Mobile interactivity has finally hit critical mass. If people aren’t shopping with their mobile phones, they’re turning to tablets, with their larger screens, to consume content and make purchases as they go about their day. Advertisers are keenly interested in reaching consumers when and where they’re using these devices, but so far, mobile advertising accounts for a small piece of the advertising pie. Standardization will go a long way toward easing marketers’ concerns about the mobile channel and help to increase the spending rate.

The new State of Mobile Ad Measurement paper issued by the IAB is encouraging industry standards in 2 key areas:

  •  Ad Effectiveness – measured through details like awareness, consideration, purchase intent, clicks and conversions
  • Audience Measurement – measured through total audience, demographics, registrations, transactions, time spent

The other challenge posed by the mobile industry is the range of devices and platforms being used. Consumers can access content through mobile phones or tablets. They can view the content through apps or browsers. And consumers without smartphones can access content or advertising through SMS text messaging.

At the same time, several service providers are battling for revenue and dominance. The key players include handset manufacturers, communications carriers, operating system providers, content providers, ad networks and marketers. Because this system is so complex, content providers are often the ones providing advertisers with statistics, a somewhat suspect arrangement. Analysts are calling for independent  3rd parties to provide this data. But that could take a while because technological problems abound.

In  the meantime, IAB analysts point out that the mobile industry operators might be make the same mistake that marketers did when the online ad industry started out: Measuring success in terms of high click-through rates. During the first year or two, the rates were very high. But, as the novelty of the new ad format wore off, CTRs fell, leaving marketers to wonder about the effectiveness of their online campaigns.

It’s early yet in the world of mobile marketing. Advertisers are gradually moving their spending in this direction and will likely increase the spending as the process simplifies and solid measurement processes are put in place.

[Source: Gluck, Marissa. State of Mobile Measurement. RadarResearch and IAB.net. October 2011. Web. 10 Oct. 2011]