M&M Global gathered a panel of experts to tackle the question of why brands have been slow to embrace mobile, and how this can be changed.
For all the whizzy technology on display, there is a danger that events such as Mobile World Congress can feel overly self-congratulatory. The products may excite the nerds of the world, and large numbers of consumers too, but what is the commercial potential? And how does it impact the world of marketing?
To help navigate brands through this mobile maze, M&M Global gathered a panel of experts to tackle that most pressing of issues – how to make mobile work for marketers.
Editor Alex Brownsell was joined by AOL’s head of international demand development Andrew Moore (AM), iProspect global digital advertising operations director Damon Combrinck (DC), BlisMedia head of international sales Gaetano Faleo (GF) and AppNexus VP strategic development, EMEA, Nigel Gilbert (NG).
Below is just a short selection of the advice offered by our panellists.
M&M Global: Mobile is going from strength to strength as a global industry, but is that mobile centricity reflected in the way that advertisers work?
AM: There is an absolute aspiration. Marketers are understanding that consumers are absolutely reliant on mobile devices, so they understand how they can reach audiences via mobile devices and, more importantly, engage audiences. But whilst we’re seeing that trend, marketers recognise they could be doing more and they could benefit from greater confidence in their ability to take full advantage of the channel.
DC: One of the components that is missing, potentially restricting that adoption, at least to match the growth of consumer adoption, is around the measurement piece. Too often it is something that bubbles to the surface and then is forgotten about. It’s a challenge that the industry is facing; it’s not up to any one particular provider to resolve. From a marketers’ standpoint, they want to spend more on mobile, but how do you gauge how successful that is?
Are there any practical things that brands ought to do to get themselves ready and focused for a mobile marketing world?
GF: It depends. Some clients are very switched on, others are more conservative. Some just see mobile as a risk, because they just see a set banner on a smartphone, whereas actually it’s an entire world of data you can use to profile an audience in a new and smarter way. But it’s changing, it’s happening.
NG: There is a misconception that mobile is a performance channel, and we need to overcome that. Generally speaking, people didn’t know what they were advertising on mobile for. It comes back to consumer behaviour, and how they influence – that is really the goal. Also this notion of attribution, if everything has to come down to a click or a download. TV doesn’t have that problem.
With mobile, the targeting and precision is possible, but the creative performance has not been as strong. How can the industry help make mobile marketing more creative?
AM: Arguably, mobile today is so much more of a relevant channel for marketers, particularly around branding, than it has ever been before. In the early days of mobile, the ad formats were very limited, so – guess what – it was primarily used for DR purposes. But when you look at what is happening from a creative point of view today, it is staggering. For a brand marketer, if their view of mobile is set from five years ago, then they are probably overlooking some quite significant opportunities.
GF: With all the data available on mobile, along with content you can add context, you can add location, and you can add historical behaviour. All this data together is focusing more on people, rather than just an internet user. This revolution is happening right now. You can target a single individual with a different creative message. This is the power of mobile: the brand knows what I am doing, and it is not invasive.
“In a market that moves so quickly, we are only now in a place where we can process those levels of information”
DC: But we have to be careful around data. We need to be smarter in utilising data because to make an assumption is potentially to push somebody too far. That consumer can feel that you have invaded their privacy. How do you know enough about that consumer to show them the right message, rather than making a presumption?
NG: And we’re only just set up to start doing this now. The technology has been there for a while, but in a market that moves so quickly, and the data management capabilities that agencies and marketers have had, we are only now in a place where we can process that information.
Let’s be apocalyptic for a moment – what if the mobile experience to date has been so awful that all consumers are going to install ad blockers? Is that a real danger?
AM: As an industry, it should be telling us that something is wrong. We should be thinking about what we’re doing in terms of ad loads and creative, and how we’re interacting with consumers. Broadly speaking, the industry is waking up and looking at what we can do to make advertising experiences more relevant and less intrusive.
NG: There is a big different between the [desktop and mobile] experiences. A lot of it comes down to the actual mobile experiences that the users have. Users are consumers their content via some sort of gateway, usually something like Facebook or Twitter. Unfortunately there is a huge disparity in the quality you get. If your experience is three out of five links clicked offer a very poor experience, you’re going to stop blocking ads. This isn’t baked yet; I don’t consider it to be apocalyptic. It just has to find its natural parity.
DC: In some ways it’s a shake-up that we’ve probably needed. My own behaviours on desktop and my attitudes to ads is very different to being on a mobile or even in app. We do need to take it seriously. Is it apocalyptic? I’d say we’re not there.