Advertisers must get ready for the ‘third wave’ of mobile | M&M Global

Advertisers must get ready for the ‘third wave’ of mobile

Advertisers without the basic structures in place to manage existing mobile marketing channels are likely to find themselves cast adrift by the oncoming “third wave” of mobile, according to a panel of experts.

Snapchat's Jon Williams (left) and Mindshare's Norm Johnston
Snapchat’s Jon Williams (left) and Mindshare’s Norm Johnston

Unilever’s vice president global media, Europe and Americas, Sarah Mansfield – chair of the judges at the Festival of Media Global Awards 2016 – led a panel at today’s (18 April) Advertising Week Europe featuring Jon Williams, director of FMCG, automotive and financial services at Snapchat, Norm Johnston, global chief strategy and digital officer at Mindshare, and Philip O’Ferrall, senior vice president at Viacom Velocity International.

The debate focused on the opportunities for marketers in today’s mobile world, and how advertisers and publishers should prepare for upcoming trends such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Mindshare’s Johnston divided advertisers into three groups: the perennial early-adopters (“pizza, porn and poker always leads the innovation,” he joked), the “laggards” without even mobile optimised websites, and the “lumpheads” who do not comprehend the importance of the technology.

However, he insisted there is more than one way to approach the mobile challenge, and that the assertion that all advertising and content should conform to a template is incorrect: “I’ve lived through the whole age of ‘TV is dead’, [but] I don’t think the world is that binary. It’s not between 30 second and 10 seconds [for optimum mobile video length].”

For Snapchat’s Williams, though, advertisers and agencies must recognise the benefits of tailoring content to fit the platform on which it is running. “Consumers’ average attention span used to be 12 seconds, and it’s now eight seconds. That’s less than a goldfish. Form needs to match the user intent,” said Williams.

While Johnston declared himself something of a cynic on the current craze for all things AI and chatbots, he does believe the second coming of AR technology proves that technology sometimes needs to refine and mature before mass consumer adoption.

“AR been around for a while, with apps like Blippar,” said Johnston. “I think it’s scale. Everyone is waiting for that tipping point. Sometimes these technologies come out and they suck, then second time around it’s much better. This year it feel real.

“There is a much bigger wave about to hit, with wearables and the Internet of Things, and mobile will be fundamental to that. If you haven’t got the basics in place then watch out, because the third wave is coming.”

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