Mobile is Measurable
I’m continuing a series of posts looking at the immediate future of mobile, based on a speech I gave a couple of weeks ago at the Mobile Marketing Forum in Berlin. This time, I’m going to look at measurability in mobile.
Unlike many traditional media, mobile is ultimately measurable – a characteristic that it shares with its slightly older cousin, PC based advertising. One reason why mobile is powering through the recession is that it’s highly accountable and leaves clients in absolutely no doubt if a campaign worked at all and if so, exactly how well. This can be a little un-nerving at times as there’s no room for equivocation and flim flam as results speak for themselves. But on balance, this has to be a good thing and allows practitioners to test different executions to find out which works best and then optimise the campaign to drive the best results.
In the very early days of mobile, what we could measure was clicks, or the start of the engagement with the consumer. This was fine up to a point in that it was probably still arguably a more accurate measurement of success than provided by say, outdoor media, TV or print. But it wasn’t entirely satisfactory as it didn’t measure the all important “what happened next?”. Did the consumer go on to engage with the ad, read the information and subsequently do what the objective required. Did they book a test drive, download the App, click to call the call centre and the myriad of other options they might be presented with?
This gap in the market was quickly identified by a bunch of companies, providing free or paid-for analytics tools. Among the players are Bango, Amethon and AdMob (my employer) – check them out and make your own choice, but the important point is that these tools are now available to measure engagement.
There’s a bunch of myths floating around about Mobile today, so don’t believe that one about not being able to measure results – it’s bullplop as our American cousins apparently say.
The other great potential for mobile phones is to interact with other media in a highly measurable way.So, you might use your mobile to send an sms short code in response to a TV our 48-sheet poster ad to get more information, find your nearest stockist or order a brand sample. Or you might use the camera in the phone to take a snap of a 2D barcode to take you to the mobile website. This latter technique has been slow to take off (outside Japan), largely because the handset manufacturers can’t agree common standards and won’t pre-load the software necessary to read barcodes onto their handsets. This means that the consumer has to download the reader before being able to interact with the ad, which is plainly asking too much.
Lobbying for common standards and ease-of-use has become the focus of the powerful trade association, GS1, which has members drawn for the largest brands and retailers in the world, including the likes of Nestle, Tesco, Wal-Mart and P&G. It’ll take time, but with these kinds of giants pressuring the mobile industry, it’s only a matter of time before these techniques become commonplace.
This development actually might be a little unpopular with other media, as it really leaves no room to hide behind some of the woolly measurement phrases that they have to fall back on in the absence of something more concrete. In the future, it’ll be very clear whether the consumer elected to engage with the brand and what happened next.
As I’ve been writing for 5 years or more, the mobile phone will become an analogue mouse, connecting us and allowing us to interact with the digital universe. Who ever would have thought it?