8. What Metrics Best Measure Mobile Ad Campaigns?

Let’s look at some significant ways to get started on the task of measuring mobile campaigns.

A central question at the heart of every mobile advertising campaign is did the advertiser meet their objectives: did the creative served drive people into stores — of all kinds, in this online-to-offline world — and did those consumers purchase products and services?

To answer that question takes metrics. Picking the right metrics takes some knowledge of available measurement approaches and their relative strengths and challenges. In the sections that follow, let’s look at some significant ways to get started on the task of measuring mobile campaigns.

Metrics Highlights: Visits and Media Spend

We can start to understand approaches to mobile-ad campaign measurement with the help of a few key performance indicators. Each example below aims to quantify the core outcome that almost every ad strategy includes: store visits and purchases. In each case, however, the path to understanding what makes for campaign success is slightly more nuanced than it might first seem.

  • Cost Per Incremental Visit (CPIV): A measurement of store visits that are attributable to ads served. This metric emerges from careful use of unexposed control groups, designed to distinguish between ad-driven visits and those that would have occurred naturally. In doing so, CPIV enables an advertiser to learn how their media spend truly drove performance and to learn which tactics and audiences were most effective. CPIV is a helpful way to compare multiple media partners, using a fair and consistent baseline, to explore whether and how ads affected store visits.
  • Cost Per Visit (CPV): A measurement of how much media spend was associated with a visit to a store. The lower the CPV, the more successfully marketers are reaching their target audience. Essentially, this metric is based on a count of visits that were influenced by the brand’s media budget. The approach is a useful way to measure and optimize targeting efficiency and it works well for campaigns in which brands want to drive reach and frequency among regular customers.

Combining both CPIV and CPV offers a strong start on assessing how many visits an ad drove overall and also how a targeted audience responded to ads served.

There are some limitations to both that should be noted, however. Neither guarantee a completely accurate answer about outcomes — incremental offline visits cannot be directly observed and counted, so CPIV is not a prime candidate for pricing media, and CPV should not be positioned as a pure performance metric because it is not a guarantee that the consumer’s decision to visit the store was driven by the advertising message. The role in which both metrics do serve is that they combine well with a spectrum of measurement elements. That is to say, marketers must first define their objective, then specify the target audience, the context in which to reach the audience, the content of the creative experience, and the call to action. Using CPV and CPIV data in conjunction with these qualitative determinants creates the ability to set up campaign targeting and execution that can be holistically measured for success.

Other Metrics: Clicks, Leads, and Costs

In addition to the above approaches, there are several other tactics to use in measuring a mobile campaign.

As highlighted in this MarTech Advisor article by Vandita Grover, the following four KPIs can help marketers measure and assess campaign outcomes beyond the element of foot-traffic and what it cost to generate visits — and some of these apply not only to foot traffic but to the online space as well, where we know conversions increasingly occur.

  • Click-through rate (CTR): A ratio which compares the number of clicks against the number of times an ad has been viewed. CTR presents challenges as a metric, however, in that it does not account for data outliers such as accidental clicks and it does not establish causality with other performance indicators such as conversions and brand awareness.
  • Leads generated: The number of prospective customers identified during the campaign.
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): The sum of money a brand must spend to convert a mobile user.
  • Sales revenue: The profits from each ad campaign.

And then there are elements we sometimes think of as softer metrics still: brand exposure and penetration — represented by the number of queries about a brand on search engines and the quantity of web traffic on a brand’s website and social media pages — and also social engagement, which is a measurement of likes, shares, re-tweets, or brand mentions on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Last but not least, it’s important for mobile brands to monitor the performance of a campaign over time, not just in the moment, and to compare a new campaign against previous iterations.

All of these data points and strategies can help advertisers understand customer behavior and present increasingly personalized campaigns. The end result is that mobile marketers can engage with consumers in increasingly relevant ways, improving opportunities for revenue. This is even more imperative in a multi-screen world, which we will further address in upcoming installments of Verve 101.

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