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Magna Global exec: Mobile translation to purchase is biggest obstacle

NEW YORK – A Magna Global executive at the 2014 IAB Mobile Marketplace admitted that although the ultimate goal for mobile advertising is to prove that the medium influenced a sale, there is still quite a big of work to be done in the space.

The struggle to track a mobile ad throughout the entire consumer path to purchase was a challenge that executives from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, YP, Magna Global, Carat and Resolute Digital all discussed during a track session panel. The panel was moderated by Joe Laszlo, senior director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the IAB, New York.

“Whether your immediate objective is brand awareness, purchase intent, even just tapping an ad, ultimately our clients want to see translation to purchase,” said Mitch Weinstein, head of ad operations at Magna Global, New York.

Measuring mobile’s impact
While there are many ways for marketers to prove the effectiveness of digital campaigns, the majority of mobile measurement options are still largely experimental.

Click-to-call mobile ads are one method of attribution that is working and native to mobile, per Mr. Weinstein.

However, the downside of click-to-call is that it cannot factor in the consumers who are interested in a brand, but do not have the time to call.

Despite how much marketers try to tweak specific metrics for particular digital platforms, marrying up real-world and digital data remains a fundamental challenge with mobile.

David Petersen, vice president of mobile at YP, Atlanta, said this challenge in measuring mobile stems from not being able to track consumers as they move from one medium to another.

At the same time, mobile tracking for some verticals, such as quick-service restaurants, can be easier than others.

The number of QSR mobile campaigns that turn clicks into a SMS coupon can work well, but does not represent the mobile advertising industry as a whole, per Mr. Petersen.

Moving on from mobile-first
The panel also discussed what role mobile-first initiatives have nowadays.

According to Sarah Baehr, senior vice president of digital at Carat, New York, the mobile-first mentality does not work because it does not include the consumer’s perspective.

Additionally, marketers should look beyond advertising at a wider spectrum of mobile tactics including Web, apps or commerce, as a utility that gives consumers a value.

At the same time, attribution and tackling cross-screen measurement is still likely a ways off, per the Carat executive.

This also means that marketers need to move beyond solely focusing on impressions to look at other performance metrics, including sharing on social media or activating a mobile effort through location.

“I think everyone in this room probably has a different view, every client has a different perspective on what the meaning or what the value of the certain impression depending on the device, the time of day, the offer, everything that’s going to play in there,” Ms. Baehr said.

“It potentially becomes this endless customization of what measurement and attribution means for you,” she said.