With mobile progress comes accountability

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While the growth and profile of mobile marketing con­tinues apace, its progression has been marked both by caution and uncertainty on the part of advertisers, and by periodic revolutions on the technical and infrastructure side.

Those two patterns came together last week with the news that ComScore had snapped up mobile measurement firm M:Metrics for $44.3 million. The deal will help give mobile measurement the scale and heft that might reassure marketers, previously put off by sometimes puzzling and conflicting data, that investment in mobile will be accountable.

The acquisition follows in the footsteps of Nielsen's acquisition of Telephia last August. Nielsen had its own mobile revolution last week, when it announced that it was bringing its @Plan audience profiling tool to the mobile realm. Marketers will have access to absurdly specific demographic and purchasing information, such as how long you spend on a plane, and what airline mobile Internet users are more likely to fly with than PC-based Web users. We are also poised for GPS to reach the point when we can opt in to a program that will allow our phones to tell marketers how long we spend in the candy aisle at Target, and then send us Crest coupons.

But with power comes responsibility, and marketers' cautious approach to mobile data isn't just concern over its reliability; it's a fear that if data are abused, they might wreak havoc not seen since spammer abuse seriously damaged the e-mail medium.

Fears aside, these periodic progressions permit the DM world to squarely plant a flag in the mobile space; not only is mobile a great way to improve CRM, it's increasingly becoming a way to really understand who the customer is, where they are, and how they're behaving.

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