In progress Mobile Analytics



The widespread diffusion of mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets is revolutionizing the way marketers reach consumers. Firms can reach the right users, at the right place, at the right time, and in the right context, and leverage on their psychological response to the environment to increase the effectiveness of their advertising actions. In this context, however, users are increasingly accustomed to high volumes of ubiquitous advertising and only pay attention to those messages that are particularly relevant to them, challenging even the most advanced targeting techniques. With this work, I plan to investigate the role of mobile technologies in shaping the contemporary digital advertising landscape and propose new techniques to infer on consumer behavior and implement effective digital targeting strategies.
In this proposal, I present three studies that I plan to conduct as part of my doctoral dissertation. The first study investigates the role of combining multiple display advertising strategies in multi-device campaigns. The second study uses individual trajectory patterns to infer whether a user may respond positively to the advertising of product innovations. Finally, the third study uses geosimilarity networks to investigate the effects of social retargeting in mobile advertising. The proposed studies intend to contribute to the literature by uncovering the role of digital targeting in multi-device campaigns, by investigating how higher level psychological constructs such as a user’s desire for novelty can be derived from mobile data, and, finally, by introducing novel social targeting techniques for mobile advertising. In the following chapters, I present a general overview of the project, an extensive review of the current state of the literature on digital targeting and the three proposed studies.


Big Data, Digital Marketing, Location Analytics, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Analytics, Targeting

Time frame

2016 - 2020


Over the last years, mobile advertising grew fast and is accountable for most of the organic growth in online advertising. In the US only yearly spending reached $3.8 billion in 2012 up from $1.2 billion in 2011. Mobile marketers often report dissatisfaction with the results of mobile marketing efforts. A recent survey by the CMO Council (2012) shows that only 14% of the marketers feel they are successfully using mobile to activate customers. It also reports that nearly half (47%) of the major brands are dissatisfied with the progress of their mobile marketing efforts. This may be the result of a lack of understanding about how mobile advertising works and how this is different from other types of digital marketing: mobile devices come with smaller screens, making it harder to transfer information intensive messages and increase user’s cost of browsing for information. Mobiles are often used at different locations or when on the move, causing advertisements to be served to consumers in noisy and distracting environments. On the other hand it is interesting to see industry-reports often show higher performance in terms of click-through rates for advertisements on mobile devices.

The shift of time spent on the Internet towards mobile devices affects advertising driven business models of online publishing companies. Due to smaller screen sizes on mobile devices, there is less space to display advertisements on such devices and as a result the average number of ads shown to platform users decreases. At the same time dissatisfaction about the results causes advertisers to be reluctant in investing on mobile channels. As a result the income per click for publishers is lower than average on mobile devices.

This project will examine primary issues such as:

  • The effectiveness of advertising creative across devices. To date the number of scientific studies evaluating mobile advertising effectiveness is scarce. This research project will examine the effectiveness of advertising creative in Web and mobile advertisement. Prior work did not distinguish between smartphones and tablets as they are lumped together into a mobile category even though there is a notable difference in terms of screen size and portability. This project will study the differential effects of the effectiveness of different ad creatives across PC, tablet, and smartphone at the creative-level instead of the product-level.  
  • The showroom effect. The “showroom effect” is a phenomenon in which consumers use offline stores to test certain products before purchasing them online/mobile at a lower price. As consumers are increasingly equipped with mobile price comparison applications such as Amazon Price Check, they can make an informed decision on whether to walk out of brick-and-mortar stores with purchases in hand or wait for online ecommerce sites to deliver it while saving a little money. Thus the offline stores can become a testing ground for products and lose their sales. This project examines the effectiveness of digital advertising when consumers can purchase products from either online or offline stores, or both. In particular, it analyzes whether/to what extent online and mobile advertising has a synergistic or cannibalistic effect on sales in the presence of offline stores as compared to in the absence of offline stores.

Supervisory Team

Eric van Heck
Professor of Information Management and Markets
  • Promotor
Ting Li
Endowed Professor of Digital Business
  • Daily Supervisor