As often happens with emerging channels, advertising dollars are still way behind when it comes to matching the time spent on smartphones and tablets. One barrier to greater spending is the lack of measurement of both the mobile web and app activity, but online analytics provider Quantcast is trying to tie usage across devices together by adding app measurement to its coverage.
The move comes a little more than a year after Quantcast introduced its mobile web metrics product. The company is also broadening its physical presence with the opening of its European, Middle East and Africa office in Dublin late last month.
“Apps have become an everyday habit for billions of consumers, and publishers and advertisers need better tools to uncover this hidden audience in order to gain a unified view,” said Quantcast CEO Konrad Feldman in a statement. “By directly measuring mobile app consumption, publishers and advertisers can drill down beyond app installations to learn key insights including audience loyalty and usage."
A key difference in measuring mobile is the lack of cookies, at least on iOS devices. Quantcast's approach is to supply publishers with mobile app and web audience reach, which they can use to show engagement levels to advertisers and third parties. Quantcast for Apps also provides breakdowns by unique visitors as well as visits, app installs and details on trends in return visits.
The need to go beyond counting traffic is also necessary, as the demand for "quality visits," not bots or misplaced clicks, is particularly opaque when it comes to mobile. For app developers, who are counting on direct cash to fuel their efforts, Quantcast will try to address the quality usage matter by offering its free platform to compare statistics across mobile applications.
It also allows developers the choice of which app statistics to showcase and which ones to keep private. That could be a problem for advertisers who want a more complete look, but the pressure will fall on developers, not Quantcast, to prove the worth of their user metrics. In terms of dealing with marketers directly, Quantcast is highlighting "return usage metrics," so brands with apps can track audience loyalty and do more to connect with these users.
In terms of the differences with Quantcast's mobile measurements and others, such as comScore's, the former's analytics platform is free to use – though clients have to pay to help create targeted ads and the promise of finding who the client's best audience is across all the major exchanges and then searching out those with similar online profiles.
Secondly, Quantcast uses what it says is direct measurement of a site's users, as opposed to relying on internal publisher traffic numbers or sample panels.
As for the spreading of its global reach, Quantcast's international base will be in Ireland, which Feldman told AdExchanger boasted the same characteristics, in terms of talent and tech startup activity, as San Francisco, its U.S. home base.
"We’ve experienced significant success in the UK market the past two years and now work with a myriad of major advertisers there," Feldman said. "Our Dublin center will support continued growth in the UK as well as in mainland Europe, starting with France and Germany."
At the moment, Quantcast's international ambitions will be concentrated in the EMEA for the time being. Though Feldman said the company is "excited at the opportunities that the Asian market affords," there are no expansion plans slated for that region right now.