Perspective | Mobile measurement: still a concern...

As the tech-savvy population in the world and India is increasing at a rapid pace, it is now an accepted fact that 'Mobile' is plays a massive role and may multiply in the near in the future.

Data collected by various researches indicates that not only is mobile complementing other mediums in the media mix of a campaign, but is gradually being the priority medium for various brands across industries. Brands have also been trying their hands on this medium and are doing some big & innovative experiments.

However, uncertainty may still prevails on issues like reach of the medium to the grassroots of the country, feasibility for brands across categories to chose this medium and measurement.

In this edition of Adgully Perspective, we talk to experts across the digital and mobile space to know more about mobile measurement systems in the India and its global counterparts, the needed changes in the measurement criteria and more. Our panellist include Mausam Bhatt, ‎Director, Mobile Marketing – Flipkart, Satyajeet Singh, VP Products, Zomato, Madan Sanglikar, Co-founder & MD - ad2campaign, Affle Group and Ashwin Puri, VP – Remarketing & Mobile, Komli Media.

To begin with we asked our panellist, what are the metrics for mobile medium measurement in India and its global counterparts? Bhatt believes that it really depends on the business/marketing goals whether we are looking to measure user acquisition, engagement or retention. “While some of the same web metrics are relevant for mobile web, the equation changes when we talk about mobile apps and cross-device/platform user behaviour. For example for apps, companies typically look at install rates, launches per active user per month, activity duration and uninstall trends. Companies also tend to monitor quality of app installs using cohort analysis based on source of traffic (organic or paid). There isn't much discrepancy between India and rest of the world since the mobile medium is fairly dynamic and the pace of adoption on all fronts is fairly uniform across regions”, he elaborated.

Singh says, “It’s well known that mobile marketers are focusing their energies on tracking user acquisition and building user engagement. Keeping track of app downloads and active users is essential for mobile medium measurement”.

Explaining the measurement system at length, Puri said, “CPM, CPC , CPA, CPI, basically anything cost per X where X is the action desired.  More or less it mirrors the desktop world other than being able to drive installs metric for which is CPI or Cost per Install. In terms of metrics Indian mobile marketers are at par with their global counterparts. For mobile video we can track all of the above along with quartile play %’s. Rich Media again technology exists to track all kinds of engagement metrics which is at par with display advertising.

Sanglikar is of the opinion that metrics won’t change for a particular market or a specific medium and that the metrics for any digital asset will always be in terms of the amount of content consumed & the time spent. “So the usual metrics like page views, unique visitors, pages per session, average time per session, repeat users, etc. IS and WILL be valid for any mobile asset. With the introduction of apps, similar data points will need to considered for the app users. There will be minor variation considering that an app is different from the web, but the overall essence remains the same. Any analytics will want to look at the entry & exit sources & levels for the app & mobile web. The app ecosystem allows direct communication with users with segmentation based notification, and typically the measurement service will want to capture the result of every notification”, he added.

However, while measurement on other mediums has set criteria and standards, are those standards right or apt for the Mobile medium in India? Responding to this, Singh said, “While measurement on mediums such as web has its own set of criteria, in the overall scheme of things we are essentially tracking user acquisition, engagement and retention on all mediums - web or mobile. Having said that, the metrics that we track are different on all mediums because of the way people interact with these devices”.

Offering a global perspective, Bhatt said, “Globally, the measurement standards are still evolving since there is no agreed standard across platforms (web, tablets, and smartphones) to identify and track a user. Recently, there has been an effort to standardise ad-units and mobile media buys but a lot still needs to happen. Cookies too are a remnant of the web world and have fairly limited utility in the mobile world. Various advertising companies are using a combination of individual platform ids plus fingerprinting techniques but there is little uniformity”.

Puri explains that while desktop-based digital advertising has been in place for many years there is a standard criteria in place. “Same metrics to evaluate a campaign are used for mobile as well but the values will differ. For example time spent on mobile is broken up into multiple sessions (Average user unlocks and checks his phone up to 110 times a day ) v/s other media where the sessions are longer in duration. Also, benchmarks for measuring mobile medium are going to be different ( Mobile users click more, convert at a lesser % except in the case of application download campaigns)”, he explained.

Following suit, Sanglikar explained that ‘mobile’ as a medium is combination of various mediums - print, audio, video, direct marketing, web - and it will keep evolving to take the best from each of these established mediums. Adding further he said, “But the tab will always be on the whats the level of reach at a macro level, and how does every user segment behave at a micro level. Eg. for a print magazine app on a mobile device, part form the typical web data points, the equivalent print jargon like, subscriptions, average readers per subscription (for shared devices in a family)  will come into picture. Same for video channels or push messaging. The unified measurement services will be in a good demand with the growing usage of mobile - both, for within the mobile ecosystem (app vs web) and between mobile a7 other media (cross device)”.

Concludingly, we asked our panellist to chalk out the lacking factor in the mobile measurement system in India viz a viz other countries. Bhatt is of the opinion that the limiting factors for mobile measurement in India is not due to the slower pace of adoption or any regional regulatory restrictions; it is due to the evolving nature of this media as globally also, things are evolving and will settle over the next couple of years.

Similarly, Singh believes that globally, the mobile measurement system lacks a single metric to measure a campaign as a whole. “While, there are multiple sources through which we measure user acquisition and retention on mobile platforms; currently the only thing missing is that uniform tool which links both aspects of the story. As the mobile market continues to grow the need for a reliable measurement system becomes even more acute”, he added.

Puri pointed out that lack of consistent and reliable data on audiences are major concerns. “Not being able to track user across multiple devices, between mobile web and mobile app sessions.  This is not specific to India but are challenges which the entire global ecosystem faces”, he said.

Sanglikar however feels different; he said, “I don’t think that anything is lacking in specific - its a demand & supply situation. As soon as the mobile budgets start nearing 5% of the overall spends, you will see all the measurement metrics being tracked and multiple such research & data companies offering competitive services. Currently, for relevant categories, like Telco, Handset mfg., E-commerce, Entertainment - tracking such data has been imperative and most of the leading payers have invested in the measurement services already. Rest of the industry will follow soon”.

This clearly shows that while concerns raised on mobile measurement aren’t all shallow, the industry may still take a while to put things in order.


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