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Coca-Cola, Microsoft, ABC and AOL lament over mobile measurement

LOS ANGELES ? A roundtable of executives from Coca-Cola, Microsoft, ABC and AOL at the Mobile Marketing Forum discussed the importance of a centralized dashboard for mobile measurement to be able to tie campaign performance to ROI.

Measured data can be used to optimize future campaigns and increase ROI. The panel was moderated by Mike Ricci, vice president of Webtrends, Portland, OR.

?Mobile measurement is very important,? said Barbara Williams, mobile marketing global practice lead at Microsoft, Redmond, WA. ?It can get very complex since we are global. 

?How we measure depends greatly on the audience we are targeting,? she said. ?But the biggest challenge for me is to convince people to spend on mobile when there are more traditional channels out there that work and are measureable. 

?For us it is taking a step back and understanding what we are going to measure and looking at it according to the purchase funnel.?

Brian Murphy, director of mobile strategy at AOL, New York, said that his company is transitioning to a more ad-supported mobile model. 

AOL is trying to tell a story about its brands and is doing so via mobile.

Harnessing the data from its efforts helps the company to prioritize certain mobile sub-channels over others. 

?AOL is many different brands that stand aside one another,? Mr. Murphy said. ?For a communications product like AIM, the way we talk about success for that product is different than how we would measure success for our tablet products.?

John English, director of business development at Disney/ABC Television Group, Burbank, CA, said that over the past year the scale and penetration of the mobile platform has become immense. 

ABC uses mobile measurement to directly inform the mobile products it creates and the platforms it uses. 

?For example, SMS and is a key strategic marketing approach for ABC Family,? Mr. English said. ?The campaign we run for Pretty Little Liars has helped us build a six-figure database of subscribers. 

?We are using Mogreet,? he said.  

ABC?s Mr. English talked about the impotance of segmenting the list for driving tune-in based on geography. Marketers can tailor messages based on data. 

Via a real-time analytics platform, ABC is able to watch trending topics and tweek the programming approach or augment the content on a site. This will help keep traffic levels as high as possible. 

?Analytics are more and more are important for optimization,? Mr. English said. 

Eli Wendkos, digital marketing programming manager at Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, revealed that Coca-Cola?s approach to mobile is 70-20-10, meaning 70 percent of the budget goes to SMS and mobile Web, 20 percent goes to apps and the remaining 10 percent goes to new innovations such as mobile wallet, and 2D bar codes. 

Coca-Cola is currently in the midst of building a unified dashboard to help understand the results it is getting from mobile programs so that is can tweak future efforts to improve performance. 

Microsoft?s Ms. Williams said her company has a challenge when it comes to defining engagement. Engagement differs with each program Microsoft runs.
?It all depends on the goals of the campaign,? Ms. Williams said. ?There is no clear answer. 

?To me it still goes back to that purchase funnel,? she said. ?If my objective is to get people lower down in the funnel or trying to get a database and get leads, then the type of engagement provided will change. 

?We are still trying to standardize what success means. Eventually we need to be at a point where we can go to one place to look at all these results and be able to tie the results to ROI.?

ABC?s Mr. English agreed with Ms. Williams and said that such a dashboard would help shape prioritization of mobile spend. 

Research tells ABC that the second screen experience is becoming very important, especially for complementing the TV watching experience. 

ABC has surveyed consumers and found that people who are fans of Grey?s Anatomy do not appreciate getting push messages while watching the show. But a lot of them are interested in tools to be able to tap into the social graph. 

Coca-Cola?s Mr. Wendkos said that many brands define engagement as success in the app world. 

?We do hear that from a lot of agencies and brands,? Mr. Wendkos said. ?We want to revolutionize our business, so let's have an app. 

?The reality is people need a reason to engage with the app,? he said. ?What is important is to understand when an app makes sense and when it does not. Sometimes another mobile channel makes more sense. 

?Many of the lead ad agencies don?t get mobile, and that?s why they just go for the app.?