Contributed by Rohit Dadwal, Managing Director, Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific Limited

Rohit Dadwal

Asia Pacific mobile impressions on our network surpassed 18 billion monthly impressions, growing 10% from January to April 2011 – InMobi

The number of ads served on our network increased 38% globally over the past three months, to 23.2 billion ad impressions – BuzzCity (Q1 2011)

These are just some of the staggering growth figures that have been announced in key global and regional markets recently. Mobile Internet has come of age in a few short months. What’s interesting is that this growth in penetration is not just driven by smartphones or other sophisticated mobile devices. Even the most basic feature phones have Internet capabilities. What we have now is a different user environment. One where consumers are ready to use the technologies that have been around for a long while and are comfortable with them.

What’s more is that these users see these pocket devices as an extension of themselves, having completely integrated them into their lives. The fact that technologies are evolving and we now have faster network speeds, cheaper and more function-rich devices enabling increasingly engaging content and applications is but a by-product of this change in the consumer environment.

While the merits of the medium are now widely known and its capabilities are now scalable enough to be built into all ad buys, the next critical step towards a mature industry is the commitment to create a transparent and consistent business environment for buying and selling ads. Measurement, metrics and analysis are the key to greater opportunity, innovation and industry participation.

There are some standard methodologies for measuring web ads including what constitutes an impression. The first step is to define ad currencies – what is being measured?

Ad impression: The measure of the delivery of an advertisement from an ad delivery system in response to a user request which may be a result of a user calling for the ad to be delivered.

Streaming video advertising: A valid streaming video ad impression should only be counted only once the video ad begins to appear to the user post-buffering.

Rich media ad impression: Measurement should occur as late in the process as possible. Rich media providers should tag ads so that they are counted only when they are played. Alternative ad designs should be made available for delivery to users with disabled flash functionalities.

Click Measurement: These refer to ads that include clickable content to obtain additional content or to initiate a transaction. There are differing methods used for the counting of clicks. Regardless of method used, these methods should be fully disclosed to users.

Quantify elements for success. Once you have the currencies, define the success elements for mobile, allowing brand marketers to understand what works.

Measure the medium. Once you have all the tools in place, measure mobile’s effectiveness in cross-media marketing communications initiatives.

Ad servers are excellent for tracking and recording the results of online marketing and advertising activities in terms of impressions, clicks, and interaction metrics. These offer the fundamentals of archiving and categorising viewership and response. Aspects of ad servers which are useful in maximising placement and targeting are behavioural targeting, contextual targeting, and creative optimization.

New standards will be adopted and integrated very soon. More guidelines are emerging to support marketers, as seen from MMA’s recently established “Mobile Web Advertising Measurement Guidelines.” Developed in collaboration with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Rating Council (MRC), the guidelines provide the basis to how ad impressions should be quantified on the mobile Web. We hope to keep the momentum going to keep up with this dynamic media.