OPINION: How to optimise mobile ad spend | Mobile Entertainment

OPINION: How to optimise mobile ad spend

Morris Martin
Mike Shaw

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General / October 4th 2012 at 10:42AM

Morris Martin, director of insights at Velti, gives his thoughts on mobile ROI optimisation and how to combine conversions with quality.

As advertisers seek to substantiate mobile budgets, one question many will be asking is what matters more –click-throughs to a mobile website/conversions or the amount of time the consumer spends engaging with the brand?

It’s not that simple of course, and ideally advertisers should aspire to maximise both. It is essential to evaluate both to measure mobile ROI accurately, therefore it’s advisable to hold supply partners (publishers and ad networks) accountable, and to optimise your mobile ad strategy to drive real business results, not just clicks.

Beyond the mobile click

Consider the typical approach to mobile display optimisation: From a media perspective, the marketing team evaluates data from a third-party ad server like DoubleClick or Atlas to see how many clicks and conversions are being generated by their ad placements.

This helps media planners to identify supply partners who have been successful in increasing the quantity of visitors. However, click-through rate (CTR) alone does not provide insight into audience quality. Are visitors clicking deep into the advertiser’s mobile site and taking the time to engage with its content, or simply bouncing back to the original site never to return? The marketer has no way of knowing and no way to hold supply partners accountable for the guarantee of a qualified, targeted audience.

Meanwhile, in another part of the organisation, an IT team uses site analytics data such as page views, time spent, and navigational paths from companies like Omniture and Google to optimise the performance and visitor experience on the mobile site.

Imagine if the marketer could combine these two, often disparate, sets of information into a single, holistic view. Instead of blindly optimising for CTR or sheer quantity of conversions, an advertiser could optimise for a qualified audience, the type of visitors who engage most deeply with content and identify the supply partners that can deliver them.

The advertiser could also compute the cost per average second spent on-site, critical for on-the-go consumers, to guide mobile media optimisation at the publisher, placement, and creative concept levels. These insights are especially valuable for brands that don’t have a direct sale-on-site such as cars, consumer packaged goods (CPG), financial services and pharmaceuticals.

What steps can advertisers do to increase mobile ROI?

There are several steps an advertiser can take to ensure they are achieving the best ROI on mobile:

  1. Ensure the publishers’ targeting capabilities align with your vertical and unique brand identity. Request information on publishers’ targeting methodologies and supply sources for proprietary audience segments and make sure they match your target audience and brand identity.
  2. Negotiate a better media rate according to the relevance of audience. In mobile, the dominance of a small number of supply partners can limit your ability to negotiate, but this shouldn’t stop you from challenging the status quo.
  3. Push your supply partner to be more transparent about the inventory where your ads are running. Even when a buy is blind, supply partners should educate you on the content surrounding or application displaying your brand’s ads.

For most mobile marketers, what really matters is engagement, not just total conversions. By creating a multi-layered mobile optimisation strategy based on both conversions and mobile site analytics, it is possible to combine both sets of data in a unified environment.

This provides the insight you need to evaluate ROI, negotiate more effectively with supply partners and prove that your mobile ad spend is delivering a significant impact for your brand.