Experts Debate 'Ickiness' Of Web, Mobile Measurement

"Icky" is how Luane Kohnke, SVP and managing director of analytics & accountability at R/GA, describes today's best mobile measurement tools.

"Icky" as in "you don't know what you're measuring," Kohnke explained during an afternoon panel discussion at the OMMA Metrics & Measurement conference on Wednesday.

In an effort to somehow quantify the characterization, Kohnke said mobile measurement is where Web measurement was about, say, 10 years ago.

Of the more than 15 different "tools" that RGA uses to measure the digital space, Kohnke singled out Omniture for its ability to effectively measure Web interactions. Still, she added, "we're constantly looking at new tools."

In addition to mobile, the social sphere remains quite impervious to existing measurement tools, Kohnke added. The problem is that it requires a "very hands on" approach, which is difficult to scale."

Indeed, attempts by marketers to measure social media made for the best -- and least flattering -- stories at the OMMA conference on Wednesday.



For one, too many companies are doing the equivalent of walking into a cocktail party and yelling at the top of their lungs, said Katie Paine, founder and CEO of KDPaine & Partners.

Another one of Paine's clients considers it a successful social strategy to not be mentioned at all. Paine and others consider this "playing defense." As to whether other marketers are pursuing a similarly defensive approach, Paine said, "yes, and failing miserably."

Either way, a hybrid approach to social measurement is critical -- i.e., one that includes both automated and human systems. What's more, marketers will continue to draw false conclusions from brand measurement data until they begin factoring every interaction -- and social interactions in particular -- into the equation, Paine pointed out.

More broadly, the industry has yet to realize the promise of a fantastically measurable Web, noted Scott Knoll, SVP and GM at Aperture -- a Datran Media Company. That, he assures, is destined to change in the next few years.

Yet, measurements and campaign goals should remain two different things. Marketers, said Knoll, "need to understand what you're trying to drive," and then focus on those specific goals.

Despite measurements obious challenges, there were reasons to be hopeful on Wednesday. For one, "barriers for marketing mix models have basically been destroyed," assured Vipin Mayar, EVP, global director of data and analytics at MRM Worldwide.

Mayar said MRM was working on what he called "a big project" to improve on the "engagement score" -- or the process by which marketers assign points to engagement. The best way to do this, he said, is to tee up an analytics model that assigns different values to different engagements and interactions -- and then link those engagements to specific outcomes.

The key is "connecting metrics to value creation," Mayar said.

Still, the problem remains: "How do we assign the right value to different marketing tactics," noted Steve Tobias, SVP client officer at MMA.

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