Google's head of mobile strategy Jason Spero has long said that mobile advertising has suffered from an "attribution problem;" poor analytics have made it difficult to discern mobile's effectiveness, which in turn has made marketers hesitant to devote more dollars to it.
Now, Mr. Spero is spearheading Google's development of new measurement tools designed to quantify the value of mobile advertising, and hopefully convince marketers that its a worthwhile advertising channel.
"Mobile doesn't have a conversion problem, it has a measurement problem," he said. "This will unlock the potential of mobile. ... This is going to provide hard ROI data in the future versus marketing just shooting in the dark."
Titled "Full Value of Mobile," the suite of tools assesses mobile search ad effectiveness in terms of overall dollar value, and cost per acquisition across five consumer action categories: purchases made via calls, apps, mobile websites or in-store shopping, and how cross-device tracking leads to those conversions.
Each of the five measurement categories is accompanied by a one minute movie depicting someone searching for a product on his or her phone and then making a purchase action respective to that category. Some of the movies tangentially reference one another, a bid to demonstrate the interconnectedness of these strategies when measuring performance.
The goal is not only to tout mobile as a marketing channel but to help reshape the way marketers think about ad effectiveness and conversions. Seemingly simple consumer actions such as downloading a company's app, directing a consumer to your store or having them call your business are valuable steps toward converting potential buyers.
While the suite of tools has the slick aesthetics that we've come to expect from Google's products, Mr. Spero admitted that Full Value of Mobile is still imprecise and not exactly frictionless. Calculating value across the different categories requires users enter data that they must provide themselves.
Eventually, the calculator will be more closely integrated with Google AdWords, Mr. Spero said, and automate part of the process. He also emphasized that the product was still in its infancy and would be refined as more mobile ad data is revealed.
"We're all learning," he said.