sites

Marketers faced with building new web sites have to decide how best to deploy across multiple platforms – PC, tablet and mobile. While much of the conversation revolves around decisions on whether to choose responsive design versus platform-specific, and whether to build elements as standalone apps or browser apps, one area that regrettably usually gets left out is the discussion of appropriate tracking and analytics for the new ecosystem.

Key Takeaway

As you decide how to design your next-generation web site and make it work across all types of platforms, carefully map out the ways your customers, prospects and stakeholders use each platform when they engage with your business. Needs and intent are not the same from PC to tablet to smartphone, and your site and analytics must align to these variations. Customize your analytics so that reports tell you how well each platform delivers on the needs of your customers in that context, and aligns with the goals of your business in detail and overall.

Having dug into this issue frequently, here are six useful ways of addressing the analytics challenge of multi-platform web sites. Hopefully they help you insert the tracking and success measures into your design from the start.

1. Align channels to business goals

The first step in designing a new web presence, and in building the analytical platform, is to have a good map that relates the web site to your business goals. That doesn’t sound like a big deal but ask five people in the company how they think the web site contributes to the business and you could quite easily get five unrelated answers.

Here’s an example – using the hotel business as we have a number of clients in the travel sector.

Web site objectives

  Design Goals Commerce Goals Task Support
PC/Browser Branding and personalized content delivery Search optimization, shopping/engagement, bookings, post-sales support and upsell/cross-sell, etc… General research, comparisons, selection and purchase/conversion, post-conversion support
Tablet Branding and shareable features  Engagement with imagery, search optimization, app downloads, shopping/engagement, bookings, post-sales support and upsell/cross-sell, etc…  Email campaigns, search and research, comparisons, purchase/conversion, post-conversion support, mobility tasks including on-site
Mobile Brand style guide alignment, short paths to goals  Email landing pages, local/contextual activity and conversions, wayfinding (finding the hotel) Email campaigns, on-site search (retail) and price comparisons, conversion (growing opportunity), mobility tasks, near-field search (‘finding’ tasks), etc…

2. KPIs by platform – Context is king

Still with the hotel example: Imagine you are setting up a hotel web site. When your customers search for your hotel on a web browser on their PC and are in another country, they are probably planning a trip, so you need to provide an array of planning and conversion information; when they search for your hotel on a mobile device and they are in the city, they are probably trying to find the hotel – so give the address and phone number.

Web designers are still learning this critical distinction – the need to map out the most common use cases – by platform and context – in advance of the design, and then design paths through the site, including typical cross-platform jumps. Each use case will spawn a few performance indicators that need to be tracked
‘One size does not fit all’.

3. Channel-specific reports

It’s tempting to set up your report suite with simple filters to let you see all reports by platform. Now that you have been thinking of the context of each platform and the intended uses, you know that this approach biases the interpretation of results. For many companies the web site is still the largest activity channel (visits, views that sort of thing) and that means the web site will be disproportionately valued for certain interactions; in your business the web site is probably still by far the largest source of digital transactions and will obscure trends emerging in other platforms.

Instead, design a set of reports for each platform, and a master roll-up that shows you how all the activity adds up. Run the reports multiple times, one for each main attribution technique (first-touch, last-touch, linear, mostly-first, mostly-last, that sort of thing. This will depend on the capabilities of your analytics tools). Only by seeing the differences in the reports will you get a sense of the aggregate impact of each channel on the overall contribution to your business.

Here are a couple of ways of thinking about platform-specific reports

Web browser

  • Emphasis on Conversion metrics
  • Secondary – Traffic and engagement activity (downloads, video views, etc)


  • Traffic (by channel – mainly email, search, referral and direct matter)
  • Successful task completion (for example one-page visits on a mobile site should not be considered a ‘bounce’ if there is contact information or some content relevant to a mobile use case on the page)

The marketers that can integrate thinking about business outcomes, the context options of each platform, and the needs of customers and prospects as they move through the sales cycle will almost always design a better web site – better for the customer, and better for the company. That’s the kind of thinking we spend a lot of time doing here at Acronym, and we’d be glad to have a chat about how this might help your business, whether or not you are at the point where you are redesigning your web presence.