How Do We Define And Measure Mobile Engagement Effectively?

Mobile devices have revolutionized content consumption. The mobile advertising market is thriving, so why is the industry still plagued with poor conversion and click-through rates? Why does mobile ad content stand in such stark contrast to content that consumers enjoy? Mobile advertising has a content problem on its hands -- how can engagement, data, and creative all correlate with one another?

A consumer's ability and willingness to engage with content is the biggest factor in determining its consumability. But as an IAB report points out, you are limiting the engagement possibilities if you confine your analysis to clicks and view times. Engagement doesn't always translate into a tangible metric that we can measure and put in a spreadsheet or report.

For all the innovation in mobile advertising technology today, the industry still lacks a standard set of best practices for gathering and utilizing consumer data. The result is a data collection free-for-all, where brands and advertisers try to collect as much data as possible, not all of which is significant. A majority of this data is used to track and target audiences, and those methodologies still a work in progress.

Most advertisers will agree that personalization is crucial to the success of mobile advertising, but optimization for creative is still lagging behind in the ad tech world. Creating dynamic personalized campaigns isn't scalable without proper optimization tools, meaning that personalized ad formats can only go so far.

Some research reports on consumer behaviors and trends are helpful for launching a personalized campaign, but to be truly effective, personalized ad content should be constantly evolving to adapt to the nuances of the audience that is being reached.

There are multiple factors that influence a consumer's willingness to engage with content. Here are some key creative questions that advertisers should focus on when trying to create consumable ads.

Which CTAs are being used? 

CTAs are the predominant tool for driving consumers to convert, and both subtlety and brazenness can be effective approaches, depending on who the target audience is. Conversion metrics can range from a view to a click, and the content and calls-to-action should be optimized accordingly. A CTA should change based on the diverse demographics, behaviors, and preferences that make up your audience, as well as correlate with the overall message of the campaign to make for a seamless user experience. Find a tool that allows for optimization around a variety of CTAs and conversion metrics, so you are facilitating a comprehensive approach to content optimization.

What campaign content gives the consumer the ability to interact and engage?

Smart video and game-like ads have been found to be some of the most effective ad formats for mobile engagement, because they give consumers the opportunity to engage with branded content they may have independently sought out. People are also likely to interact with content that is context-aware and relevant to who they are. It helps your audience build an emotional connection to your brand by encouraging them to spend more time interacting with your campaign.

Is the consumer's experience between ad and regular content consumption seamless, or is the ad disruptive?

A major pitfall for many mobile advertisers is not understanding where the consumer is coming from and where you are leading them after they click on the ad, because that will greatly impact their response to a campaign. Native advertising is extremely valuable in this regard because it integrates branded content with their normal content consumption activities, rather than being disruptive.

Only if mobile ad creative can add value to the user experience will consumers begin creating value for the brand.

1 comment about "How Do We Define And Measure Mobile Engagement Effectively?".
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  1. Mike Greco from Indy App Systems, November 26, 2014 at 7:58 p.m.

    Excellent read and worth a solid review not only by advertisers but also mobile ad networks, which largely still miss the mark on delivering high quality, relevant mobile ads. With Google, Apple, and a lot of the aging ad networks failing to really do anything innovative lately in mobile advertising, its worth taking note of the creative things we're seeing from platforms like Facebook, which is bringing native mobile ads to the forefront of mobile advertising. and Airpush, which is reinventing the banner ad with Abstract Banners ( ). There are tons of examples not to follow, and only a few worth emulating. Knowing the difference is critically important.

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