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Analytics are critical to mobile advertising?s future

The mobile industry is getting to a point where marketers are looking past the initial click-through and diving deeper into user engagement.

Industry experts believe that analytics are the key ingredients needed in a successful mobile marketing effort. The more data and analytics marketers have at their disposal, the better.

?Analytics coupled with transparency and an engaged audience will not only help propel the mobile industry forward but will also provide media buyers and brands with a solution to engage their consumers,? said Kevin Canty, sales director at Kargo. 

?Investment in mobile will only continue to grow with analytics backing up mobile activations,? he said.  

Key advancements
Mobile has made huge strides over the past few years.

And, analytics play a big role for marketers. The information is not only useful, but helps companies better reach their target audience. 

?Currently developers are building better, more engaging mobile video players to be vast compliant so the brand has a much better look into the effectiveness of their marketing spend,? Mr. Canty said. 

?I think it?s crucial for mobile to evolve at its own pace and direction,? he said. ?Mobile is still clearly behind traditional Web on the attribution model. 

?Until there are more persistent solutions to tracking users then this will continue to be the case.?

Although mobile advertising is growing at a rapid pace and marketers are increasingly implementing the medium into their strategies, the channel has yet to catch up with the pace of mobile adoption in general.

?While there are many factors that separate Web properties versus mobile apps ? physical form factors, functionalities and usage patterns ? the one common denominator is the availability of data,? said Peter Wang, senior vice president of engineering of adtivity by appssavvy. 

?Especially with limited screen size, and much shorter time for placements, mobile advertisers have to be much more focused, more targeted,? he said. ?And to do that, advertisers need to take into account the timing and context of the mobile user ? when is it a good time to serve the ad, and what ad to serve.

?This is where analytics comes in, via realtime collection and understanding of data.?

Target audience
Nowadays, marketers may have a solid strategy, but it is nothing without analytics.

Everything comes down to data.

Using data, marketers are able to reach consumers with personalized and relevant content.

Additionally, companies running a mobile advertising campaign are able to see what works and what does not by incorporating analytics.

?Analytics' role in a product, is analogous to the dashboard of a car,? Mr. Wang said. ?Without it, we have awareness of how our product is doing ? how fast are we growing, how are people using it, where do we fall short, what do people love the most, what can we improve on, what should be build next that is most impactful?

?While product development sits at the cross roads of art and science, without the scientific direction or affirmation of our ideas ? the road to success, which is measured by how much value our product is creating for our users ? is a long and treacherous one,? he said.

Mr. Wang also believes that it will take a while for the metrics for mobile campaigns to catch up to where the Web space is currently.

?It is easy to collect data, it is hard to turn data into intelligence, because you have to identify the right question to ask,? Mr. Wang said. ?And once you finally have the intelligence, it's even harder to standardize them into a set of metrics that is scalable, and applicable across the industry.

?Metrics by definition is essentially a framework, a lens, through which we evaluate our raw data points, and make them actionable,? he said.

??In addition, right now the mobile industry, from manufacturers, such as Apple, Google, to service providers, such as AT&T, Verizon, still need to come to agreement on many mobile-specific policies, such as how to uniquely identify users, where to draw the privacy line, etc, and those questions need to be answered before industry-wide metrics can be truly established and scaled.?

Smart move
No longer is advertising effectiveness judged by impressions rendered.

Mobile marketing and advertising means that brands and retailers can have full visibility regarding the return on investment they make with an ad campaign.

?Advertisers should be constantly looking to tweak and update campaigns for maximum effectiveness,? said Wilson Kerr, vice president o business development and sales at Unbound Commerce.

?Mobile offers an almost infinitely tight level of visibility,? he said. ?Location, for example can be used to prequalifying audience that will be more likely to respond to campaign.

?As mobile payments and mobile marketing merged together, there will be an increasing need to understand exactly who was interacting with a mobile marketing campaign, where, and what the resulting sales conversions were.?

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York