Cutting Through the Clutter of Accidental Clicks With Better Metrics for Mobile

If you own a smartphone, chances are you’ve probably had this experience: you open an app or a web page on your mobile device and accidentally click on an advertisement – either because you simply tapped the wrong area of the screen or because you mistook the ad for part of the content. According to a recent study that analyzed millions of click-through rates for both static and rich mobile banner ads, up to 50 percent of the clicks served on a static mobile banner ad are just that: accidental clicks.

Of course, this calls into question the reliability of the click-through rate or CTR, that most widely accepted model for measuring the success of a web-based ad campaign. As advertisers continue to shift their focus toward mobile marketing, it seems a new standard of measurement is desperately needed. But are there any alternative metrics that brands can adopt to gauge real campaign efficacy in this new world of mobile-based marketing?

Recent research suggests that true brand metrics can be achieved. The scope of campaign analysis, however, needs to expand to include more than brand awareness. Brand attention, engagement, and purchase intent should be factored into the assessment as well. At the forefront of this research are measurement companies like Millward Brown that recently analyzed a mobile video ad campaign for one of India’s leading toothbrush brands. The company found that, with the right approach, mobile ads can enjoy far more impact on a wide range of brand metrics than other online ads.

The study invited mobile users to participate in a survey in which respondents answered questions about the company both before and after exposure to the brand’s mobile video ad campaign. Half of the respondents were exposed to a banner ad for the product upon taking the survey, and the other half (the control group) were not. Results showed that brand favorability was 7.9 percent higher among the exposed group compared to the control group, while purchase intent went up by 11.1 percent.

It’s this kind of information that helps executives at the toothbrush company truly understand the effectiveness of a campaign and make decisions for improving the next one. By adopting a more holistic approach to metrics and moving away from the superficiality of the CTR, brands can start measuring campaign results in a more pragmatic way.

The study also found that advertisers should define a clear objective for mobile ad campaigns based on content, context, and delivery. Since the vast majority of viewers sees a mobile video ad for a very short time period, the core campaign message should be highlighted within five seconds of the first frame. Study results also pointed out that videos made especially for the web seem to have better impact on awareness and persuasion than television videos played on mobile, especially where brand awareness is concerned.

In order to measure campaign success in this rapidly developing platform, brands must move away from catering to a generation who merely consumes mass media and begin reaching an audience defined by its active participation in mobile media. The challenge is to shift the focus away from the prime time audience of television and onto the real-time audience of mobile users.

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