American Marketer


How solving for identity can fix mobile measurement

August 21, 2014

Stephanie Bauer Marshall is director at Precision Market Insights from Verizon Stephanie Bauer Marshall is director at Precision Market Insights from Verizon


By Stephanie Bauer Marshall

As mobile advertising has grown and evolved over the years, one issue that has never been fully solved is measurement.

By now, everyone knows the famous “Mary Meeker chart” of time spent by channel versus media spend. But even though there is industry-wide recognition about the opportunity in mobile advertising, brands and agencies are finding it hard to shift spend into the space if they cannot show true ROI.

Taking measure
In a recent study of active mobile media buyers conducted by Precision Market Insights from Verizon, only 13 percent responded that they are currently successfully proving ROI on mobile. Only 13 percent. And when asked what capabilities are essential to a mobile strategy, the most popular answer was the ability to prove ROI.

This disconnect speaks to the disparity between the recognition of the mobile advertising opportunity and the actual investment. Buyers need to prove ROI, but they do not feel confident it can be proven with the tools currently available.

Another major and timely issue in the ad tech world is fraud.

Measurement fraud is a particularly troubling trend. Advertisers cannot be guaranteed their ads are actually being seen, or if clicks generated are legitimate.

When this topic was presented to the group of mobile media buyers surveyed, more than 75 percent of them either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that data, analytics and measurement are necessary to combat high fraud.

So what is the answer here? In short, it starts with solving for the issue of identity.

Knock knock
Advertisers need to feel confident that they have the ability to reach consumers on a one-to-one basis to measure the effect of each ad.

While solving for the issue of addressability is notoriously difficult – but not impossible – the good news is that the ability to do this will not only help with measurement, but also unlock solutions for many other problems in mobile.

Take cross-device advertising, for example.

As a consumer shifts between screens such as her television, desktop and mobile phone, the only way to really reach them is to come up with an addressable solution that works seamlessly across devices.

With a deterministic identifier, not only can the advertiser serve more relevant ads to clearly defined audiences, but it can also accurately measure the ROI of its advertising.

No matter what an advertiser’s goal is, from driving awareness all the way through to a purchase, solving for identity is the answer.

With a privacy-safe ID, advertisers can measure clicks or impressions even if a mobile ad leads to a click on a desktop and in-store activity, and follow the movement of a consumer as she progresses down the purchase funnel.

MEASUREMENT AND addressability are the future of the mobile advertising space.

As we solve for these issues, we can finally change that infamous Mary Meeker chart and see that mobile get its fair share of media dollars.

Stephanie Bauer Marshall is director at Precision Market Insights from Verizon, Ashburn, VA. Reach her at