Commentary

Pret-A-Mesure (Ready To Measure)

It is Fashion Week in New York City.  And, to coincide with this whirlwind marketplace of fashion, the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence just released “Fashion on Phones: Mobile Readiness of the Women’s Wear Daily Top 100 Brands.” Stunningly, the research found that a full 17% of the top 100 fashion brands do not have a mobile-optimized website.  That 17% includes brands that regularly grace the pages of Vogue and Elle, such as Versace and DKNY, as well as those that are mainstays of fashion, like American Apparel, Reebok and Danskin. 

The study findings point to some basic best practices that brands should be using to capture the attention of today’s mobile-centric consumers. According to Nielsen, the average monthly mobile Internet (Web and/or app) reach via smartphones has now surpassed 157 million people, proving that mobile is more than merely “in-vogue”; it is decidedly mainstream.

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Even forgoing the best practice of having a mobile-optimized site, a third of the apparel and accessories brands reviewed by IAB do not offer tappable phone numbers within two or fewer taps from the homepage.  Tappable phone numbers ease the consumer path to purchase and should always be there.  Search is a feature of the Web world that is nearly instinctive to all users, yet 35% of top fashion brands do not have mobile-optimized search results, either.

By all accounts, whether through actual data or daily observation, mobile is massive.  It is an integral part of consumers’ lives.  Yet, whether in fashion or not, businesses are lagging in this arena. Companies lack tools, knowledge and resources to take advantage of all mobile marketing has to offer. 

On the good-news front, there is broad recognition that mobile is important, which leads me to shine a spotlight a hurdle that we need to face:  We cannot yet measure mobile usage systematically.  We lack standards, transparency, and comparability to other media. 

Comparability to other media is key for brands when measuring mobile.  Despite growth in multiscreen usage for TV and digital native content, neither publishers, marketers nor agencies have reliable cost-effective measurement of mobile usage.  And, even when there is much progress in cross-screen measurement, as there has been in recent years, there is still no magic bullet for mobile measurement.

It is time to mobilize to make mobile measurement make sense.  Yes, even as we pursue refining and completing the measurement transformation underway through 3MS, we must forge ahead with mobile measurement. There is a looming consumer pursuit crisis on the horizon. The needs are real.  The challenges and the opportunities are huge. 

Borrowing from 3MS, we propose to enlist the active participation of industry leaders and experts.  This is not a research RFP, nor is this a measurement vendor slug-fest.  What’s at stake are currencies, workflow, how we do business and what we expect of the companies that support our ability to do business.

We are eager to partner with all stakeholders to launch Making Mobile Measurement Make Sense, aka 4MS. Being a fashion plate isn’t required -- just a commitment to going beyond the standard measurement tape and dress pattern, in order to give mobile a proper shot at fulfilling its promise on the digital runway.

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