That’s the theory behind a self-serve tool from Medialets, dubbed Servo Total Attribution, released Wednesday. The tool is designed to help media buyers, agencies and exchanges measure mobile ad ROI in real time by tying mobile conversions to impressions served across apps and mobile browsers.
The solution is an addition to Servo, Medialets’ buy-side mobile ad server launched in February, which had basic attribution functionality only as a managed service. Total Attribution is an effort to broaden the tool and make it, in the words of company CEO and co-founder Eric Litman, “a self-service workflow for configuring and understanding how attribution works in mobile.”
“When a media seller is buying or serving media on behalf of clients, whether that be publishers, exchanges or DSPs, they have the ability to receive real-time feedback, known in mobile as postbacks, from Servo when a particular user converts as the result of engaging in that seller’s inventory,” Litman said. “It then allows them to optimize their campaign in real time by finding more people they believe look or behave like the user that just converted.”
While Alec Baldwin’s character in “Glengarry Glen Ross” told his salespeople to “always be closing,” in the world of mobile media buying, the phrase can be tweaked: “Always be testing,” Litman said. While Servo acts as both an ad server and now an attribution engine, it’s up to the DSP or exchange to do the rest.
“Smart media sellers tend to put people in buckets, then they run a bunch of tests or run live campaigns with the intent of testing media,” Litman said. “This platform can send real-time postback information with impression-level conversion data to a DSP which could use it to say, ‘This group of people is converting better than others, so let’s optimize ad and media distribution to people who look like that until the group is saturated. Then let’s move on.’”
The ability to attribute equals the ability to optimize. It’s an equation Litman hopes will lead to an overall increase in mobile ad spend.
“The No. 1 concern we hear from marketers when they’re trying to come to a decision on the point of whether to spend on mobile and how much is a lack of understanding of what mobile does for their brands,” he said. “But the better data they have, the better they can understand how mobile moves, which makes them more likely to spend in mobile channels.”
According to Litman, all Medialets clients use both Servo and its Total Attribution functionality, including Publicis, Starcom Mediavest, OMD, Horizon, IPG, Merkle, Optimedia and Razorfish. Medialets also recently inked mobile media partnership deals with Mediacom and London-based mobile marketing agency Somo.
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