ADOTAS — When I think of mobile, I think of omnipresence, and then I think of opportunity. By 2014, half of the US will use smartphones and nearly half (45%) will use tablets. Rapid smartphone and tablet adoption has significantly altered the ways in which consumers think about, research and interact with brands — consequently, media agencies and advertisers have changed how they foster engagement with customers, shifting from outbound to inbound marketing, from broad to targeted messaging.
Today’s evolving marketplace presents an interesting challenge for mobile marketers: meeting their customers’ varying needs with relevant content in a mobile setting, while delivering value to their organizations’ broader cross-channel campaign objectives. In this article, I’ll discuss three issues that marketers must consider to both drive increased engagement through mobile channels, as well as create and maintain demand across the entire customer purchase lifecycle.
1. Mobile + Social
This year, 97.9 million US consumers will visit social networks from a smartphone, accounting for 70% of smartphone users. Over half of Facebook users access the site from mobile devices. If your paid social strategy is desktop-only, these numbers should scare you. Not only because your customers aren’t seeing your ads, but also because consumers are continually shifting toward mobile devices for content consumption on the go and from home.
Mobile ads on social networks — especially Facebook — outperform their desktop counterparts at a fraction of the price. Facebook’s mobile ads appear directly in the News Feed, where users are already focusing; moreover, users are only shown Sponsored Stories from brands that their friends have liked or otherwise interacted with.
Other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn have rolled out mobile ad products, but Facebook’s dominance in the social advertising space remains complete due to its seemingly infinite user base and the ensuing mass of data that the company can use to target its users. The greatest of these (and a game-changer, for the advertisers that harness it correctly) is location data; when combined in a social and mobile environment, location data can help marketers can create unique and contextually relevant experiences.
2. Ad relevance
Staying relevant is a difficult matter for mobile marketers. You may think that serving an ad for painting class to a Draw Something user makes sense, but what if — like most people— they just like Pictionary? Evolving contextual technologies allow marketers to identify not just what a user is doing, but where they’re doing it, and subsequently, why they might be doing it. Suddenly the Draw Something user becomes a bored husband at the mall, and it makes more sense to serve an ad for the nearby Sports Authority.
Ad targeting is also a struggle for brands attempting to balance relevance and performance with privacy and anonymity. Fortunately, solutions exist that allow advertisers to serve mobile app and browser ads based on audience data without labeling individual identities.
Additionally, emerging technologies are making it easier to target multiple screens at once at a household level. Leveraging offline databases that cover consumer and business neighborhoods, cookieless targeting connects the verified demographics of households with online profiles to create customized, location-cognizant audience segments that share personal profiles, socio-economic interests, purchasing intent or NAICS codes. Such solutions relieve advertisers of the limitations seen in cookie-based campaigns such as inactivity, duplicates within the cookie pool or inaccurate data assignments — all harbingers of irrelevant ad impressions.
3. Cross-channel campaign management
Despite the opportunities available in mobile, the greatest challenge and priority for marketers in this space is demonstrating the incremental value of mobile engagements. Mobile advertising is an embryonic stage of development; this year will see less than 1% of real-time ads served through mobile channels. Further, despite the global adoption of smartphones, tablets accounted for 46% of mobile RTB ads viewed globally.
As advertisers have increased their faith in mobile channels and invested more heavily in programmatic buying, they’ve found that conventional attribution methods don’t cut it; first- and last-click metrics are ancient relics of yester-decade. To win their mobile chops, advertisers will need to identify the cross-channel campaign management vendors that offer attribution modeling, in addition to less-than-common features like social listening or location-based campaigns.
Media agencies and advertisers that centralize their digital media buying operations through a single campaign management system gain a substantial competitive advantage over competitors that are burdened with multiple disparate or unintegrated technologies. Consolidating media buying, management and optimization into a single platform is the first step on the way to gaining a full view of each customer and closing the loop between awareness and loyalty across channels.