The ubiquity of handsets and tablets may have helped mobile gain the attention of top brands and agencies, but it's the impact of its advertising that is securing its place in the advertising mix. As shown by Medialets' recently published mobile ad benchmarks, mobile rich media advertising in particular is proving to deliver exceptional metrics -- the kind of numbers that can make even digital advertising blush.
Of course, mobile's buzz-worthy performance isn't guaranteed just because you have allocated budget to the smaller screen. Success requires a well orchestrated campaign -- a smart media plan, thoughtful creative, battle-tested mobile-ready ad technology, and, last but not least, the right approach to measurement.
To ensure you're on the most direct path to mobile success, we've rounded up some best practices to keep in mind as you embark on your next (or first) mobile rich media campaign.
Establish key performance metrics early on
You can't measure your campaign until after it starts running, but that does not mean you should wait to define your measurement strategy. Key performance metrics will inform every step of your campaign execution, particularly creative. Define them in the earliest stages of your campaign -- during planning and buying -- and ensure that every person involved in the execution understands what those metrics are. When KPIs are established and universally understood, you'll be better positioned to execute a campaign that will meet your goals.
Know what can be measured
Mobile rich media advertising is exceptionally measurable, providing standard metrics such as impressions, click-through rate, engagement rate, and every interaction within the creative. It's important to understand what metrics are available to you and how those metrics may differ based on the technology or ad formats you choose. For example, if you're running an expanding banner, will expand rate be measured? Or, will you be able to measure the percent of users that completed all or part of the videos in your ad? Can you measure what products are most often tapped on in your gallery? Find out what reporting is available to you to tell the story of your ad's success. And, per step one above, do it early on in the campaign for best results.
Seek out consistent, cross-platform metrics
It's no secret that the mobile landscape is complex. Different operating systems and versions, device types (like handsets and tablets), and properties (like mobile apps and websites) introduce variables that can make ad creation, serving, and measurement tricky. But don't fight fragmentation with fragmentation; when you choose different solutions to accommodate different mobile devices, you end up with a different set of metrics for each segment. Spare yourself the nightmare of conflicting spreadsheets and seek out a solution that can provide one set of metrics for your campaigns across devices, operating systems, mobile sites, apps, and so on.
Don't rely solely on click-through as a success metric
Click-through is a valuable metric, but it shouldn't be the singular focus of your campaign performance. Rich media ads enable users to perform a host of different actions that bring value to the brand experience. A successful measurement strategy makes it possible for you to share the details on not just whether or not an impression generated a click-through to a landing page, but also the nature, depth, and length of time a user was engaged by the creative. If you're only reporting on click-through, you miss out on the opportunity to tell a more interesting, comprehensive story.
Embrace engagement rate
Engagement rate, the "power metric" of mobile rich media, measures whether or not an impression generated a desired action. The beauty of engagement rate is that the desired action could be anything that happens in the ad, from playing a video to tapping an image gallery or shaking the device. For example, a recent ad for Johnny Walker Blue Label ran on The New York Times invited users to digitally engrave a bottle for Father's Day. (Users could then order that engraved bottle as a gift.) Another recent campaign for Mazda CX-5 prompted users to slide to "x-ray" the vehicle. In each case, when a user performed the core action -- digitally engraving the bottle or sliding to x-ray the vehicle -- an engagement was counted. In this way, engagement rate provides a standard metric by which to measure non-standard activity, making it easier to get a high-level view into the success of a creative and compare performance across different creatives.
Mobile rich media ads may be the new kid on the block, but that doesn't mean that its measurement should be daunting. By following these basic practices, you'll be better positioned not only to succeed in mobile rich media advertising, but also to share the story of that success.
Elena Perez is director of marketing at Medialets.
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"Success speedometer" image via Shutterstock.