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Mobile audience metrics from ABC Interactive, Spreed to benefit publishers

The Audit Bureau of Circulations? recent partnership with Spreed Inc. is yet another indication that audience metrics are helping publishers take mobile advertising to the next level.

The Audit Bureau of Circulations? interactive unit, ABCi, is teaming with Toronto-based Spreed to provide independently audited mobile usage data generated from smart phones, ereaders and mobile browsers. The announcement follows ABCi?s recent review of Spreed?s mobile application platform, confirming it meets the necessary prerequisites as part of the ABCi audit process.

"As the mobile advertising market continues to grow in the U.S. and Canada, we are receiving more interest in verified mobile metrics from our members,? said Kammi Altig, manager of communications at ACBi, Arlington Heights, IL.

?Our new relationship with Spreed and our ongoing relationships with Verve Wireless and Handmark ensure that these platforms meet the requirements for independent third-party verification from ABCi,? she said.

?Mobile publishers that use any of the three vendors can confidently and seamlessly report the data to advertisers using our new m.Audit Report or one of our other multimedia reporting options."

ABC is a forum of North America's leading magazine and newspaper publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies.

The organization provides credible, verified information essential to the media buying and selling process.

ABC maintains an online database of audited circulation information and a growing array of readership, audience and Web site usage data.

ABC?s digital arm, ABC Interactive, is an independent auditor of Web sites and digital ad-based technology.

Founded in 2006, Spreed is a mobile publishing technology company that provides tools and services for publishers to deliver, measure and monetize mobile and tablet applications.

Mobile metrics
Clients can use ABCi?s new m.Audit report to detail such metrics as application downloads, mobile audience by device type or operating system and mobile audience by day and day-part, as well as audience access points?application, mobile browser, eReader, smartphone or tablet.

In addition, publishers can use m.Audit to track unique visitors by device, page views by section and content shares via email or Twitter.

The bottom line is that whenever publishers can get access to more metrics proving the effectiveness of mobile advertising, that benefits them, as well as the industry as a whole.

?Anything that provides insights into an audience will benefit publishers in the short and long term,? said Joy Liuzzo, senior director at InsightExpress, New York. ?Yes, audience metrics on page views and downloads are important, but more critically, these types of data points will also allow publishers to refine their offering.

?Think dynamic content shifting based on profiles of devices and day-parts or word of mouth metrics on specific topics,? she said. ?From a monetization standpoint, these metrics will also allow publishers to designate tiers of content?premium, robust, niche?to sell to advertisers.?

By all accounts, the mobile ad market in both the U.S. and Canada is anticipated to grow dramatically in the next few years, according to ABC.

The company is working with Spreed to provide independent verification of mobile usage to facilitate growth in this important channel.

As more publishers enter the mobile market, it is becoming increasingly important to include mobile usage numbers as part of newspaper circulation and usage statistics.

Spreed is dedicated to working with trusted third-party audit services such as ABC Interactive to ensure that these numbers are verified and reflect publishers? growing reach.

?We agree that the mobile advertising market is poised to grow dramatically in the next couple of years,? said Bob Walczak, CEO of Ringleader Digital, New York. ?In order for the growth to impact the bottom-lines of the various stakes holders, it will be critical and a core requirement to measure the effectiveness of your campaign on the buy side, or inventory performance on the sell-side.

?RLD's Media Stamp technology?launched in 2008?delivers on this demand as well,? he said. ?It will be critical that as the market evolves, we begin to standardize the way buying gets done on mobile, or better yet, how digital buying?including mobile?gets done.

?We at RLD are about ROI and ease of use, without services like these, it is hard to illustrate either.?

Mobile publishing market
According to ABCi?s new 2010 survey of the mobile publishing market, content providers are actively engaged in the mobile space:

Three-fourths of publisher respondents optimize content for viewing on mobile devices.

Eighty-seven percent said the mobile market is receiving more attention at their publication in 2010 than the previous year.

Ninety percent believe more people will rely on mobile devices as primary information sources within the next two years.

Half report using a third-party publishing platform to serve their mobile content.

Twenty-five percent have developed applications for the iPad.

Forty-seven percent report that their publications are available on devices other than the iPad.

Mobile Marketer?s Dan Butcher interviewed ABCi?s Ms. Altig. Here is what she had to say:

What is the key finding of the ABC mobile survey?
The key takeaway from the survey is that newspapers, consumer magazines and business publications are moving forward with their mobile strategies.

Last year?s survey showed that many publishers were just beginning to explore the potential of the mobile market.

This year, the survey findings show that many publishers have launched their first round of mobile initiatives and are tweaking and refining their strategies.

For example, nearly 90 percent said mobile was receiving more attention at their publication this year than last. Last year, 70 percent said mobile was receiving more attention at their publication.

The number of publishers distributing content on mobile devices greatly increased.

Magazines showed a 15 percent increase, business publications showed a 10 percent increase and newspapers showed a 32 percent increase.

Publishers are monetizing their content?43 percent of consumer magazines, 39 percent of business publications and 21 percent of newspapers are charging for their content.

What is the most surprising finding, and why?
One of the surprising findings was the shift in focus from smartphones to ereaders.

In the 2009 survey, 51 percent of survey respondents thought smartphones would become a vital distribution channel for their publication, versus 42 percent who thought the same thing about eReaders.

This year, the results flip flopped?63 percent now think eReaders will become a vital distribution channel versus 59 percent for smartphones.

Clearly the introduction of the Apple iPad and the promise of other tablet devices offer exciting opportunities for publishers.

In a related note, survey respondents listed Apple as the eReader manufacturer most likely to impact the publishing market, followed by Google/Android?making a strong survey debut in second place?and

Even though Apple ranked high, publishers are expressing some concerns with the way Apple shares data and revenue.

Only 11 percent said they were satisfied with the amount of subscriber and analytics data they received from Apple.

Only 19 percent said they were satisfied with Apple?s application business model.

What advice can you give to brand advertisers and publishers based on your findings?
Based on the survey findings, ABC-publisher members are heading in the right direction and treating mobile as an important part of their strategic future and should continue to do so as the market matures.

Sixty-five percent of survey respondents said digital distribution of their publication was important to their strategic future, up from 55 percent last year.

Publishers are also optimistic about their ability to monetize mobile content?37 percent said mobile will affect their revenue in just two years.

Survey respondents also cited various many types of mobile advertising with a bright future, including sponsorship, search, video and banner ads.

Finally, 70 percnet of publishers recognize that advertisers will demand more accountability as mobile spending increases.

To satisfy buyers? needs, 64 percent said they would be willing to have their digital editions audited?up from 57 percent last year?and 65 percent said they would be willing to have their mobile Web site traffic activity audited?up from 56 percent last year.

What is driving the increased focus on mobile among traditional media publishers?
Publishers are looking for new opportunities to reach consumers on multiple platforms.

While 65 percent said digital delivery of their publication was important to their strategic future, 78 percent disagreed that their publication would only be delivered in a digital format in five years.

Publishers are not looking to abandon their print products, but [rather] expand their media footprint to other valuable distribution channels.

And publishers are also looking to monetize their content across all distribution channels?43 percent of all survey respondents said they plan to offer bundled subscriptions where the consumer pays one price to access a brand on multiple platforms.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Marketer