Nielsen Mobile Report: Measure Twice, Advertise Once

Nielsen Mobile Report Measure Twice, Advertise OnceThere’s an old saw (pun intended) among carpenters: measure twice, cut once. It’s intended to convey the idea that measuring is serious business — and that cutting before making sure of the dimensions leads to wasted time and money.

Well, Nielsen, the premier global information and measurement company, has released a new report indicating that the new mobile medium needs to cleave to the same dictum.

In its release, Nielsen acknowledges that mobile advertising is an appealing opportunity for brand marketers, offering them the potential to reach a pool of consumers that is growing exponentially by the day.

But because of mobile’s relative youth, Nielsen suggests there is still confusion about how best to engage in mobile advertising — and how to measure its efficacy. The differences between mobile and the “old standbys” (radio, television, newspaper, online) are not inconsequential. Nielsen believes that mobile — though it has been adopted early and often for branding purposes — won’t truly take off until more precise measurement methodologies are developed.

Unless measurement improves, posits Nielsen in the report, mobile advertising will fail to reach its full potential.

What needs to be addressed in order for mobile brand advertising to grow?

“Marketers are deploying mobile campaigns on their own as well as a complement to other media. However, it’s this pairing of mobile with other mediums and focus on branding that gives rise to advertisers’ biggest mobile pain points,” says the Nielsen report. “In fact, advertisers say their two biggest obstacles to further mobile growth are calculating mobile return on investment (ROI) and lack of relevant success metrics for their mobile campaigns.”

Addressing this disconnect could pay large dividends, according to the report.

“Thirty percent of advertisers and 37 percent of agencies say the ‘ability to use the same metrics to evaluate audience reach on mobile as are used offline’ would lead them to increase their use of mobile advertising,” say Nielsen honchos.

In other news from the report, Nielsen predicts that:

1. Spending on mobile brand initiatives will grow faster than spending on direct response initiatives in 2014. One-fifth (21 percent) of advertisers will increase their mobile brand spend by more than 20 percent in 2014.

2. Roughly three-quarters of new mobile funds will come at the expense of other online and offline budgets.

3. Advertisers are increasingly using mobile advertising as an integrated, cross-platform tactic, and are running it in conjunction with other online (90 percent) and offline media (80 percent).

4. Accordingly, marketers would “prefer to use the exact same metrics used in the offline medium, and additional metrics specific to the mobile medium” to measure their mobile campaigns (39 percent).

5. Advertisers most desire GRPs to measure audience reach (37 percent) and brand lift to measure ROI (53 percent). Publishers, however, mainly report ad server impressions (78 percent) and clickthrough rates (74 percent).

6. As a result of this misalignment, many advertisers (55 percent) are doubtful or unconvinced of publishers’ targeting claims and about mobile advertising’s effectiveness, indicating that the medium’s potential growth may be hampered by a lack of relevant metrics that are widely adopted and used.

The conclusion of the report posits that “media sellers and agencies that adopt these best practices and invest in what is needed to deliver these capabilities will be in the best position to capture resulting growth in mobile brand spending.”

In other words, “measure twice.” At the very least.