How Advertisers Can Combat Mobile Fragmentation

Fragmentation has been a hot-button issue in tech circles for a while. As newer Android and iOS versions are released, they leave behind a trail of users with older operating systems who cannot or do not upgrade for various reasons. The problem of fragmentation is most prevalent with Android because each device manufacturer and/or carrier needs to release an update of the “shell” OS, as well, for changes to take effect.

Recent data show that just 33% of Android users are running on Jelly Bean – the latest version of the OS – while another 36.5% are running on Gingerbread – which was first released in late 2010. Yes, you read that right… three years ago!

But Apple iOS has a very different story to tell. The iOS release process is simpler and typically much more widespread, as users can be seen standing in line to access the latest device. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Apple reports 93% of iPhone customers are using iOS6 – the most recent version of the operating system.

While Google appears to be working on an approach to deal with Android OS fragmentation, other issues causing mobile fragmentation persist such as multiple screen sizes, browsers, video players, etc.

With all this to take into consideration, what can advertisers do to combat these mounting challenges? Two things, actually.

Optimize Landing Pages Across Devices

First, make sure that everyone who visits your landing page has an optimal experience. Mobile developers have to account for additional variety such as size and position, and other complex aspects of mobile landing pages during the building process. To make sure everything is in working order, advertisers and their developers must test, track and report performance metrics of landing pages across multiple device types and operating system versions.

If you see large differences in performance, question whether your landing pages are working properly for everyone visiting. We understand that for some advertisers, the thought of testing across every single device type may seem like a daunting, labor-intensive task. To those concerned, we recommend prioritizing a few major devices first, and test incrementally from there.

How important is a multi-device optimized landing page? While some landing pages may require greater testing and tweaking than others, our internal testing has found a 10% – 30% improvement in campaign conversion for those utilizing a multi-device optimized landing page. As you can see, the payoff of this testing exercise will be worth the effort, as a well-rounded user experience typically translates to greater overall engagement.

Test Ad Rendering Across Devices

Second, understand how your ad network deals with fragmentation-related issues, particularly on Android. There are tools, tactics, technologies and, most importantly, guidance that each can employ in the fight against mobile fragmentation.

If you hear denial of the issue from your ad network, it may be a bad sign about their available capabilities. As part of your partnership, your ad network must ensure the ad creative they’re placing is rendered correctly across multiple devices through rigorous testing, and that ad performance is monitored accordingly so that any fragmentation issues that do occur don’t become a detriment.

These measures are especially important for any enhanced banner creatives that use HTML5 or any mobile-optimized landing pages your ad network may be building for you. If you are running rich media creative, your rich media partner should be testing adequately as well. The below graph demonstrates the variation that can occur in campaign performance across multiple devices.

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Categories: Brand, Mobile

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