In Late May, Nielsen and ComScore, two audience measurement giants, took steps to expand their mobile metrics offerings. Nielsen extended its @Plan for online audience measurement by launching Mobile @Plan, and ComScore snapped up measurement company M:Metrics for $44.3 million.
The moves — coming close on the heels of similar project launches from AdMob and Bango — speak to the growing viability of mobile as a consumer outreach channel.
“When you have the portability and penetration and growth rate that you have with mobile phones, that gives marketers a lot of opportunities to advertise — and in a very personal way,” points out Tina Kaichis, director of marketing communications and channel marketing for QuickPlay Media Inc.
As more consumers come to rely on their phones for daily tasks such as checking e-mail or reading news updates, it seems that mobile advertising is becoming more accepted as part and parcel of the new media outlet.
A recent study from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) revealed that one in four wireless users is interested in receiving mobile marketing messages, and 23% of respondents in a Nielsen Mobile survey reported having viewed mobile marketing messages in the past 30 days.
“When you have 58 million people that can’t leave home without something that provides them with entertainment and content, marketers want to reach them,” says Steven Rosenblatt, VP of advertising sales at Quattro Wireless, a mobile ad network. “This [news from Nielsen and ComScore] is a great step for the mobile ad space because marketers are realizing that they can engage a consumer during the time that they have that one-to-one personal experience with their device.”
While the popularity of standard mobile phones, as well as those that are Web-enabled, presents a vast opportunity for marketers to reach consumers, Rosenblatt and many of his colleagues note that analytics are a necessary development in the space. The measurement capabilities of M:Metrics or Mobile @Plan put mobile on a more level playing field with other media when marketers are deciding where to spend their dollars.
“Mobile @Plan allows us to take measurement a step beyond counting and tracking for mobile Web sites and really plan mobile media campaigns with the same level of precision with which we would plan a PC Web campaign,” explains Nic Covey, director of insights for Nielsen Mobile. “Now marketers can look at the mobile Web through the lens of the specific target they’re trying to reach, which is an important step forward in making sure that this platform allows the same efficiency in media buying as others do.”
In today’s multimedia world, understanding mobile on its own is simply not enough for many marketers. To give that coveted 360-degree view of the consumer who interacts with mobile, landline phones, computers, television and print media, the next step for measurement companies and marketers is to integrate mobile metrics with those from other media.
Nielsen, for example, has been integrating mobile and PC audience data through its TotalWeb service, and it recommends clients use @Plan and Mobile @Plan together to compare audiences across the two media. ComScore, too, plans to offer measurement of combined Internet usage across both PC and the mobile Web.
“Intelligent research companies and marketers are looking at mobile in context,” Covey says. “Nielsen measures all mobile media in one way or another, and will continue taking that research and putting it adjacent to and integrated with other media research and consumer research to get to that 360-degree point.”