business-systems-copy.jpgSeparate Moves By Nielsen, DoubleClick and AdMob Significantly Enhance the Mobile Web’s Viability as an Advertising Medium.

It’s as if three of the biggest leaders in digital marketing huddled up last week and decided to tackle some of the thorniest issues facing the ad-supported mobile web. “Nielsen you go left and take unduplicated audience tracking… DoubleClick, you go long and take third party ad network integration… and AdMob, take the right post and hit mobile site analytics.”

Nielsen, wasting precious little time integrating Telephia’s mobile web tracking suite into their existing wireline web tracking tools, released their “TotalWeb” analytics product last week. The new Nielsen product boasts the ability to track unduplicated audience across over 200 major PC and mobile web sites, a first-of-its-kind achievement and a highly significant milestone in the evolution of the mobile web as a marketing channel. Could this put Nielsen out in front of comScore in digital?

To show off their new product, Nielsen announced some fairly interesting “% [reach] lift” stats produced by mobile web sites complementing PC sites – in various content categories. While on the average, PC sites increased their reach by an impressive 13% via the mobile web, results differed widely by content category. Weather and Entertainment (both seeing 22% lift) led the field, followed by Games and Music (15% lift each), Email (11%), Sports (10%), Business Finance (4%), Social Networking (3%), Search (2%), and Shopping / Auctions (1%).

A few things about these findings immediately jump out to me:

  1. Some of the categories assumed to be the most significant either to the mobile context (shopping) or the early-adopting demo graphic (sports, business), appear to be less about reach (when used in tandem with online) – and more about frequency and/or sales channel development.
  2. Surprisingly, the Weather category (a mainstay of the mobile web and tops among individual site traffic stats) is tied with Entertainment (historically a relatively weak performer in mobile web stats) in terms of “% lift” (when combined with online). I’ve no decent explanation for this apparent outlier, but unsubstantiated several theories come to mind.

Next up is DoubleClick, who announced their mobile publisher-side solution “is integrating with mobile ad networks including AdMob, Google’s AdSenseTM for mobile content, and Millennial Media’s premium MBrand network as well as its DecktradeTM performance network.” Similar to how DoubleClick enables online publishers to segment and doll out their available advertising inventory to a variety of ad networks and third party resellers, the move aims to improve inventory fill rates, a key concern among mobile publishers, by way of a rules-based dashboard. The idea is that mobile publishers will be able to garner the highest CPMs and fill rates possible by optimizing their inventory across a variety of independent sales channels.

No doubt the move is a welcome one and is absolutely needed for the long term viability of the mobile publishing industry, it will be interesting to see if the move actually helps mobile publishers in the short term in light of the existing glut of mobile ad inventory. That said, apparently DoubleClick is not (seemingly) short on publishers interested in their new solution, as (while none have yet signed on to use the platform), they have informed us that no less than five major mobile publishers had inquired about the system before the announcement was 24 hours old.

Finally, we have AdMob, who announced their new mobile website analytics tool set, aptly named “AdMob Analytics.” The move is highly reflective of their (admirable) determination to be “The Google of Mobile,” in that AdMob appears to be using Google Analytics as its model. By design, the tool is aiming to be easy to use, accurate and dependable, and above all else… FREE! Any of you mobile publishers out there who got a notice from Hitbox in the last few weeks can attest to the value of that last one (what is it about Omniture that just rubs people the wrong way? Oh yeah… something about contracts renegotiation by decree).

While only in beta, AdMob Analyitcs is set to provide the mobile web community with something it desperately needs: decent and affordable site stats. Clearly AdMob will benefit from a system where mobile publishers can easily understand how their campaigns are performing (where their traffic is coming from and what its doing once it gets to their site), but so will the rest of the ecosystem.

All in all, a pretty good week for the mobile web.

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