M:Metrics Launches Mobile Ad Tracking Service

Mobile measurement firm M:Metrics has come out with a service to record and report on advertisements appearing on mobile Web sites and devices. Called M:AdTracker, the competitive intelligence offering resembles Web-based services like Nielsen AdRelevance and TNS Media Intelligence.

M:Metrics has deployed a proprietary data collection technology to monitor ads across 120 properties, including portals, major mobile sites such as ESPN Mobile, and a few lesser known destinations. Sites are measured four times a day to identify ads delivered to a day-part or other rotation schedule.

After the spider turns up raw data on the ads, a team of analysts catalogs and classifies those executions for presentation to clients as customized reports structured around industry, company, or product. M:Metrics can filter ads by day, week, month, quarter or year to identify short and long term advertising trends, as well as by carrier and whether ads appear on- or off-deck.

To be measured successfully, ads can appear as text or image file formats, but they must link to a landing page. Video bumper ads or text ads or sponsorships lacking a link will not be recorded, according to M:Metrics. Early findings from the service suggest a diversity of advertisers and industries that may surprise some mobile naysayers, according to M:Metrics spokesperson Jaimee Minney.

“Before there was the thought that it was the mobile industry talking to itself, promoting phones, games and ringtones,” she said. On the contrary, over a dozen Fortune 100 companies have advertised on those sites tracked by M:Metrics, including marketers from categories like automotive, financial services, travel and leisure, and CPG.

M:Metrics executives have been down this road before. The privately held firm’s CEO and president, Will Hodgman, was a founder of AdRelevance, a competitive intelligence service for Web-based advertising. In a statement, Hodgman noted the heaviest concentration of mobile ads is in media and entertainment.

In designing the ad tracking service, Minney said M:Metrics had to contend with the variety of operating systems, screen sizes and individual device capabilities.

“Mobile makes the browser wars look like a walk in the park,” she said. “You’re looking at all those different device formats. It’s definitely challenging.”

At its outset, the AdTracker service will deliver its reports in spreadsheet form, though Minney said the company plans to eventually offer more graphical reports through an online interface. She added the service will morph as clients offer feedback and the company assesses demand. “Whether mobile should be measured exactly like the Internet remains to be seen.”

M:Metrics also offers panel- and survey-based measurement products that assess consumers’ consumption of mobile content and services. The company declined to say what it would charge for the M:AdTracker service. Initially available only in the U.S., M:AdTracker will be offered in Europe next year.

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