Web traffic and mobile traffic have swapped places – in other words, 52.7% traffic now comes from mobile (according to a 2016 study from relatia). What are businesses in the press, banking and hospitality industries making of this trend? What mobile analytics strategies have they adopted? In this joint interview, learn how Pierre Buffet from Le Monde (newspaper), Aziz Daifi from Société Générale (bank) and Xavier Sarrot from AccorHotels are tackling mobile analytics.
Please tell us a bit about yourselves.
Pierre Buffet (Le Monde): I’ve been the head of digital studies at Le Monde for the past 3 years. I’ve worked in the media industry for the last 8 years, and was previously head of digital marketing at the advertising division of Libération (daily newspaper). Prior to that, I was a marketing research manager at Les Echos group (daily financial newspaper).
Aziz Daifi (Société Générale): I’m currently the head of digital strategy for Société Générale’s international banking and financial services. Previously, I was responsible for the roadmap for the group’s website and French mobile application (release plans, new services, navigation …).
Xavier Sarrot (AccorHotels): For the last 2 years, I’ve been the product manager at AccorHotels for our mobile application. I have 10 years of experience in digital and mobile, notably with experiences at Bouygues Telecom and Novedia Consulting.
Can you describe your company’s current mobile presence ?
Pierre Buffet (Le Monde): For a long time, Le Monde has been the French leader among mobile applications. Our ecosystem of mobile apps is firmly rooted in our company culture. Conversely, for a long time, our mobile website was the poor relation (due in part to the strength of our apps). But we’ve just redesigned our mobile website to give it the importance it deserves, considering its growth and impact on our traffic.
Aziz Daifi (Société Générale): We work with Société Générale’s 36 “Retail” subsidiaries to co-build the digital strategy for each of them. Each subsidiary has its own particular ecosystem (which I won’t get into here). One thing’s for sure – in the last few years, mobile has flourished everywhere. Our digital strategy, via our roadmaps, is completely aligned with this fundamental trend.
Xavier Sarrot (AccorHotel): AccorHotels has a mobile website (which will very soon be fully responsive), and an application for iOS and Android, available on smartphone, tablet and AppleWatch. AccorHotels is a company that’s now “mature” on mobile. Our “mobile-first” programme was at the heart of our plan for digital transformation, kicked off in 2014, and has enabled us to speed up the development of our mobile ecosystem.
Can you share a few traffic trends with us ?
Pierre Buffet (Le Monde): Mobile applications represent 21% of our total digital traffic (counting desktop, mobile and apps), and the mobile site counts for 36% of our total traffic. Our traffic is therefore predominantly mobile.
Aziz Daifi (Société Générale): Our traffic figures – and adoption of mobile banking in general – can differ greatly depending on the geographic areas I’m working on… In France, we see figures up to double those in Central Europe and I won’t even mention figures in Africa. There’s a strong general growth trend in mobile usage, but beyond that, maturity levels are radically different depending on the country.
Xavier Sarrot (AccorHotels): In June 2016, the trend lines for web traffic and mobile/app traffic intersected and were inverted; mobile is now our primary channel for generating traffic and growth.
How is the rise of mobile impacting your company’s resource allocation ?
Pierre Buffet (Le Monde): The massive adoption of mobile devices by our readers has driven us to focus on and dedicate resources to developing a new mobile site.
Aziz Daifi (Société Générale): Many customers have built a long-distance-only relationship with their bank. Despite the greater number of touchpoints we now have with our customers, we generally have fewer opportunities to see them in person. Therefore, we must rethink the entire customer relationship model. In tangible terms, this means we must (re)allocate our budgets toward the development of new mobile services, and also toward recruiting the best talent to respond to these challenges.
Xavier Sarrot (AccorHotels): In terms of internal organisation, we have a team of about 30 people who work specifically on developing our application (production, product managers, testing) – and that doesn’t account for the display marketing, SEA and SEO resources that also contribute to the app’s promotion. If we’re talking more generally about our mobile web activity (not just the app), the entire e-commerce division is involved.
What kind of user behaviours do you typically see on mobile ?
Pierre Buffet (Le Monde): Compared to traditional web behaviour, our mobile audience is less engaged. They’re more present on social networks, with a share of traffic from Facebook that continues to grow. We see more significant behaviour in the evenings and on the weekend. So, these windows of time are no longer moments of lulls in activity, but rather critical periods. For us, this means we must make the most of push notifications: Which content should we promote? When, at what frequency, and to whom?
Aziz Daifi (Société Générale): The usage frequency we see is rather significant. In particular, we’ve observed mobile usage rates that are more than 5x higher than on desktop web. This means that if a client logs into our site 4 times over the course of a month, he’ll log in to the mobile app 20 times. There’s more immediacy on mobile, with customers checking their balances and most recent transactions, whereas on the desktop web, more complex services are being used. I’d add that up until now, we analysed the performance of each device independently to see if one device usage was cannibalising another. But now, we’re more interested in cross-device behaviour: Which customers interact with different devices during their journey? How is this cross-device behaviour evolving?
Xavier Sarrot (AccorHotels): We now know that on mobile devices, customers book stays that are both shorter and sooner than on desktop. For example, they more often book stays of just 1 to 2 nights, and confirm their hotel room mostly within the 3 days prior. It’s therefore immediacy which take precedence on mobile. Consequently, the average basket value and cancelation rates are also different (between mobile and desktop). We’ve defined custom variables corresponding to our users’ journeys (researching accommodations, booking, preparation, the actual stay, social sharing…). We perform all our analyses through the perspective of these different steps. We’ve naturally observed that mobile has become the preferred channel for the trip preparation phase (research and scouting, directions, etc.) and during the customer’s stay.
“[Mobile requires us to] make the most of push notifications: Which content should we promote? When, at what frequency, and to whom? “
Pierre Buffet (Le Monde)
What are the main metrics you use to evaluate mobile performance?
Pierre Buffet (Le Monde): Our KPIs and key metrics are the following: number of visits coming from Facebook and Google that bounce, bounce rate, number of pages viewed per visit, recurring visitors, visit frequency.
Aziz Daifi (Société Générale): We look in particular at our mobile app download rates, as well as user ratings in the app stores, notably when we launched in Africa.
Xavier Sarrot (AccorHotels): We study the application version and OS in order to identify any differences in conversion rate between versions. By studying the quality of the network used (3G, 4G, Wifi, …) we can also analyse our performance. We are also planning to industrialise our retention analyses by user cohort, so that we can better evaluate the quality of our app installations.
“We study the application version and OS in order to identify any differences in conversion rate between versions.”
Xavier Sarrot (AccorHotels)
What mobile-specific actions have you implemented (or do you plan to implement)?
Pierre Buffet (Le Monde): I think it would be useful to deepen our analysis of push notifications via segmentation and A/B testing. This type of action would have several goals: increase click rates, decrease account deactivations, and generate new subscriptions.
Aziz Daifi (Société Générale): We’ve had to adapt the manner in which we design our banking products and services. Today, we work with a “mobile-first” approach: We first focus on developing our services for our mobile interfaces, and then later adapt them to web interfaces.
Xavier Sarrot (AccorHotels): Taking into account specific user behaviours related to mobile usage, we’ve launched specific services, such as city guides, and additional services like car hire. We’ve also worked to ensure our mobile app adapts to user context. For example, if a customer has not yet booked a reservation, the search page will be the first page displayed in the app. If the customer already has a reservation booked, we’ll show him/her all the details of his/her upcoming trip, with different possible actions to take (such as online check-in). Once he/she has arrived in his/her room, the customer can use the app to order other services available in the chosen hotel.
“Today, we work with a ‘mobile-first’ approach: We first focus on developing our services for our mobile interfaces, and then later adapt them to web interfaces.”
Aziz Daifi (Société Générale)
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Pierre Buffet (Le Monde): Looking ahead to our next projects, I would say that in addition to revamping our mobile site, we’re planning to improve our CRM in order to more efficiently exploit the data gathered from our apps. This will require streamlined integration of different systems.
Aziz Daifi (Société Générale): What strikes me in particular about mobile is the speed of user adoption. In a very short time, we’ve seen the trendlines for usage of our web and mobile services intersect (thanks to the availability of new mobile features) – desktop web usage is now largely dwarfed by mobile usage.
Xavier Sarrot (AccorHotels): We’re continuously keeping an eye on the latest innovations from Apple, Google and Facebook, and even Baidu and Tencent in China. I’m thinking of Android Progressive Web Apps, for example, and of our current experimentation with integrating bots in our applications. Our objective is to be in sync with how customers use mobile today, and to have a head start on understanding how our digital ecosystem will change.
Many thanks to our customers for sharing their experience with mobile! For a truly holistic view of performance, AT Internet’s tools and dashboards provide a cross-device, cross-source and cross-site view of how users are interacting with your brand: How are they behaving across devices? Which sequences of devices and platforms perform best? How does user behaviour evolve over time? Get in touch to discuss your mobile projects!