by Gladys Kong

Why 2018 will be the year of mobile data measurement and insights

Dec 13, 2017
AnalyticsBusiness IntelligenceMobile

While there is promising momentum in the growth of mobile location data for measurement and insights, there is still a lot of work to be done.

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As a CEO of a bustling mobile tech firm, it’s my job to balance day-to-day responsibilities with the need to step back and observe, to spot the signs of important trends that affect our business. It isn’t difficult to spot one trend I believe will define 2018 for the mobile location data space: measurement. In my estimation, next year will be the year of mobile location-based measurement and insights.

Let me explain. Businesses, particularly advertisers and marketers, have employed data and metrics to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts for decades. In the mobile location data sector, the last few years have been dominated by talk of measurement and attribution. More and more marketers have expressed interest in using data showing foot traffic to retail outlets or demographics of mobile users passing by outdoor media, for example.

What’s new and what we’ll see much more of in 2018 is actual spending on this type of mobile attribution and measurement, not just on digital media, but across all media spend. Anecdotally speaking, at Ubermedia, we’re seeing tangible indications that marketers are incorporating measurement plans into their campaign budgets. Over the past year, there’s been an increase in the number of RFPs submitted by clients featuring requests for measurement related data and services.

This uptick in spending is evident for advertisers running ads in all types of media – from digital and mobile to TV and outdoor campaigns. In fact, not surprisingly, clients want to measure across media, whether it be radio or outdoor billboards. The drive towards integrated, omnichannel campaigns is propelling the interest in reporting and measurement that takes multiple media channels into account. Because mobile location data serves as a proxy for the presence of consumers in physical places, it is as an invaluable link between traditional and digital advertising and sales, thus connecting consumer interactions to trackable, reportable measurement data and Key Performance Indicators.

What’s driving agencies to provide mobile data-based insights

Working in tandem with this increased spending on location data is the desire to spin the data into insights. Knowing that a certain number of people visited a store location or car dealership within a specific period of time is one thing. Analyzing such data over time, estimating demographic, psychographic and interest-based traits associated with that data in order to glean insights about consumers – that is where exponential value is derived.

I believe there’s a significant motivation for this focus on insights. The fact is that as more media buys incorporate automated, programmatic advertising, agencies have less involvement in how media buys are executed; this new dynamic is compelling them to show brand clients innovative services and value. Teasing out insights based on supplemental information aligned with mobile users is one way they’re doing it. For instance, if a spirits brand discovers that people who engaged with its mobile ads or passed by a billboard also frequented fitness centers or organic food markets, its agency can help the client use that information for future targeting or in other media channels.

Still, lots of marketers have yet to dive into spending on measurement using mobile location data. What’s holding them back? The biggest obstacle for many is simply a lack of understanding. The mobile location data sector is a very noisy marketplace, and to break through the hype and clutter can be time consuming and complex.

However, the fact that my company is seeing a boost in mobile location measurement spending among forward-thinking clients tells me that we’ll begin seeing a move beyond awareness towards more interest in education and in buying among those remaining holdouts.

So, while there is promising momentum in the growth of mobile location data for measurement and insights, there is work to be done. It’s up to agencies and data providers to educate marketers to improve understanding of mobile location data capabilities and best practices. Expect to hear more from my team on that in the coming months. Onward towards 2018!