What’s in place to measure advertising within mobile augmented reality applications?

When it comes to print advertising, audit circulation bureaus provide the best verification of frequency and reach for broadcasting ads to a targeted audience. TV has Nielsen ratings and other vendors approved by large advertisers to measure frequency and reach. On-line digital advertising vendors provide data about ads rather than published content. Thus they have the ability to measure ad engagement, not just published content engagement like a TV show or a magazine.


Mobile, however, is not easily measureable. AdMob and similar vendors can only provide insight about their clients – aggregated as a measureable universe. Yet, that universe is small.  And, there is not an audit bureau to verify pronouncements. So, what is in place to measure to advertising within mobile augmented reality applications?

At present, focus groups are the most reliable. Why?  Because ads inserted into AR apps or location-based mobile AR apps are managed through a content management system built by the app developer for the client to manage or the app developer to manage. Mobile advertising network vendors don’t have access. Location-based apps can have WAP ad space, but that space is available at the border, not inside the app – floating – within view.

Ideally, the best method for now, to measure the impact of advertising within augmented reality applications is through focus groups.  Gather 100 people into a sectioned area of a park, provide smart phones that have a GPS, a compass, and an accelerometer. Now ask the group to download local search apps, games, etc… over a 15 minute time period. Then follow usual focus group protocol.  Remember for this to work, a lab setting is not appropriate; people don’t live in labs.

Focus groups have been left to the way-side during the last decade of on-line digital advertising.  Clicks have replaced interviews and opinion and the result is that the advertising industry has lost precision.  Focus groups are wonderful instruments of measurement that provide valuable strategic insight.  Below are some resources to inspire your thinking around focus groups and methodology.

The International Society for Technology Education provides focus group services

The Dachis Group of Austin offers a hybrid of the traditional focus group that leverages social media interactions.

Baccus Research offers a variety of research services