Results tagged “Sabrina Alimi” from IABlog

Mobile Discrepancies: Not as scary as you might think

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Discrepancies are one of the biggest headaches in the digital advertising ecosystem, but they are also something everyone deals with. As the industry has matured, standards have been created and adopted, vendor offerings and tracking have become more consistent, the internet has become faster and more stable and as a result the difference between two parties’ counts has decreased to an acceptable percentage (most of the time). Then, new technology is introduced that stirs the water and discrepancy percentages can become all over the place again. The mobile ecosystem has introduced an array of devices, operation systems and versions, applications and even new behaviors to the mix. Not to mention the inconsistency of a user’s connection when moving around in the physical world.  

All these new variables can be quite intimidating. How would you ever know where to start investigating a mobile discrepancy? Luckily it is not as scary as it sounds.  While it is true there are additional variables to take into consideration, the most common root causes still boil down to the same ones the industry has experienced for years with desktop campaigns: human error, when ad calls are made in the ad serving sequence, and differences in vendors reporting and targeting offerings. 

  • Human Error - The more manual steps needed to launch a campaign, the more room there is for errors to occur which may result in discrepancies. With new vendors and products plus the use of code based HTML5 creatives with many assets instead of a tidy flash file, the mobile marketplace isn’t as automated as the desktop marketplace.
  • Ad Serving Sequencing - Just like with desktop campaigns there are often multiple parties tracking a single campaign. Typically all of the ad calls don’t fire at once, even if they are all tracking the same thing.  Latency and short session time common in mobile make the difference in ad calls a more significant variable than on desktop. 
  • Reporting - Every vendor has their secret sauce to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Sometimes it has to do with the metrics they measure or how they validate traffic. As the mobile marketplace matures reporting offerings will be become more consistent, but until then it is important to make sure you are comparing the same things across reports.  
  • Targeting - Similar to reporting targeting offerings will differ in their features and capabilities. While this is true for desktop targeting as well there is more variability in mobile such as multiple ways to identify location. 
IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence’s new document Mobile Discrepancies: Exploring common root causes gives more detailed explanations of common discrepancy causes for mobile campaigns. Providing ample time to test and QA campaigns before launch is the most important thing you can do to avoid large discrepancies. It is important to not just test that the creative works, but also confirm all parties are tracking the same thing, especially when working with new partners. If not, it doesn’t matter what device you are running the campaign on, you are comparing apples to oranges. When these differences are discovered it is important to share that knowledge and work together to solve the problem. The more discrepancies causes are understood, the more they can be avoided fostering more trust in the mobile marketplace. 

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About the Author
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Sabrina Alimi

Sabrina Alimi is the Senior Marketing Manager of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, where she has a focus on mobile ad operations and key mobile initiatives such as HTML best practices, mobile creative guidelines, discrepancies, and the future of the cookie. In addition, Sabrina leads the IAB’s Local Committee, exploring the opportunities that the use of location unlocks for mobile advertising. Prior to the IAB, Sabrina worked at Microsoft Advertising on the Atlas Media Console where she became a product expert providing technical support to clients and managing bug escalations. She can be reached on Twitter @SabrinaAlimi.

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Understanding Mobile Discrepancies and the Technology Frontier

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Mobile is often referred to as the Wild Wild West of digital media. Well, the West didn’t stay “wild” forever, and neither can the mobile marketplace. It is one of the roles of the IAB to help tame this new frontier. Discrepancies, differences in the count of metrics like impressions or interactions between two parties, are one of the major challenges that make mobile seem lawless today. While discrepancies aren’t unique to mobile campaigns, some of the challenges with investigating and solving them are.

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To dig further into this issue, the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence hosted a mobile discrepancy working session on February 5th here at the IAB Ad Lab. We brought participants from each part of the mobile supply chain together to talk through mobile discrepancies with the objective of identifying where they are occurring, why, and potentially avenues where the IAB can help the industry. Having a collaborative mix of different perspectives all together in one room fostered knowledge sharing and brought to light new insights.

 

From a combination of breakout sessions and group conversations we learned that while the troubleshooting process and even some of the root causes of mobile discrepancies are pretty similar to display campaigns on the web, new technology drives some differences. This includes new technology from within the advertising industry as well the innovation taking place in the marketplace.

 

The new ad specific technology of mobile is an area where the IAB can help. New mobile-focused ad  products result in differences in how metrics are counted, reported and even terminology is defined. Like in the early days of web advertising, this is a clear place where the IAB along with our members can help by developing definitions and guidelines. We have already started this with initiatives like MRAID, Mobile Web Measurement Guidelines and the Mobile Phone Creative Guidelines.

 

Addressing marketplace technology, the fragmentation of devices, operations systems, screen sizes etc., is a bit more challenging. Not only does this create a challenge for developing ad creatives and testing them on devices, but also targeting and even traffic validation, especially for campaigns running across platforms. While some of these variables are beyond the advertising industry’s control, education and best practices can help reduce the friction they cause.

 

Now that we have clearer understanding of the many factors causing mobile discrepancies we can buckle down, roll up our sleeves, and work together to reduce them and grow trust in the mobile platform. This will take time and involvement from all parties in the digital advertising ecosystem, but based on the enthusiasm of everyone who attended the working session it is clear this is something the industry needs and is ready to do.  After all, the West wasn’t settled in one afternoon.


 About the Author

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Sabrina Alimi

Senior Manager, IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence


Sabrina Alimi is the Senior Marketing Manager of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, where she has a focus on ad operations and key mobile initiatives such as HTML best practices, mobile creative guidelines, discrepancies, and the future of the cookie. In addition, Sabrina leads the IAB’s Local Committee, exploring the opportunities that the use of location unlocks for mobile advertising. Prior to the IAB, Sabrina worked at Microsoft Advertising on the Atlas Media Console where she became a product expert providing technical support to clients and managing bug escalations. She can be reached on Twitter @SabrinaAlimi.

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