Federal Government Commits to Mobile – Real or “Flavor of the Day”?
Friday February 19th 2010, 10:43 am
Filed under: Phil Kemelor

By Phil Kemelor, VP Strategic Consulting Services

I was heartened to read that Federal CIO Vivek Kundra is committing funds to open a mobile app store on the app.gov platform in 6 months time. With a few mobile apps out there from the White House, NASA and the USPS, the importance of mobile could finally be getting the attention it deserves.

It’s timely news in context with our session on Mobile Measurement Strategies on Feb. 25 at the Holocaust Museum in DC with Semphonic’s VP of Mobile Measurement,  Greg Dowling. There’s still time to register. Just go to: http://is.gd/7hyQE

However, while I’m excited about the Federal government interest in accessibility through mobile web, I’m concerned that, as with past internet initiatives…web sites and social media come to mind…that the importance of measurement will be an after thought… and this will result in lots of money and time wasted. Just another “flavor of the day” initiative to throw budget at, that will have a rather weak set of metrics put against them to claim “success.”

Pardon my cynicism, but the fact of the matter is that most government agencies do a less than stellar job of web measurement. I think this was borne out by the WAA Research we conducted for the Web Analytics Association last year: Tapping the Potential of Web Analytics for Public Sector and Non-Profit Sites.

Some of the more interesting takeaways:

  • Over 60 percent spend only a few hours per week on analytics
  • Less than 20 percent consider return on investment analysis
  • Less than 40 percent conduct analysis on content effectiveness
  • Over 80 percent focus on sitewide traffic measurement, such as page views and visits

Most agencies doing analytics are focused on data that doesn’t do much to inform…overview info like page views and visits, instead of helpful data like top task and success event completion, most valuable content, internal search effectiveness, and acquisition channel effectiveness. There is little effort spent on developing metrics that address bottom line issues, such as cost savings and or productivity enhancements.

So, will it be any different with mobile? I hope so. I hope that Federal agency CIOs, Communication Directors and responsible senior level managers will provide the commitment to web analysts who are trying to do their best to provide actionable data. I also hope that there is a recognition that mobile web, fixed web analytics, social media analytics, surveying and user experience testing should be organized within a central office and not managed as tactical efforts that fall off the radar once the new “flavor of the day” arrives.

Hope to see you on Feb 25 at the Holocaust Museum.

Read more from Phil at his blog: Web Analytics Management


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