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Fake mobile ad results need to get real

APAC’s mobile advertising market is valued at over US$43 billion in 2016, driving advertisers to create clearer ways to report mobile advertising results. Clear and meaningful measurement ensures that investment into mobile advertising continues to grow and yield substantial returns.

Despite the excitement around mobile advertising, the spectre of fraud and non-human traffic is ever-present.

The industry is at a juncture where transparency is crucial to success. If ad fraud cannot be curbed, advertisers risk losing millions from their mobile advertising investments. To investigate the scope of the issue, earlier this year, S4M analysed over 2.3 billion ad requests to identify key pain points in mobile ad spend.

Four key mobile metrics were relevant to fighting ad fraud:

  • Out of the 2.3 billion ad requests analysed, only 1.61 billion ads were fully displayed on mobile devices; 31% of the total impressions were not viewable. This means that advertisers buying based on ad impressions are not seeing a return from 31% of their of their budget. By counting only when an ad was fully loaded, plus one second viewing time, advertisers can ensure that they are paying for human views.
  • Genuine clicks. In our analysis we counted a net total of 64.6 million clicks. However, after filtering out suspicious behavior, we found that only 47.6 million of these clicks were genuine. That means 26% of the total clicks were considered suspicious or fraudulent. By insisting on paying only for valid clicks, marketers can repurpose 26% of the existing mobile ad spend.
  • Landing page arrivals. Of all the total number of users who clicked on an ad, 48% never made it to the ad’s destination. Mobile campaign success is ultimately tied to user engagement, so marketers should insist on counting true landing page arrivals. Ensuring that a true visit counts when the page has been loaded 100% plus one second is a major step towards ensuring user engagements.
  • Active App Installs. Counting users in a mobile app is different from counting users on a mobile browser. We analysed the total number of users who installed an app, and 66% of the apps installed were never opened. If advertising for a mobile app, measuring active app installs is the most efficient way to ensure the advertising campaign is successfully recruiting new users.

While fraud will never be completely abolished, combining concrete metrics and anti-fraud technologies is the best formula to ensure mobile campaigns reach intended users, and not just empty investments. For instance, the single-click counting method is applied by anti-fraud technologies to ensure that each impression only receives one click. All subsequent clicks that occur for the same ad format are not counted.

Having the proper technology in place with personalised and relevant creatives  allows advertisers to deliver engaging mobile advertising. All these efforts ensure mobile advertising gives real results and the medium will continue to grow.

For now, advertisers can gain peace of mind by seeking solutions accredited by third parties such as from the Media Rating Council, who validates technologies based on world wide approved standards.

The writer is Gavin Buxton, vice president sales at S4M APAC.

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