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Google makes mobile advertising more transparent with goal of attracting bigger budgets

To help marketers better understand mobile attribution, Google has introduced a new calculator tool providing equations and benchmarks so marketers can estimate the value of their mobile advertising.

The calculator tool has a step-by-step wizard to help marketers upload data from AdWords and their mobile Web site and to make some key assumptions so they can create an estimate of mobile?s full value on their business. The goal is to make it easier for marketers to assess the impact that mobile is having on their business with an eye toward attracting more marketers and bigger budgets to Google?s advertising solutions.

?What I like about the calculators is that they can help advertisers ? especially small businesses ? think systematically about the dimensions of ROI on mobile,? said Sebastian Gard, senior vice president of social media and strategy at Arnold Worldwide, Boston.

?Even if the numbers aren't totally accurate, playing with the calculators gives you a sense of how mobile could be helping your business, and that could give some people the confidence to try a few new things to grow their business,? he said.

Breaking down silos
Marketers using the calculator will be able to see the total value, value per click and ROI that mobile is driving across all mobile customer paths. Marketers will also be able to see how cost-effective their mobile cost per acquisition rates are.

As marketers mobile budgets grow, these companies are increasingly putting pressure on their mobile partners such as Google to deliver meaningful analytics that can help them determine the return on investment for their efforts in mobile. Marketers are looking for ways to connect the dots from mobile clicks to actual consumer transactions as well as to leverage mobile to learn more about their customers.

Mobile can help marketers unlock a treasure trove of data, including user information, the location where an interaction took place and when it took place as well as interaction data. However, many are still struggling to find meaning in this information, in part because of the complexity of the platform and a lack of closed-loop metrics.

One of the biggest challenges that marketers face in mobile analytics is the fact that data is broken into silos for mobile Web, apps, SMS, QR codes, location based programs, display advertising and more.

However, multichannel analytics solutions are increasingly becoming available, enabling marketers to track customers across channels.

Understanding mobile?s impact
Today, most marketers can only account for sales happening on a mobile site and are not seeing the full picture of how mobile is influencing their customers, per Google.

Google has introduced the Full Value of Mobile initiative to help marketers better understand mobile?s impact online and offline. The initiative includes the calculator and other resources to estimate mobile?s value in a multi-screen world where consumers are increasingly engaging with brands across desktop, tablets and smartphones.

Google has been working on enhancing mobile analytics for a while. For example, recently it added calls as conversions to AdWords reporting.

This latest initiative also include videos illustrating each mobile conversion path, case studies from brands such as adidas, Radio Shack and The Home Depot highlighting successful mobile strategies as well as tips for measurement.

While the initiative is a step in the right direction toward improving mobile analytics, this does not completely solve the problem of measuring mobile?s effectiveness.

?If you are using mobile ads to drive video views, and not trying to go much further, the lack of analytics is not a problem,? Mr. Gard said.

?If you are trying to stimulate a complicated, long-duration online conversion, though, analytics are crucial,? he said. ?Unfortunately, the new tools are not going to get you any closer to accurate attribution in situations like that.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York