Mobile metrics reports from ad networks: how they stack up

Arguably mobile ad networks know as much about much about mobile advertising, the behavior of mobile consumers and the popularity of mobile Websites as anyone. There was a time when ad networks’ mobile metrics reports only provided a small proportion of this valuable data, but that’s changing fast. Now more ad networks are on the case, competition is leading to much more useful reports (particularly among the more recent entrants).

This is mobiThinking’s thoughts on six reports; we’ll add more as they’re made known to us. The content and quality varies greatly, showing the value in shopping around and reading more than one report. These reports can only get better and better – in a world where advertisers know so little about ad networks, metrics reports are an excellent way to showcase your know-how.

P.S. (18-01-10) Thanks to Volker on Mobile for including this post in the latest Carnival of the Mobilists, a weekly roundup of the very best in mobile and wireless blogs. Volker describes our guide as “A fantastic resource!”… mobiThinking is honored and flattered.

AdMob Mobile Metrics Report (monthly)
This is the granddaddy of reports. It was one of the first, if not first, produced by an ad network. It has always provided a useful insight into AdMob’s geographical coverage (today: half US, half elsewhere). The handset data (which is broken down by country) is also useful when taken in context. Unfortunately journalists often misinterpret ad requests by type of handset as being indicative of market popularity of a handset (Apple’s iPhone has benefited particularly from this mistake).
Glancing back at AdMob’s report in January 2008, the only noticeable addition today is that a breakdown between access over mobile network vs. WiFi (24 percent) in the US (though there is no traffic split between operators). The latest report is here.

U.S. Scorecard for Mobile Advertising Reach and Targeting (S.M.A.R.T.) (monthly)
Millennial Media’s November 2009 SMART covers requests by handset and breakdown by operator. There is no geographical breakdown as most of Millennial’s business is in the US. Share of impressions is also broken down by WiFi (26 percent) and different carriers (led by Verizon at 19 percent); type of device (led by touch screen at 47 percent); feature phone (60 percent) and smartphone (40 percent).
Then there are lots of fascinating insights and useful charts for marketers. Topical data includes the positive impact on verticals – food, movies, restaurants and dating – over the US Thanksgiving holiday.
Millennial tracks where people are clicking through to: mobile site (38 percent), custom mobile landing page (29 percent), application download (27 percent); and what they are there for: subscribe/purchase (35 percent), application download (27 percent), retail promotion (19 percent). Millennial breaks down types of advertising between run of network (blind) advertising (39 percent) and different types of targeting (e.g. by demographic) and cost per engaged user for each method.
There is some confusing jargon, but otherwise this report available for download here is useful and engaging and a great advertisement for Millennial’s services.

Quarterly Mobile R.O.I. Report: Results and Objectives Index for Marketers
The Q2 2009 report from US-based Quattro Wireless lists handsets by ad request, but notably puts them in context by contrasting M:Metrics’ top 10 most-popular handsets (quite different results).
Interestingly, Quattro charts click-through rates (CTR) for different types of device (considerably more useful than impressions), with Apple top, then gaming devices, then Palm, Android and BlackBerry. Note that Smaato, below, does similar comparison with very different results.
The report shows which categories of advertiser pay the most for advertising and get the best CTR for both brand advertising (priced in cost per thousand impressions (CPM)), and direct response (priced in cost per Click (CPC)) advertising. Paying the most for CPM are: consumer packaged goods (CPG), autos and finance. Best CTR for brand campaigns are: CPG, communities, finance, dating, food and autos. Best CTR for direct response are: entertainment, gaming, mobile, electronics. The report ends with an in-depth look at why mobile is a great medium for entertainment advertisers.
mobiThinking would prefer some more precise figures/percentages than bar charts, but otherwise this report is very informative for both advertisers and publishers.
The report is available from the mobile I.Q. section, which also offers a report on State of the Industry: APPs and the opportunity to sign up for a Monthly Mobile Industry Update (but which wasn’t available for download).

BuzzCity Global Mobile Advertising Index
In its Q3 2009 report, Singapore based BuzzCity lists its top 24 countries (Indonesia, India, US, South Africa, Kenya), giving data for inventory sold (does this equate to ads served?) and percentage increase/decrease. There is some analysis and a very clear statement at the top about what this data represents to prevent any misinterpretation.
That desire for more data is allayed to some extent by the availability of other reports: The Top Brands: What Mobile Users Expect is an interesting report though is drawn from survey data, as opposed to data from the BuzzCity network itself. Download the reports here.

InMobi Network Summary (quarterly)
Indian-based InMobi gives a succinct snapshot of its network growth (though no actual impression data), top five countries: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and UK and ad requests by handset (Nokia is 48 percent).
With its focus on Asia, mobiThinking would be interested to know what else InMobi can share about Asian advertisers, consumers and publishers. The report is here.

Smaato Metrics – January 2010
Strictly speaking Smaato isn’t a mobile ad network, but it works closely with a lot of them, so this new (January 2010) report is relevant and welcome.
Rather than analyzing handsets by mobile ad requests, Smaato provides the market shares of smartphones (note not all mobile handsets), using actual sales data from real research analysts Canalys: Symbian (i.e. Nokia) leads (46 percent), then BlackBerry (20.6 percent), then Apple (17.8 percent). It then analyses CTR by operating system: Symbian has a substantial lead, then Apple, Windows Mobile, then feature phones, Android and, surprisingly low, Palm and BlackBerry. Note: compare Quattro’s result above.
Uniquely, the report also covers fill rates – this is defined by Smaato the percentage of delivered ads per ad request. Having been told previously that fill rate is an important consideration when choosing an ad network, mobiThinking was pleased to see this, at first. Unfortunately the data is incomplete: with the chart for worldwide fill rates the only identified company on the bar chart is Smaato. While in the US chart only three are listed: Smaato, which gives itself the gold, Quattro, silver and Millennial with bronze.
So mixed feelings – it starts so well, but in the end you can’t help feeling a little bit cheated. Hopefully the white paper, Global Choices in Mobile Advertising, that accompanies the report makes up for it. Both reports are here.

Please let us know about any other metrics reports from mobile ad networks. Comment below or email editor (at)

On a related note:
Mobile buying and planning agency (probably the largest) RingRing Media has been acquired by Amobee. While RingRing is not a mobile ad network as some members of the media have mistakenly declared, it is noteworthy that this acquisition comes hot on the heals of Apple’s purchase of Quattro and Google’s acquisition of AdMob.
RingRing co-founder Harry Dewhirst was a great help with:

  • The insider’s guide to planning and buying mobile media
  • mobiThinking guide to mobile ad networks (2010)

  • Also see:

  • Carnival of the Mobilists #206: mobiThinking hosts the weekly round-up of the best of mobile blogs
  • Five-minute interview: Jonathan MacDonald, – entrepreneur, consultant, blogger, speaker
  • What’s the best mobile ad network for you? 10 more important questions than size
  • 10 tips: Using location to know and serve your mobile customer better
  • How to create an award-winning mobile campaign
  • Conferences & awards for mobile marketers’ diaries with offers
  • The Starting 11 – the essential mobile-marketing guide for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
  • The Top Ten mobiThinkers 2009 – each profiled in full
  • mobiThinking’s page of essential links
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