Getting Your Mobile Ad Performance Model Right

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Bill Dinan is a guest author. To submit a guest post, click here.

The growth of mobile advertising has been well documented. Mobile advertising has been adopted by advertisers faster than any other media thus far, and today more than 80% of SMBs plan to include mobile in their 2012 advertising budgets. Part of the reason is that SMBs and advertisers have a strong understanding of mobile – most are using a mobile device every day. In fact, the number of calls placed to local search ads from mobile phones has nearly doubled in the past year.

With all this activity (and spending) also comes a demand for new measurement tools. Local SMBs – moreso than even big advertisers – want tangible performance results that demonstrate pre-sales and sales activity.

Mobile Measurement: More Than Click-to-Call
Ad dollars are precious and must show ROI. Whether it’s in the form of phone calls, direction downloads, QR codes or map views, SMBs want confirmation that their mobile ad dollars are driving leads. Click-to-call used to mean initiating a call through a PC, but it has evolved into initiating a call on your mobile device or tablet.

And while tracking these click-to-call events lets an advertiser know that a consumer clicked, there is no confirmation that the consumer was connected to the advertiser. Mobile call tracking lets them know that the call went through and also indicates the quality of the lead. The difference may seem minor, but consider what it means in a pay per call ad model.

The average time from a PC-initiated search to purchase is 30 days while the average time from a mobile-initiated search to purchase is one hour.

Let’s say a consumer is in a spotty cellular service area and makes three attempts to call a business before connecting. In measuring click-to-call, this would count as three leads. In true mobile call tracking, this would be counted as one lead as that is how many times the call connected. From an advertiser perspective this represents a huge difference in fees and results.

Mobile call tracking has evolved into the ability to track calls with all of the traditional call tracking benefits indicating if the call connected, how long the call lasted, whether it was a repeat caller, the demographic profile of the caller and more. There are even developments enabling these benefits without traditional call tracking numbers, yet still tracking the calls not just clicks.

Optimize: Using Mobile Call Detail to Your Advantage
When the consumer is on a mobile device, it changes the traditional ad performance model. Consumers calling from their mobile phones are staying on the phone with businesses longer – more than three minutes per call – and longer call durations indicate a greater propensity to buy/convert. Plus, mobile consumers are closer to the point of purchase so they can command a higher monetization value.

One recent study says that the average time from a PC-initiated search to purchase is 30 days while the average time from a mobile-initiated search to purchase is one hour. That is the beauty of mobile ads and why it is a must-do part of any local media strategy – and one that needs to be accurately measured and monetized.

Detailed mobile call data is crucial to validating mobile ad performance and allowing mobile local search providers and app developers to monetize the medium and grow. Knowing the details of who is calling, how long they are on the phone, whether they are likely to convert, and how they arrived at the business are crucial data points for optimizing mobile ad programs for increased lead quality.

Bill Dinan is president of Telmetrics, a provider of call measurement solutions. He joined the company in 1998. Since that time, Dinan has lead Telmetrics’ evolution from print-centric tools to multi-media, leads-based measurement solutions and was appointed president in May 2009. He can be reached at [email protected].