IAB releases "State of Mobile Measurement"


The study calls on the mobile industry to come together to create common standards for research on mobile audience and ad effectiveness. For the expected increased ad spend to become reality and grow even faster than predicted the industry needs to deliver reliable and uniform metrics. IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence says the study specifically pinpoints the drivers and inhibitors of growth in mobile marketing and advocates for the adoption of reliable and consistent mobile metrics

Examining the factors that have hindered the broad acceptance of unified research standards and recommending the interactive marketing ecosystem immediately starts down the road to consensus, the report begins with a look at what is driving the development of mobile measurement—and what is holding it back. Motivators such as growth in mobile usage, increased ad spend, and demand for measurement currency have been counterbalanced by such inhibitors as lack of standards, technological challenges, a complex ecosystem, and an ambiguous regulatory environment.

As well, there are currently two measurement types with three discrete channels.  However, mobile throws in such new metrics as “location.” And, unlike the traditional web—where the main variables have been monitor size and browser—mobile measurement must also deal with three discrete channels: the mobile web, mobile apps and texting. As with traditional web measurement, the mobile ecosystem also needs to measure both ad effectiveness and audience.

Marketers must also account for multiple operating systems, carriers, handsets and device types. In addition, there are differences in the types of measurement tools used by different publishers, ad networks and online retailers.

Technological barriers also cause cross-platform challenges – Some technologies deemed essential in measuring the traditional web work far less effectively—or not at all—with mobile. These include cookies, server logs, and correlation between server logs and third party ad servers. An especially difficult challenge is how to assess numbers of unique visitors.

These factors and others make cross-platform measurement the industry’s “holy grail,” says Marissa Gluck, Founder and Managing Partner of Radar Research, and the report’s author: “Even as other digital channels, such as the PC-based web, email and social media have developed more sophisticated measurement, mobile media lags behind. Despite the lack of industry-accepted measurement standards, marketing investment continues to grow. While this report highlights some of the measurement obstacles facing mobile media, it is also meant to provide a roadmap as the industry and—excuse the pun—to mobilize the industry for further dialogue.”

RBR-TVBR observation: The report touched upon the regulatory environment—much of that can be summed up in one word: privacy. Part of the reason the regulatory environment has been dubbed ambiguous in the report is because the industry is currently left to self-regulation—and that’s good. Over the summer, for example, GroupM issued new guidelines underscoring the fact that mobile marketers need to establish fair and aggressive guidelines for the protection of consumer privacy in order to prevent the possibility of government regulation.

The guidelines safeguard the privacy of consumers using mobile devices by limiting the amount of data collected and passed from mobile devices that can be used in marketing campaigns. The goal is to protect consumers from the unwanted collection and distribution of their personal info.