The Trouble with Metrics: A glossary

Key in the debate surrounding in-app advertising for Newspaper and Magazine titles are the Issues surrounding Metrics. Clearly the industry would benefit from a universal standard metric for measuring the effectiveness of this form of advertising.

In a digital industry with already established metrics for display advertising a few disparities have been created between used terms and I suggest a focus on ‘sandard’ metrics such as CTR needs to be shifted to engagements. We thought a glossary would help inform the debate.

Stats Panda; The Feeling one gets when running reports based on incorrect analytics

Native App Analytics
Each app created by publishers will no-doubt have their own in-built analytics. This will record Active Users, Page Views, Dwell times, CTR. However internal interactions (i.e. those actually happening on the page itself), will not in general be measured. This includes: navigation through a gallery, accessing hotspots or rotating a 360º product view. Nor will this track a users progress through multiple ‘panes’ of content e.g. the pages within the creative which might contain the Gallery, Video, Hotspots.

Embedded HTML AnalyticsThis includes any tracking which is embedded in the supplied creative, often incorporating Clients 3rd party tracking (commonly DART/Omniture etc). These are capable of measuring page views, events, clickthroughs.

Active Users
Supplied via publishers own preferred Native Analytics provider this definition will vary from publisher to publisher. Often a measure of how many people downloaded or viewed an individual issue.

Page views
Measure of how many users have viewed any individual page within the app – sometimes calculated (controversially!) by dividing the number of active users with pages in an issue rather than using Native Analytics.

Page impressions
Measure of how many users have viewed any individual page within the app as recorded by either Native Analytics provider or Embedded HTML analytics from individual creative.

Dwell Time
How long a user spent on an individual page. The issue here is how it is calculated – to know when an individual page ’session’ ends – the analytics package has to know when a user has exited the page. As there are multiple ways of ending a session this can be tricky – rather than just moving to the next page, the user might close the app, swap to a different app, turn off the device or the app might even crash. Usually measured by the Native Analytics provider this is even harder to measure with Embedded HTML analytics. Generally the end time of a session cannot be calculated without having the same tracking on all pages.

Widely in the industry this is treated as summation of all possible interactions – clickthroughs, videos, galleries etc

Any  singular interaction with an ad whether video, gallery or hotspot – often associated with implementation of custom tracking such as 360º product view manipulation or progress through a long animation.


Differs between publications as could refer to collective or unique periods of time spent by users interacting with apps.

Video Views
Number of plays of video – sometimes broken into % of video played.

Click Through Rates: Display advertising term to measure people clicking through to a destination URL.

Offline tracking
The practice of storing analytics data in cookies or HTML5 local databases to be sent back to analytics provider once network connection is re-established.

As you can see from the myriad of possible metrics to choose from a common language in this field needs to be developed as part of ongoing promotion for in app advertising to continue the education of agencies, publishers and clients alike.

Agency reaction to the question ‘what should we track?’

The best initiative would be to move toward a standard approach to measuring engagement, possibly as a result of comparable relative engagements by measuring individual events per ad view.

Initiatives such as Newsworks ’Tablet Project’ are already making in-roads and we look forward to feeding into the debate and digesting their resulting reports.

Watch this space and/or sign up to our LinkedIn group for more information on the evolution of this topic.

Join the debate on the LinkedIn: AdThink Group

by Matt White, Creative Director, Adnostic,

Follow me: @formvsfunction