Commentary

It's The Algorithms' World, And We're Just Living In It

Mobile advertising is growing, but how are marketers measuring it? At the Mobile Insider Summit in Tahoe, Calif., a group of panelists noted that mobile marketers don’t have an “attribution story.” In other words, they can’t ooh and ahh their c-suites with mobile advertising as an additive to existing campaigns because they don’t have the numbers to back it up.

“You have to start off slowly,” said Lauren Moores, VP of analytics at Dstillery, an audience targeting firm. “Do a small test with mobile. Run a test of desktop versus. desktop/mobile,” she suggested. Then you can take it back to the marketing team and easily “prove” its effectiveness.

She said it reminds her of when “we had to convince marketers that online was important.”

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“The first step is to start small and run a campaign and see what those numbers look like,” agreed Rahul Bafna, VP of product at Drawbridge, a cross-device ad targeting firm.

Mike McMeekin, director of advertising analytics and insights at Bing, had an interesting take on the data problem. Mobile attribution companies exist, but McMeekin pointed out that the industry has “all of this infrastructure built around managing … online media in real-time, and if the [mobile] data isn’t pumped into that,” then people won’t too much stock into it.

That is to say, it's a fragmented industry, which makes it harder -- though not impossible -- for marketers to mesh everything together. And in classic adland fashion, marketers may be their own worst enemy here by being slaves to technology.

“We’re so dependent on these technologies, that if the data isn’t there -- if it’s not being plumbed into predictive algorithms [telling us] where value is -- then it’s going to be tougher [to change],” said McKeekin.

Essentially, if marketers can’t plug hard mobile data into their predictive algorithms, then it’ll be hard for them to incorporate mobile into campaigns, even if their “gut feeling” -- to use McMeekin’s phrase -- or intuition suggests they should.

"Algorithm" image from Shutterstock.

1 comment about "It's The Algorithms' World, And We're Just Living In It".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, August 20, 2014 at 12:04 p.m.

    The one question that is not ask is - What is the simplest way to advertise on mobile? The core answer to this question can be found in Google AdSense. This is the coded text link within the image banner. The text link part is what takes you to the advertisers ad, not the JPEG or Java image that we see. The problem is the ad industry has grown addicted to the sexy image ads and not seeing the true objective, getting the person to click.

    The Sweepstakes Today desktop program uses text links and converts them into our own program. In the end the goal is the same except we do it without the image banner. The point with mobile is simple still works better than any other method. I will give $100 to anyone that can prove me absolutely wrong on this.

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