GSMA's mobile ad measurement service fails to perform

The grand scheme established by the GSMA to provide ad agencies with a common method of measuring the effectiveness of mobile advertising is falling short of requirements.

Launched in the UK in February, the Mobile Media Metrics (MMM) service has been recognised as a positive move by the mobile industry, but remains unable to include data from 3UK and cannot track all the information from BlackBerry, iPhone and mobile WiFi users.

Commenting on the issues, Henry Stevens, director of media and entertainment at the GSMA, acknowledged the rollout of MMM hadn't been as quick as the industry trade body would have liked. "All four of the UK mobile operators have had to get a robust set of technical and business reporting processes in place," he said.

The GSMA and its research firm partner, ComScore, claim MMM will include data from 3UK's network from the first quarter of 2011, and are working with specific publishers to determine the number of mobile users visiting their sites.

Neil Andrews, 3UK's head of mobile advertising, said that many of the operators initially lacked the ability to process the amount of traffic on their networks. "A big issue surrounding this is that we've been talking about it for two years and demand has risen sharply since then," he said.

This hiccup in reporting has led the GSMA to miss important verification deadlines imposed by the media performance auditor, ABC Electronic.

What is further disrupting MMM credibility is the inability of mobile operators to interpret the internet usage patterns of their subscribers when they are using a WiFi connection.

ComScore has admitted that this issue is still being worked on, and that it is in the process of helping online publishers to tag their websites to better establish how many mobile users are visiting them. "The process of establishing the number of page impressions is straightforward but then we have to unify that with the GSMA data," said Paul Goode, head of industry relations at ComScore Europe.

The failure to track or incorporate WiFi stats is seen as a major stumbling block for many agencies interested in mobile ads, given that ad industry execs believe around a third of mobile Internet usage takes place over WiFi networks.

According to Chris Bourke, MD of media agency Havas's mobile arm Mobext, "The main frustration is that MMM can't tell us how many of the people on a given network are iPhone users. Many clients want to plan and target by device users and that means we have to verify the data to see how many of those people are, say, iPhone users," he said.

Insiders have suggested that the issues around WiFi reporting and decrypting use by RIM may not be resolved until midway through 2012.

For more:
- see this New Media Age article

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