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Hey Mobile Advertisers Your Tracking Software is Costing You Money

"I'm losing 50-60% of the clicks I'm buying for my mobile campaigns, what's going on?"

Click and impression discrepancies are a fact of life in the online advertising world, for multiple reasons the numbers just never seem to match up.

However when you start checking your numbers in mobile advertising, you may get frustrated with the fact that you are seeing discrepancies as high as 50-60% and have no idea what's up.

Is your traffic source underserving? Are the CPA networks scrubbing like crazy?

The answer is not that simple, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Mobile internet speeds are not the same as desktop speeds. Any latency will start to negatively affect you. At any point the user could close their mobile browser before your page fully loads, or the request could time out. This means fewer clicks, impressions, and conversions tracked.

    TIPS:Speed is your friend. Use a fast tracking server and software. Make sure your landing page is mobile optimized and as small as possible, reduce image sizes, combine css into one file, limit the number of 3rd party scripts on your page.

  • No standard capabilities on mobile devices and in the mobile browser space. It's bad enough keeping up to date with cross platform browser issues in the desktop world, but in mobile it gets worse. You have to deal with multiple types of WAP browsers and smartphone browsers all of the with varying capabilities and support for javascript, iframes, cookies, storage space etc. What do you think happens to your cookies when a mobile device with limited storage runs out of space? How about if you are using javascript or meta redirects and the mobile device doesn't support js or meta redirects?

    TIPS:If possible segment your mobile traffic and have different pages and tracking methods based on capabilities. Use server side redirects if possible to ensure most of your redirects get completed. If you are using Prosper202 DON'T cloak mobile traffic.

  • Cookies crumble, especially on mobile. For example mobile safari is automatically set to block 3rd party cookies by default. This could cause issues with cookie based conversion tracking. For example our global postback pixel uses cookies to figure which subid converted. Once a network places the image pixel on a conversion page, it becomes a 3rd party pixel and won't fire on mobile safari browsers.

    TIPS:Use the postback url whenever possible, it's a server to server call and doesn't actually rely on cookies.

  • Impression pixels and javascript are being cached, causing your tracking software to not count impressions on your landing pages. Caching is used to prevent loading page elements that haven't changed, and speed up the browsing experience. But when this happens with your tracking pixels, your data ends up being incorrect with numbers lower than they actually are.

    TIPS:Use cache busting techniques to ensure the impression script or pixel is always loaded. This can be as simple as adding a random number to your urls to force a reload.

As you can see, there's a lot that can go wrong to throw off your numbers, but if you are aware of these issues and take proactive steps to correct them, you will have better numbers to work with as well as making sure your ROI from your mobile campaigns are as high as possible.

Tomorrow Tuesday October 11th at noon pst, Prosper202 1.7 launches from private beta. We are focusing heavily on mobile and have built in some of the best practices mentioned above. Anything that didn't make it into this release is quickly being worked into the next update. If you've been frustrated with the current options for mobile tracking, take a new look at Prosper202 1.7. We are bullish on mobile and will be dedicating a lot of engineering resources to proving you with the most powerful mobile advertising tracking platform.