First “Industry Standard Metrics” Released? Doubtful

First Industry Standard Metrics Released DoubtfulIn an announcement by the GSMA and comScore today, the two have announced what they’re calling the “first, industry standard metrics for mobile advertising.”  Though it looks to be a valiant attempt, it seems to miss the mark in terms of addressing the true needs of mobile advertisers.

Based on the UK mobile market for starters, the metrics are based on anonymous browsing data gathered from all five UK operators’ subscriber bases.  These behavioural metrics are complemented by some basic demographic data collected on an opt-in basis from a small panel of mobile users.  The collective data from all carriers is then centralized to allow advertisers to view data without fragmentation.

The move was said to address the lack of standardized metrics for measuring audience engagement, which is no doubt a huge problem in the realm of mobile advertising, but doesn’t address the big picture, or account for metrics stemming from integrated ad-networks and existing analytics solutions.  The GSMA admits this only a first step, but at least the industry in moving in the right direction and addressing arguably the largest problem facing mobile advertisers – a lack of truly comprehensive measurement.

This move also signals the many roadblocks the industry will face in trying to develop such comprehensive measurement techniques.  The GSMA has been laying the foundations for mobile metrics for the past eighteen months, for example, including looking at security and technical issues, as well as working with regulatory authorities and other industry bodies such as the MMA and IAB to ensure a coherent approach.

Simply centralizing metrics from numerous carriers in one country took over a year and a half to complete, given the many regulatory hazards and red-tape encountered along the way.  Just think how long it will take to centralize data from the many analytics solutions and ad-networks as well.

This is a valiant effort, and will likely become the foundation for continued development of a true “industry standard” for mobile metrics, but we still have long long way to go before we encounter anything truly usable.