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Are You Asking Your Mobile Advertising Provider the Right Questions?


Effective targeting, delivery, and measurement are a few of the challenges of mobile advertising, which makes it difficult to know which is the right platform or ad solution for advertising campaign. There are plenty of options, but how do you know which to choose to get the results you are looking for?

Here are the 5 questions you need to ask when selecting the right advertising provider or technology platform for your campaign:

1. Who sees my ad?

Without knowing WHO is seeing your ad, you can't target, know if it was seen, or measure properly. A significant number of mobile ad platforms focus on location-first, believing the power of mobile is where advertisers should target based on geographical profiles. However, if your campaign measurement uses location for a proxy of who sees the ad, you won't actually know. If you know "who" then you can target the right audience. This information is proven by dependable third-party household purchase information and loyalty of your own consumer data (CRM). The data can then be matched to mobile device data to target your audience precisely and ad delivery. Next, you want to assess who actually saw the ad or not, then assess how this relates to campaign measurement. Not knowing who was exposed to your ad leaves significant gaps in both targeting and measurement. Make sure you clarify with your vendor that you have the information about what devices your ad is being viewed, and can they associate with a specific household or individual.

2. What match key do you use for targeting and measurement?

A match key is a common link or identifier needed for connecting target audiences with campaigns. Some common match keys used are email, Wi-Fi MAC address, IP or home by mobile ad platform providers. Here are two considerations for the most common, home and email:

  • The average person uses six different email addresses. They are used for varying purposes, different frequency, and change every 1-3 years.


  • Most people have only one home address and it changes less frequency, with an average of once every seven years. Home addresses are viewed as a more stable match key.

The stable home address can be played out further when using third-party data, such as demographics which are necessary for targeting and measurement. Due to people having so many different email addresses results in poor match rates, typically less than 10%. This prevents running a targeted campaigns at an acceptable scale for national brands.

3. Why should I trust you are really reaching the people you say you are?

A critical point for reaching the right audience is accurate match logic with the right device and your mobile advertising, as well as cross-channel campaigns. Multiple-screen campaigns depend on the accuracy of the match logic to solidify that you are reaching the same people on mobile devices and desktop/laptop. What you should be asking to ensure your provider can demonstrate this accuracy:

  • What validation of their logic and algorithms are done to ensure they are making an accurate match.


  • Specifically about the technology they use to match consumer across screens and how they validate the accuracy of the match.


  • Is it sufficient to your campaign that your provider is knowledgeable about precise targeting to past purchase data?


  • Are you comfortable not measuring campaign success based on incremental sales lift?

Make sure you look for strong verification of targeting accuracy, specifically for third-parties vs. vendor itself. This ensures that the CPM you pay for precision targeting is worth the premium.


4. Where will my ad be seen?

    Location targeting is often the focus of mobile ad campaigns. You will find additional opportunities if you expand your horizon and campaign to include various touch points on the path-to-purchase. When you consider broader, where your ad is seen becomes a question of physical location, as well as the variety applications, outlets, publications and channels.      

What to keep in mind:

  • Consumers are engaging via cross-channel and devices as they are on-the-go. This multi-screen behavior can create challenges for vendors using location-based mobile advertising due to the fact that they have to assume a great deal about people surrounded solely on proximity. This may result in many missed opportunities to reach them in more relevant ways. Make sure your vendor demonstrates a knowledge of today's customer and helps you work effectively across channels.


  • Another great area that is given heavy weighting to the path-to-purchase intersection is mobile advertising and social channels. Facebook isn't the only answer when it comes to mobile advertising. Social channels can be important but you must keep in mind that 25% of time spent on mobile devices is spent of social media compared to apps, mobile web, ect. You want to be well rounded and not rely only on social channels so you don't miss reaching your audience during the larger portions of the day.

  • Your users' expectations.....people are probably more willing to view an ad on a free downloaded app versus social media when they tend to complain about ads taking up too much space.

You need more than a single publisher to target your audience throughout the day and a variety of touch points along their path-to-purchase. This way you will reach people in more relevant ways with them seeing your ad in places that make sense for them.

5. How will you measure campaign success?

Many mobile ad vendors offer campaign analytics, insights, lift in trial, conversion, brand-level preference, or store visits. Really when it comes to measuring your mobile ad campaign success, only one measurement is meaningful-sales! How to do it:

  • By using sales lift measurement you can determine your online, offline, and mobile commerce results at the product SKU level. This shows what people exposed to an ad actually purchased.


  • To accomplish this effectively and across multi-screens, satisfactory answers should be given to questions 1-4 first. It also require trying actual ad online and offline transaction data to exposure to an ad at the scale measurement, not samplings.

  • The sales lift results are then compared to your ad campaign cost to yield a simple but powerful Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) metric.

  • The sales lift measurement also determines what channels were the most effective at driving sales, which helps you solve your attribution questions.

Be sure to ask your vendor if they do sales lift measurement and if they can show a true ROAS metric. Sales lift measurement is best conducted by trusted third-party data analytics or attribution specialist with expertise in calculating return on ad spend to eliminate bias.      

These providers will add credibility to the measurement process and actual outcomes. They are also very experienced in helping you structure your campaigns up front for measurement with actual transaction data.

Finding the right vendors for your product can be confusing, so you want to be sure you start off by asking the right questions. Companies offering mobile solution are well rounded in areas of industry technologies and approaches. Your goal is to find a strong, defensible mobile ad targeting, delivery and measurement solution.              

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