Unlocking the Mobile Advertising Opportunity: Getting Attribution Right

April 12, 2016 — by Amarita Bansal    

In a commentary piece from MediaPost written by Loren Hillberg, the article speaks to the challenges marketers face when measuring mobile advertising ROI. So what’s the best option? Consider using mobile location data to measure foot traffic. Read an excerpt of the article below to learn what attribution solution is best for you: 

Today, there are two main approaches to measure foot traffic: auction-based and mobile consumer panels. And, while they measure the same thing, their results may vary widely based based on methodology used. Marketers must understand which method is being used, what data is actually being collected, and how accurate that data is.

Auction-Based Approach

When a person interacts with an app and an ad request is sent, an app publisher also sends location data. Auction-based measurement providers typically “listen” to these ad requests to identify whether a user is at a targeted location when the ad request is sent.

If they are, a visit to that location is counted as “positive” foot traffic. Solution providers then perform a match to see which of these mobile users were exposed to an ad that is part of the campaign they are measuring. If they have been, they attribute that foot traffic to that ad being seen.

With this approach, the number of potential mobile consumers is larger than is available via panels. Thus, the potential audience can mirror the specific demographics selected for a campaign. However, not all of the user’s real-world activity is recorded.

This approach only captures location data when a user has an app open, and when that app sends out an ad request. Also, measurement providers do not have a direct relationship with mobile publishers and do not have control over the accuracy of the data being sent in an ad request. They are at the mercy of a publisher’s own accuracy thresholds.

Further, the true location of a user can vary significantly from the stated location in the ad request, which means visits to a store might be recorded when, in fact, there was no visit or equally misleading, the reverse.

Consumer Panel Approach

Alternatively, consumer panels for foot traffic work somewhat like the Nielsen Set Top Box panel. An attribution measurement provider creates a large opted-in audience—the “panel”—of mobile consumers who agree to have their location tracked continuously.

The measurement provider sees who does and does not visit a specific store. Users can then be tracked back to a mobile ad campaign to determine who did or didn’t see a specific ad.

Since data collection is “always on,” data for each user on the panel is more complete and includes both coverage and duration of visit metrics. Data accuracy is superior and data quality is higher because the measurement provider is able to control how the location data is gathered.

Panels typically have less scale and their demographics may not be representative of the campaign’s target audience. Certain panels may incentivize panelists, contributing to a potential demographic skewing of data.

To read the full article via MediaPost, click here.

Amarita Bansal

Amarita Bansal is Senior Content Manager at MediaMath. In her role, Amarita provides thought leadership in the adtech space by fostering relationships across every team at MediaMath, producing content for the blog, demand generation initiatives, media placements and bylines. She also guides the content strategy for our account-based marketing efforts. Born and raised in West London, New York City is now her adopted home town. An alumna of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Amarita has produced content across all digital platforms, previously working at Associated Press in the London bureau. She's a pilates enthusiast and loves to go giggin’.