Mobile App Economy Still Stymied by Mediocre Metrics

eMarketer estimates that mobile ad spending will spike from $8.4 billion in 2012 to $37 billion in 2016. But in order for the marketing community, which is presently awash with optimistic predictions, to continue investing in the mobile channel, the return on this investment of time, treasure, and faith can no longer be as murky as in years past.

“The most significant issue for ad buyers,” reads a recent report from MIT Technology Review, “is that they don’t know if the ads are working, like they do on desktop computers.” The report cites data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which indicates that all media depend critically upon reliable metrics for audience reach.

This week, Kate Kaye of AdAge published an eye-opening report on how poor and messy measurement is “holding the mobile app economy back.”

“Mobile app usage is exploding but the lack of reliable app measurement, particularly for understanding what app audiences look like, could throw a wrench into the mobile ad spending machine,” Kaye writes. “Mobile analytics firms, traditional web measurement vendors and startups aim to overcome the challenges of app audience measurement, and are coming at it in a variety of ways.”

Flurry and Quantcast, as two examples cited, deliver mobile analytics to app developers, however, their “directly-measured view only encompasses apps that use their tracking technologies, not the whole universe of apps.”

“The state of mobile app audience measurement is definitely becoming an impediment to faster growth of in-app advertising revenues,” explains Joe Laszlo, senior director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Consequently, the IAB is beginning to take a long, hard look at mobile app measurement standards. That comes straight from Laszlo, who tells AdAge: “With the desire to make in-app advertising a significant part of a digital advertiser’s budget, buyers naturally want some assurance that they know the audience that they’re reaching, and they can depend on the numbers that they’re using to plan their buys.”

To read the full report from AdAge, click here.