Zac Pinkham, Managing Director EMEA at Millennial Media, outlines four key areas of opportunity for mobile marketers
For most, our lives are increasingly mobile. In the last 10 years we have been part of a phenomenal evolution that’s changed the way we engage not just with each other, but also with our surroundings. Mobile is now a critical component of our lives, and it’s continuing to get stronger as device penetration and data usage are on the up.
Smartphone penetration in the UK is set to hit 75 per cent of the population in 2014, whilst tablets will hit 50 per cent. The GSMA has reported that global subscriber numbers are growing four times faster than the population. It’s not just this phenomenal growth that is exciting. It is the attention that mobile demands from consumers.
Smartphone owners check their devices as much as 150 times a day according to some recent reports, whilst tablets have become ‘lean-back’ devices that consumers will engage with for substantial periods of time.
As mobile becomes more prevalent, consumer behaviour changes with it. This is creating new challenges, as consumers move between screens, places and moments in the blink of an eye. Being able to track a consumer’s journey as they move between these moments, and establishing how best brands can engage with them as they move, is now of the utmost importance for marketers.
Move with mobile
What enables us to bring these moments together? Mobile. And it’s giving marketers access to a wealth of new data every single day.
Data without insights however, is useless. So let’s start by thinking about the person using the device. What can we learn about them? Mobile is the most inherently personal device out there, and each one is different.
With more connected devices and signals, we’re now able to map this data back to consumers and build profiles that uniquely identify them across their devices while they’re on the move.
Thanks to more sophisticated technology, advertisers can harness these data profiles to run personalised, targeted campaigns that are highly relevant and can carry sequential messaging across screens.
The experiences that mobile enables is allowing brands to engage with consumers in ways, and at a scale, unlike anything before. Specifically, we see four key areas of opportunity for digital marketers when it comes to mobile: pinpointed audiences, breakthrough creative, premium programmatic, and real-world measurement.
Pinpointed audiences and ‘the era of you’
What’s relevant to a consumer changes throughout the month, the day, even the minute. With mobile, marketers are able to determine when they reach their consumers, increasing relevancy to their target audiences at the moments that matter most.
New technologies will help brands to reach defined audiences in specific places by leveraging data such as real-time location, cross-screen as they move from device to device, and demographic profiles – including age, gender, household income, language, education and more.
In return for letting brands into their personal space consumers want to receive content and messages from brands that are relevant to them at any specific point in time. Brands switched on to this will be able to gain competitive advantage by responding to every shift in data, continually refreshing and identifying audience segments when individual interests, activities and needs change.
Breakthrough creative with the ultimate blank canvas
There are still some marketers who say that the mobile screen doesn’t present the same opportunities as TV and online when it comes to engaging consumers, focusing on its size over its functionality. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Mobile ties together so many different native functionalities of the device – from voice to touch, accelerometers to vibration, connectivity to location and everything in between. These native functionalities mean that the stories you tell through mobile should be about more than a placement.
As consumers move with mobile, think of the content being consumed between moments. The stories you create, the content being consumed – try to think about how you can take advantage of the native characteristics of the device.
Premium programmatic will impact buyers and sellers
One of the buzzwords of the last year, programmatic buying looks set to increase by over a third (38 per cent) in 2014 to $4.66 billion according to eMarketer, who upped their revision for the second time in only three months at the end of 2013. The way things are progressing however, this could still turn out to be a fairly conservative estimate. At first, programmatic digital buying emerged to let publishers unload unwanted inventory, and to help buyers easily capture low-cost reach. The technology used to make the automation of buying and selling remnant inventory was highly successful. But as mobile technology has evolved, we are now at a juncture where automation can support the more advanced needs of the buyers and sellers in premium advertising inventory.
One of the benefits of programmatic buying is the flexibility it offers, with lots of data at marketers’ fingertips helping them to quickly view performance and easily move budget to maximise interactions and conversions. This flexibility will lead to significant advances in 2014 for media buyers and sellers alike as marketers embrace programmatic mobile buying to target consumers more precisely by leveraging multiple pieces of data.
Making real-world measurement possible
Measurement is one of the most important issues in mobile advertising today. Mobile has moved from an ‘experimental’ to a ‘strategic’ phase, in the last year especially, and brands need to feel confident that their investment is having an impact.
Hot topics like targeting, real-time bidding and video are already helping to demonstrate the effectiveness of mobile for marketers. However, the next step for marketers will see measurement move into the physical world.
Because mobile is always with the consumer, advertisers will find new ways to track conversions beyond the mobile device itself, such as foot traffic to a specified point of purchase, number of transactions per purchaser and high funnel activities such as awareness, intent, consideration and recall.
Redefining what advertising can be
Mobile has become the most compelling channel for understanding your consumer, reaching the right audience at the right time, and then engaging them with absorbing content. As the most compelling channel, it has, for many, become the first screen for engaging consumers.
We are moving towards a truly mobile society, and marketers are being challenged to connect with consumers in ways that reflect that society. For organisations yet to embrace mobile, the time to capitalise on this technology and truly benefit your customers is now.