About 78 percent of all Facebook users are mobile only. More than half of all searches occur on a mobile device. About two-fifths of all online retail sales are mobile. Ninety percent of all Twitter ad purchases are mobile. Total mobile ad spend is expected to increase by 50 percent in 2015. And by 2019, the forecast is for mobile to represent 72 percent of all digital ad spend.

The numbers are fascinating stuff for professionals who have been in the digital space for the past decade or two and are experiencing the hockey-stick curve firsthand. Their message is clear: The world is going mobile.

"It’s no longer enough for mobile to be an afterthought in marketing – not when it will make up the majority of overall digital ad budgets within four years," write the authors of a new report on the topic from DialogTech, which cites the above numbers.

Money for Nothing

The title of the report is "The 49% ROI Mistake Marketers Don't Know They're Making" (registration required).

From that, you can get a sense for how well the authors at the Chicago-based call analytics and automation firm believe marketers are managing mobile. Of particular concern to the DialogTech team are the billions of phone calls to businesses facilitated by mobile.

Again, the numbers are impressive.

In 2014, 76 billion phone calls driven by mobile marketing channels. By 2019, that number could be 162 billion phone calls, according to BIA/Kelsey.

In DialogTech's own analysis of 60 million website sessions and 400,000 attributable inbound phone calls, calls resulting from mobile increased 34 percent in the first half of 2015 versus the last half of 2014.

The "mistake" that marketers are making, according to DialogTech, is that marketers are not preparing for these calls, nor are they tracking them when they do come. This is resulting in incomplete conversion data, misattribution, inaccurate ROI and wasted ad spend.

'I Can't See Anything'

As for attribution and conversion rate, that's where the 49 percent ROI comes in. There is a "blind spot," the authors contend, between conversion rates for your average web form (2.4 percent) for DialogTech customers and the 4.7 total conversion rate they witness on average.

And that blind spot is the average phone-through rate (2.3 percent). Do the math, and you find that if marketers aren't aware of that phone-through rate, their blind spot amounts to 49 percent of conversions being potentially missed or misattributed.

Take the authors' example:

"Consider a search marketer with a monthly Google AdWords budget of $50,000. Assuming they generated 250 web leads in one month, the result is a cost per lead of $200. But that’s with no call attribution. With call attribution the search marketer discovers a 49% ROI mistake: in addition to 250 web leads, they are also receiving 245 phone leads each month. Now with 495 total monthly leads, the cost per lead decreases 49 percent to $101."

To benefit from this trend, however, marketers ought to have a robust call experience, featuring personalization, and tools to measure call quality and results, according to the report authors.

But Not So Fast …

Then again, nothing is that simple. As we might guess, consumers respond differently to mobile marketing, depending on the customers’ demographics and the nature and depth of the customer-company relationship, said James Quin, senior director of content and C-suite communities at think tank and conference promoter CDM Media.

“Stronger relationships are going to drive a more interactive response (think call or social versus web site visit). In the second, younger customers are more likely to leverage newer technology channels than older customers are (so millennials are more likely to respond socially while Boomers are more likely to call or visit a website),” he said.

But don’t let the complexities hold you back.

“if you’re not using mobile to drive customer interaction and customer acquisition then you are left behind,” Quin said.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License Title image  by Günter Hentschel.