The following is a guest contributed post by Frederic Joseph, S4M‘s COO.
Most would probably agree with the statement that mobile metrics are outdates. Current industry metrics like impressions and clicks are tired and inefficient. Yet we continue to use them because we simply haven’t been able to collectively push forward with a new set of standards that better identify mobile marketing success.
The Media Ratings Council has indicated that in early 2016 it will begin accrediting companies based on new mobile guidelines. This helps to pave the way for new mobile metrics and for the industry to move forward together. But will it help us move fast enough?
In 2015 alone, mobile advertising will grow by 59 percent. Projections for the end of this year show that mobile digital ad spending will surpass desktop for the first time. The industry is calling for full transparency and concrete means of measuring the quality of ad impressions to ensure true returns on their ad investments. If these demands are not met, mobile advertising is destined to go the path of plummeting prices and low returns, hurting everyone involved in the industry from publishers to ad tech companies and agencies to brands. Marketers are in agreement on this. “If I can’t measure it, I won’t spend there,” said Paul Rattin, director of mobile marketing at Orbitz, at this year’s Mobile Media Summit in Chicago.
Another element to this discussion is, of course, ad fraud, which has been under intense scrutiny as the online ad trading process is growing increasingly automated with the continued influx of new technologies.
Measurements such as click through rate and cost per click do not measure the quality of ads or eliminate fraudulent ad impressions. Since the biggest fraud issues in mobile media are bot traffic, precision targeting, lack of frequency capping and unconfirmed viewability, these issues will only persist and grow if we continue to use the existing outdated mobile metrics adopted from the world of digital desktop display.
Fraud will continue to run rampant on mobile if we don’t implement metrics to measure actions taken beyond clicks and impressions. Actions that happen post-click are not easily replicated by bots. Tracking campaigns post-click or post-visit is essential to eliminate ad fraud and bot behavior, such as loaded ads that are never seen and are loaded on top of each other.
With our current metrics, we are also lacking transparency in targeting. For example, sometimes ads are sent to the wrong OS or the wrong device, which causes them not to render. The common click metrics do not address this issue, and contributes further to fraud and viewability problems.
Not to mention, we’re still struggling with the issue of viewability, which should be a no brainer. Advertisers should be guaranteed that each ad is 100 percent viewable and be able to track the degree of ad engagement from each individual user. By using metrics that matter, we can enable unprecedented opportunities and growth for the mobile sector. Mobile media will become a more transparent space, where buyers can account for each ad dollar.
As we look towards 2016, we need to approach mobile as a stand-alone category, independent from the desktop display industry. We need to take advantage of the unique properties of mobile devices and the unparalleled level of user engagement in this medium.
New and more precise measurements need to be put in place such as time spent on landing pages, post install actions for mobile applications and cost per active users.
Such new mobile measuring methods and practices will in turn help brands to justify mobile ad spend. Marketers will allocate more dollars to mobile when they see returns, are able to learn from campaign mishaps and can glean overall clarity from their mobile campaigns.
In the meantime, ad tech companies, agencies and brands need to go beyond existing mobile metrics and help innovate ad spend through more accountable metrics that excel and establish a foundation of trust.
Mobile will dominate our future. Let’s make sure we measure our efforts accordingly.