Confidence in Measuring Mobile ROI/Cross-Platform Performance Still Shaky

It's no surprise that the weak link in marketer confidence in mobile marketing is measuring impact and attribution. We all know that tracking users across platforms is tricky business at best -- a black box of predictive algorithms most often, a wish and a prayer at worst. As a new Forrester study (commissioned by 4Info) of 100 marketers suggests, mobile’s reputation for opacity and complexity continues to inform the level of investment that brands are willing to take.

The survey finds that only 18% of marketers feel “very confident” in their ability to attribute ROI from mobile ads. Now, to be fair, the overwhelming majority (62%) say they are “somewhat confident,” which may be better than expected. And only 5% overall are either somewhat or very unconfident of measuring mobile ROI. The commissioner of the study, 4Info, has a lead product that is all about cross-platform attribution -- so ginning up the anxiety about the topic is part of the spin on these self-serving research projects.



Nevertheless, the survey does find continued difficulty on executing across screens. More than half of marketers (57%) say that less than half of their campaigns in 2013 were multiplatform. But only 11% say they will increase budgets for cross-platform campaigns significantly this year.

Part of the problem is the continued use of rudimentary measurement. When asked how they measure the effectiveness of mobile adds, 36% said click-through and the same number cited resulting Web site traffic. Less than a third (31%) cite social interactions, and 30% were measuring post-click engagement such as time spent with a site or in an app. Only 29% were measuring brand lift.

Forrester argues that there is a disconnect between the priorities of marketers and the ways they do, or can, measure mobile. For instance, while financial goals of opening new accounts or driving in-store sales lifts were the goals cited most often, only a fifth of marketers used account opens as a measure and only 18% are tying mobile ads to in store sales.

In this narrow study of only 100 marketers, at least, 86% claim they would have increased their mobile budgets in 2014 if they had the means to measure the metrics they most valued, and 93% said they would have increased the number of cross-platform campaigns if they could be confident in the attribution. 

"Laptop and Smartphone" photo from Shutterstock.

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