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RTB's Coming of Age: Beyond DR and CTR

Posted by Anthony Iacovone on August 6th, 2014 at 10:30 am

Mobile advertising and RTB have gone to the next level in terms of size, prevalence and use among advertisers.  eMarketer projects that the mobile advertising market will quadruple to $36.9 billion by 2016. And, RTB ad spending is projected to increase from $1.4 billion in 2011 to $13.9 billion in 2016.  The problem lies in how much of this spend will be wasted targeting using antiquated KPIs, or archaic thinking that mobile is simply a performance vehicle. It is apparent that brands are keen on these issues as only 4% of ad spend is in mobile, while 40% of media consumption is on mobile devices.

The fact is, mobile is a multifaceted media channel that can work as well for awareness and engagement as it does for performance. Proving the effectiveness of mobile media in awareness and engagement has been tricky and a key barrier for brands in moving more dollars to the medium. These barriers are breakable, but the industry needs to change some outdated thinking first and take an introspective look at some issues.

Let’s start with the click issue. In mobile advertising, all clicks are NOT created equal. Unfortunately, many clicks result from accidental (fat finger) clicks on smaller screens. In some cases mobile publishers even encourage accidental clicks by placing navigation one pixel from the banner itself. With these facts, it is almost illogical that click through rate (CTR) is still the most frequently used KPI in mobile advertising.

Once we recognize this fact that clicks are not the best metric, we must rely on post click or view metrics to help create visibility into a campaign’s success. To move the ball forward, agencies and brands must be willing to allow for 3rd party tags/sdks and integration with their media providers. Without this analytic feedback during a campaign flight, networks have no way of optimizing a campaign effectively.

The time has come for thinking beyond the click and KPI’s that truly prove out the value of mobile advertising.  So how do we get beyond the CTR? It starts with the capability of measuring consumer interaction beyond the click regardless of where the click came from (app or web) and where it is going (app/web/rich media). Once you can measure post click (or post impression) within mobile web, apps and rich media you can start to create dynamic KPIs based on engagement actions. Measuring and setting KPIs based on efficiency in driving things like social shares, video completes, time spent, etc. is far more valuable for brands. Without an ability to measure deep consumer interaction, any optimization you make is still inefficient keying in on engaged audiences. The same methodology can be used to become more efficient in making consumers aware by measuring and reacting to lift studies. It is the measure of these engagements that informs the brand of the quality of each first click.

Once you have the data through metrics, reducing ad spend to reach an audience regardless of the goal becomes possible. This approach will bring to fruition the transparency of quality measurement beyond the click or what we call (qCTR). With the advent of data science driven advertising in mobile, modeling to quality (beyond click) metrics can increase return on advertising spend and reduce waste due to inefficiencies. In the not so distant future it will be possible to have full control over ROAS within the mobile channel as we embrace, new KPI’s, fully transparent analytics and quality measurement.

Getting beyond the click and moving to a new paradigm of measurement is paramount to fully unlocking the promise of the mobile advertising channel. Without it, spend by brands will continue to lag, as eyeballs moving to mobile as their primary media channel continue to rise.

One Response to “RTB's Coming of Age: Beyond DR and CTR”

  1. Great point. But isn't this new paradigm of measurement simply called acquisitions, or CPA? Once tags and/or SDK's are implemented it becomes relatively easy to establish which acquisition are the result of a click. Providing both transparency and, as you point it out, a much more mature and efficient role to RTB.

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