Lack of standard measurement affecting mobile industry

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Smartphones and tablets have an installed base of approximately 44 million and 2.5 million units respectively in India, states an industry study. With the arrival of cheaper smartphones and tablet technology, this number is expected to increase phenomenally. In spite of the large penetration numbers, mobile advertising accounts for a very small share of online advertising, estimated at INR 1.7 billion.

While mobile has been undoubtedly called ‘the’ medium for future, a number of factors such as screen size mobile ready and standard measurement metrics have been holding marketers from doing their bit.

According to Google Analytics, in 2012, 59 per cent of marketers considered themselves inexperienced in terms of mobile measurement. About 53 per cent of marketers who have analysed their mobile metrics shared that there is huge untapped opportunity in the space.Why measurement is tough
According to Madan Sanglikar, Co-Founder and MD, AD2C, absence of standard measurement is a complex issue and is one among many reasons for the medium missing out on marketers.

“The big bucks are away from mobile due to many factors such as lack of mobile-ready brand assets, understanding of the medium, complexity of the formats, etc. Mobile, unlike the online-PC medium, is not linear – as in its not just browser linked. The presence of the app eco-system has made it tough for any standard rating / measurement metric to evolve,” explained Sanglikar.

With various marketing formats across the medium including applications, SMS and missed calls, a standard measurement metrics is difficult to derive. Thus, in the absence of a currency, the industry has evolved its own measurement metrics.

“There are different categories of marketers who deploy different metrics depending upon the marketing objectives of the particular campaign. It offers bespoke opportunities to deliver respective marketing plan,” said Manish Mishra, VP Business Development and Country Manager, BuzzCity.

Mobile gives the opportunity of communicating tailored messages, which makes measurement on campaign-basis quite easy. Interested marketers look at various measurement metrics such as reach, frequency, viewership, engagement to performance metrics such as CPD / CPL / CPA.

“Third party monitoring platforms are doing all the heavy lifting in the absence of the standard metrics,” added Sanglikar.

A major measurement problem arises in terms of performance of an application. Display ads or interactive communications, both have the risk of accidental clicks and non-intended access of advertisement. While there are always methods such as number of downloads, views and clicks, data provided by Google Analytics states that 71 per cent marketers pay attention to engagement or usage of applications, 56 per cent focus on revenues generated from the app, 51 per cent look out for the revenues generated through in-app or other advertising metrics, 55 per cent focus on insights into app marketplaces and download of apps, 38 per cent marketers look at cross device measurement and 32 per cent focus on crash reporting / troubleshoot information.

Absence of definite measurement metrics creates a blind spot for marketers while investing in the medium. With the kind of importance given to measurement by marketers, what now is restricted to CPD, CPL, CPA, reach and number of clicks, will grow to sophisticated ways such as panel-based or direct measurement. There might not be any hard and fast measurement tools or metrics for the medium today, but certain formulas to derive rooted conclusions for marketers is the need of the hour.