2016 will be remembered as a landmark year for many reasons, but for the mobile industry it will be remembered for enabling us to refocus our energies on metrics that define campaign results.
A few of the biggest worries in the industry this past year were ad fraud and measurement discrepancies. The good news for advertisers is that it is possible to ensure human engagement with mobile campaigns if those who are paying shift their mentality and demand zero-tolerance on money wasted on fraud.
Today consumers everywhere are spending more and more time on their mobile devices, with mobile expected to drive digital ad spending, which is expected to grow 12% in the UK this year, according to the eMarketer State of the UK Digital Ad Market report.
However, as large investments are increasingly at stake, brands need to make sure that mobile advertising efforts are actually engaging users to provide added value.
If this is not the case, users will have their say and ad blockers will be here to stay.
Advertisers are not blind to this problem and many are already calling for an end to the idea of walled gardens for example. For the mobile advertising industry to progress, we need transparent and impartial measurements across our campaigns that count human activity such as landing page arrivals or app installs.
We know that there are too many incentives for fraudsters to bring an end to ad fraud, but it is very possible to identify it when it occurs within mobile campaigns.
Human engagement is the most important metric
So what does it take to evaluate mobile campaign success based on these new and more indicative metrics? Advertisers need to insist on only paying for human engagement.
This way technology will follow to keep up with demand and will become more sophisticated at flagging fraud.
Shifting to this mentality is simple, advertisers just need complete visibility into what goes on in a mobile campaign and understand what they should and should not be paying for.
For example, we know that ten thousand bid requests will not deliver ten thousand fully delivered impressions on smartphones for various reasons including connection type, device model, creative formats being too heavy and so on. We estimate there is roughly a 25% difference between the bid request and fully rendered impressions.
This is no small figure, so advertisers should ensure that they are only paying for those impressions truly seen by human eyeballs. Counting methods play a key role in this case.
For impressions, it should be counted as fully loaded when the ad has 100% rendered on the mobile screen plus one second. This one second makes a huge difference to ensure that the impression has been seen by the user.
Without a fully visible impression, you cannot expect engagement from the user. Following this impression, the goal is to have the user click on your message. Advertisers can avoid fraud in clicks if they use a standard of one click per impressions. This means counting only one click per impression, meaning if only 1 million impressions were qualified as delivered but 1.2 million clicks were counted, something is fishy.
Finally the last step to really ensure human engagement is to make sure that each user arrives on a landing page after the click. The landing page arrival should be counted when the user has seen the mobile web page that has loaded 100% plus one second. Again, without this crucial one second, advertisers cannot be sure that their consumers have really received the message.
Thinking about campaign success in terms of human engagement and evaluating based on human actions can save advertisers up to 25% of their advertising budget. In 2017, advertisers will need to overhaul the way they evaluate mobile campaign success and focus on measuring human actions.