Advances In Mobile Measurement: Q&A With SymphonyAM's Mike Saxon

Mike Saxon, SVP Advanced Media at Symphony Advanced Media (SymphonyAM), is an advertising effectiveness maven. His background includes stints at Nielsen//NetRatings, AIG and Harris Interactive. In his present position, he is active in redesigning cross-media measurement through the use of passive data gathering. In my interview with him, Mike talks about digital internet measurement, the importance of ACR (automatic content recognition), the challenge of out-of-home measurement,  and SymphonyAM initiatives in cross-platform measurement.  (In fact, The Coalition for Innovation in Media Measurement is currently working with SymphonyAM to test the effectiveness of cross-media campaigns for three national advertisers.)

Below is an excerpt of the interview, whose videos can be viewed here.

CW: Mobile measurement is still evolving. What is SymphonyAM doing in this area?



MS: SymphonyAM is focused on mobile insights in three areas: 1. Media Measurement: We are tracking smartphone and tablet usage of free, paid, and earned media.  This includes mobile apps, mobile web, and social media. 2. Advertising Measurement: We are capturing both search and display ad exposure, as well as keyword usage on search apps and search web pages and 3. Mobile’s role in the purchase funnel: He are linking our mobile search and display data with purchase data, to help understand how and where mobile facilitates consumer purchases.

 CW: What are the issues you face with cross-platform measurement, and what is your solution?s

MS: As we’ve built out our cross-media advertising effectiveness business, it’s become clear to us that methodologies that rely on natural exposure to digital media have limitations.  Part of the issue is sample. Getting enough people in the target demo to fill control and exposed groups for a single media is already difficult.  Once you add on a second or third media, natural exposure becomes nearly impossible.  Another part of the issue, which has existed for a long time, is that behavioral targeting negates the assumption that the control group and the exposed group will respond similarly to advertising.  By design, the exposed and control groups are different.  The conventional solution, holdout samples, is costly to implement across the multiple media of a campaign.

Our solution is Media Plan Simulation.  We have the ability to serve mobile ads in line with a panelist’s normal mobile usage.  We can replace the ad that would have run on a particular app, or mobile website, with a test ad of our choice.  We can also suppress ads, and serve a control ad to a panelist who might have naturally received an ad from a running campaign.  This technology also works on PCs, and we will be rolling that out later in the year.

CW: How will it be implemented?

MS: Using this technology, we can create test and control groups across multiple media based on whatever rules are appropriate for the campaign.  Exposure could be based on demos, on apps used, on websites visited, or survey responses.  This allows us to use a much smaller panel, since we can force exposure rather than wait for natural exposure.  cross-media plan simulation brings cross-media ad effectiveness out of the land of the exotic, and into the world of the practical.




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