Mobile insights have existed for as long as the mobile web has existed. However, it wasn’t until nearly every mobile phone was equipped with apps and GPS location services that companies really began to attempt to understand how mobile engagement contributes to the bigger picture of the customer journey.

The rise in demand for mobile insights

Mobile insights are in higher demand now than ever before because smartphone ownership and usage of mobile location based services (LBS) are at all time highs. In fact, smartphone ownership is approaching its maximum potential, as 72 percent of U.S. consumers and 92 percent of Millennials (18-34 years old) own a smartphone. Usage of mobile LBS by smartphone owners is approaching its maximum potential, too. As of July 2015, 90 percent of U.S. smartphone users age 18 and over reported using mobile LBS.

In addition, the top ten mobile apps by unique visitors all ask users to share location data. As a result, the companies behind these leading location-aware apps — Google, Facebook, and Pandora Media — have significant location-based data to leverage. In general, these companies use their proprietary location data in their own advertising products and related services. However, they do not extend the data out in such a way that it can easily be used by others to map their own customer journeys.

Making sense of mobile insights at scale

It’s currently very challenging to understand the impact of mobile on the customer journey, as it requires connecting three forms of mobile analytics: mobile-web browsing, app analytics, and mobile location data. Yet, marketing leaders clearly do want to understand this. For instance, the Economist Intelligence Unit found that an overwhelming 86 percent of the CMOs believe they will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020. In order to do this, marketing leaders have to get a single view of the customer that includes all three types of mobile insights.

Tech companies pivot to address the demand for mobile insights

The demand for mobile insights is so high that companies who didn’t start out as analytics companies now offer mobile analytics. Two examples of this are Foursquare and Square.

Foursquare pivots to location intelligence

Foursquare started as a location-based check-in app and has since morphed into two apps, both of which fuel the company’s pivot into location intelligence. Today, Foursquare’s Swarm app provides a dedicated check-in and adventure mapping experience, while its City Guide app helps consumers find the best places to go with friends. Both apps ask users to allow access to their location even when the app is not being used.

This location data flows out to Foursquare’s B2B customers via products like Foursquare Attribution, which can attribute incremental in-store visits to digital campaigns displayed across apps, the mobile web, and desktop. So, it can tell companies if a specific campaign, or campaign group has a positive impact on in-store traffic.

Square ventures into mobile point of sale (POS) analytics

Square started out as a mobile payments company with a mission to make it easy for small and medium-sized businesses to accept credit cards. The company achieved this vision by launching a hardware-software solution in 2010 that can transform any smartphone or tablet into a credit card reader and processor. Four years later, the company enhanced its value proposition to SMBs by adding free analytics. Today, Square Analytics makes POS data easily accessible to business owners and operators.

Striving for a more complete customer journey

While companies like Foursquare and Square are bringing important mobile insights to light, they are still not able to describe the full customer journey from mobile to desktop to store visits to actual sales. And because it’s difficult, a mere 20 percent of digital transformation leaders are studying the mobile customer journey, according to Altimeter.

At Jumpshot, we’re already able to retrace every step of your audience’s web and mobile web footprint since January 2014 through yesterday. If understanding the impact on mobile is on your wish list, we’d love to hear from you.

Bottom line: As smartphones and location based services went mainstream, the need for in-depth mobile analytics and insights rose. As a result, some mobile first companies transformed into mobile location analytics providers that provide organizations with an easy way to analyze offline transactions and attribute digital efforts to in-store traffic. Jumpshot adds to this by providing companies with a way to retrace every step of the customer journey, across software, devices, and location.