"Mobile is a complex advertising ecosystem": Adfonic, Mojiva, M&C Saatchi and others discuss mobile measurement

By Katie McQuater | Magazine Editor

Millennial Media



May 15, 2013 | 5 min read

The growth of mobile has brought with it many opportunities for advertisers. But with the maturity of the channel comes a need for better measurement. The Drum catches up with a cross-section of the industry to discuss the issue.

Dave Gwozdz, CEO, Mojiva Since each marketer requires some variation of measurement practices – what they want to measure and how they want to measure – there is usually a multitude of dissimilar options from each supply source. That makes it hard to determine what metrics are reliable and of value, and what metrics are just fluff. The only way to counter this will be to adopt more standard guidelines around mobile metrics.

James Hilton, CEO, M&C Saatchi Mobile The problems around mobile measurement are focused on three main reasons.

Firstly: the fragmentation of the mobile industry. Advertisers have to understand and tackle technical challenges on multiple platforms; browsers are all based on different standards or device identifiers are not present on platforms.

The second reason is app stores. Users have to go through the platform app store after the ad placement interaction and before they open the app. App stores have different limitations but some of them (such as iOS) have very closed systems. This prevents the use of usual online tracking solutions like ref-tags.

The final reason is online tracking solutions. Brands are still trying to implement online solutions, but this is not a simple task. Although mobile is digital, traditional solutions are not suited to the mobile space because some mobile browsers do not accept third party cookies, and when a new app is downloaded it is seen as a new browser on that platform (cross platform attribution is not possible without use of a unique ID).

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Victor Malachard, CEO and co-founder, Adfonic Mobile is a complex advertising ecosystem, and so, historically, establishing consistent tracking methodologies has been a challenge. This is mainly due to the wide variety of mobile devices/platforms available. As a result, publishers and advertisers have had to become familiar with a new set of metrics, different to those for online advertising. But the fact that mobile now commands an impressive 10 per cent share of UK digital ad spend shows that industry players are enthusiastically embracing the medium.

William Rusack, mobile manager, Carat We’re in a much better place when it comes to mobile measurement as there are bespoke adservers able to track users by device, location etc. But due to the complex marketplace there are still issues, things like:

1. The restrictions on what cookie data is being passed back means that post impression tracking is almost impossible and for the purposes of re-targeting it becomes challenging.

2. The difficulties in measuring the journey from interacting with a mobile ad through to purchase or download etc. This normally happens when brands become protective of their owned assets, have security reasons or the tech is not compatible. Not having all the information passed back makes it hard to track the different stages of the customer journey.

Mark Brennan, head of mobile, Manning Gottlieb OMD The main issue with mobile measurement is that the main two methods with which people consume or engage with media, via apps or browsers, are not designed to accept tracking in the same way as desktop PCs. Apps don’t support cookies, which is what powers most online advertising. Creative ways around cookies, such as device identifiers, are emerging but we’re away from standardisation. Furthermore, there are discrepancies between supplier and adserver stats, mainly due to the difference in opinion regarding the definition of a ‘served impression’.

Ryan Hall, managing director, 
Nice Agency With mobile having many facets, it’s difficult to apply a ‘one size fits all’ model to measurement, meaning differing metrics are used by agencies to measure performance. As brands become savvier about the opportunities mobile brings, they rightly require the same detail of measurement from mobile as they do from other channels. For app measurement, this means going beyond simple application store traffic and download figures, towards a focus on retention, analysing the performance of optimised devices, how users are moving between screens, mobile’s place in the wider brand context and delivery against the bottom line.

In addition, finding the right tool to fit your overall digital monitoring is a challenge. Some more well established monitoring tools were created with the web in mind and integrating into mobile products can be be time consuming where mobile specific motoring tools are not geared up for the web. So for brands to see a single analytical view in one place can be challenging.

This article was first published as part of The Drum's quarterly mobile supplement, sponsored by Millennial Media. 150

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