Understanding Mobile Discrepancies and the Technology Frontier
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.
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.
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.