Advertising Effectiveness and Mobile Technologies: Moving Beyond CTR

by    |    Aug 23, 2018    |       4 min read

New challenges faced by mobile advertising include the recent growth in mobile ad blocking, the complexity involved in reaching consumers who are using different operating systems, and the range in mobile apps and web.

So, given this growing complexity, how is a marketer to measure a mobile campaign’s advertising effectiveness in reaching consumers? Click-through rates (CTRs), which have traditionally been the default metric for determining the success of campaigns, are not effective for mobile. What’s needed here is a more sophisticated approach to determine how well we’re reaching the real human beings who are our users. As an industry, we need to shift how we think about ad performance on mobile and to be more creative, rather than relying on inadequate and dated legacy metrics.

Getting Started: Did They See the Ad?

First things first. Before you can measure whether an ad was effective, you need to know how many users saw it. This is a metric that actually involves three separate steps:

  1. Viewability: Don’t forget the basics. Did the ad load successfully? Was it delivered to the intended target? Moat, comScore, and Nielsen are some of the vendors who can provide advertisers with this type of viewability data.
  2. Visual Attention: Neuroscience firms such as MediaScience offer eye-tracking services that can measure eye movement, fixation, and pupil dilation to isolate if and when a mobile ad has been noticed. Once an ad loads and attracts attention, an additional question becomes relevant: How many times did a user really and truly look at the ad, and for how long?
  3. Registration: Seeing an ad does not always indicate that the ad has been understood. Brand study vendors such as Millward Brown Digital and Research Now have expertise in measuring things like whether there are successful ad recall and other ad-related brand metrics.
Equally Important: Did the Ad Make a Difference?

Once we have ascertained that a user has viewed an ad, we can move on to the more complex question of whether the ad had an impact – i.e., has it modified behavior or attitudes. The old measurements like surveys and CTR do not do the job well enough, and these have now been replaced by neuroscience and big data, which provide a more sophisticated and accurate indication of impact.

If It Flopped – Why’d It Flop?

Assessment of success or failure is, naturally, the next stage of the process. Don’t skip it. If an ad does not work, do not ignore this crucial step. Ask yourself why: What components may have played a role in the lack of response? Issues such as creative, audiences, and seasonality may be responsible for a failure and by successfully identifying the problem, one can gain a better understanding of what needs to be done differently the next time around.