Mobile Campaign Measurement: Reality Or Figment Of Our Imagination?

Mobile devices present an opportunity for advertisers to reach consumers anywhere in the world at any time. While marketers can sense the impact of the mobile revolution, there's no scientific evidence to indicate whether mobile advertising drives conversions -- and if so, how? A recent poll of participants in an MMA webinar on mobile advertising found that 48% of marketers feel that measurement is their biggest challenge in new media platforms. It is likely due to this lack of confidence that mobile advertising only represents an average of 5% of advertisers’ total media spend (according to the IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report), in spite of the massive uptick in mobile use.
Though there may still be some lingering negative consumer sentiment for mobile, it actually represents an opportunity for an ideal media experience and bigger brand impact. Unlike the desktop, on a mobile device's small screen, ad units are persistent, always above the fold and viewable. Ads have prominent placement and are not competing with 15 other brands on the same page. And, with mobile users, ads within free apps are normal and generally accepted. 
The challenge with understanding mobile advertising impact is a lack of standards for measuring unique viewers and difficulty identifying how multiple devices tie to one user. 
“User identification” is a misleading term, as it generally refers to device identification, not the person holding the device. The obstacle here is that current industry standards for uniquely identifying users are less than ideal in a world of rapidly growing access points.  Currently, the most common methods for identifying and tracking Web users is through counting unique network addresses (such as IP addresses) or counting unique “cookies,” both mined from site access logs.  Since consumers are exposed to digital media via the web on multiple devices, cookie counting could potentially count the same user as multiple unique users -- and when ads are within a smart phone app rather than a browser, cookie technology doesn’t work at all. 
Device mapping -- tying users’ mobile platforms together to gain a holistic view of their activity -- is one successful technique. When these device identification services are paired with a certified tagging system and powerful attribution engine, the dream of measuring mobile ad effectiveness in combination with the rest of your marketing mix actually becomes a reality.
So, how do you begin to integrate mobile into campaign strategy? Once you begin investing in mobile-friendly sites and mobile applications designed to drive conversions, it becomes integral to your overall marketing mix. As mobile advertising’s significance increases, it becomes a larger part of your digital spend and warrants inclusion in your overall attribution solutions. Mobile is sparking conversions, and the moment a mobile user becomes a buyer is advanced attribution’s time to shine.
As the market matures, mobile standards are established and technology continues to evolve, advanced attribution will emerge as the foundation for accurate campaign measurement in the age of new media.
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