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When should your business commit more investment to mobile?

A new Forrester Research report [behind a paywall] presents a Mobile Mind Shift Index to help you answer that question. The Shift is the degree to which users expect they can get their mobile device will do what they want, when they want it.

“I’ve talked to a lot of companies [that think] they can just look at the traffic to their website,” Forrester SVP of Idea Development Josh Bernoff told VentureBeat.

They might see, he said, that “‘one half of our inbound traffic comes from mobile,’ but that’s not enough for a company to make an [increased] investment in apps or in a sophisticated mobile site.”

The mobile traffic alone doesn’t show if the users are ready to engage in more mobile activity, Bernoff told us, so Forrester came up the Mobile Mind Shift Index to determine “how ready and eager your customers are for mobile engagement.”

“Use [the Index] to help determine the appropriate level of investment in mobile,” the report advises. But if you miss the opportunity, Forrester warns, other companies will happily step in and give your mobile-readiest customers what they want.

The Index has three parts:

  • An Intensity Score shows how immersed customers are in mobile experiences. It determines, on a scale of 0 to 100, “how intensely people use interactive mobile devices” based on how often they interact and the diversity of locations where they do their interacting.
  • An Expectation Score shows what customers expect from the company in question. Also a scale to 100, it relies on a series of questions.
  • And the Behavior Scores “tell you whether they’re ready to communicate, consume, or transact.” Key indicators: reading email, texting, reading news, watching video, or making a purchase on a mobile device.

Averages are used to measure how “shifted” a mobile audience is — and how fast the company should move to satisfy their mobile appetites. Interaction/traffic data and surveys are among the tools used to measure where customers are in the Index.

Then, once the Index tells how much your company’s audience is really into mobile, the research firm advises identifying the most opportune moments, kinds of engagement, and results monitoring for those mobile things you will offer.

Bernoff told us that, eventually, every group of mobile users can be expected to become more engaged and to expect more from the company.

“My parents are in their 80s,” he said. When they first got their smartphones, he recalled, their use, intensity, and expectation was low, as they occasionally checked a maps app or a weather app.

Then, Bernoff said, they began to discover other apps and mobile benefits, and now they’re busily using apps. As one might expect, younger audiences will move more quickly to the more evolved mobile stage than older ones.

“All audiences will evolve” into intense mobile users, he said. “The Index will tell you how long you’ve got” until they do.

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