Mobile metrics are failing publishers and advertisers

According to eMarketer, half the digital ad spending this year will be on mobile, a total of $29 billion.

Advertisers want to know if their messages are reaching the right target groups of people at the right time so that ad dollars are not wasted. Some people are better targets than others for messages about, say, infant car seats, or trips to Mexico, or eye makeup, or Hummers.

It is not a simple matter to measure Internet traffic, whether on the web or on mobile apps. But metrics matter to advertisers, who use them to determine the amount they are willing to pay for having their messages in a digital publication.

Advertisers want to know not only the size of the audience, but its characteristics -- income, location, interests, spending habits, hobbies, and more.

But for technical reasons, it is difficult to track a single user across all the devices they may use at home, at work or on the go -- smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop. Cookies, those bits of information placed on your browser when you visit a web site, are great for tracking people and giving hints about what they are searching for and are interested in, but not when they move into the walled gardens of mobile devices and applications. (The technical reasons are explained in an article by the Internet Advertising Bureau.)
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