We’ve all heard the old saying before, but whilst Rome wasn’t built in a day perhaps that is because the Romans didn’t have the added pressure of an expectant CMO and a sophisticated audience to delight. Last week, we did our best to prove the adage wrong when we built three rich media mobile ad units in a single day, all as part of The Drum Live.
As great as it was to be a part of The Drum’s annual celebration of getting things done, we also take great care in ensuring that the rich media creatives we build are grounded in data. In mobile, where the data is richer than other channels, marketers must make time to understand the numbers if they are to find actionable and worthwhile insights from that data.
To that effect, each quarter we release a retrospective look at the key trends in mobile advertising, pulling actual campaign data from the Millennial Media platform. We call this the Scorecard for Mobile Advertising Reach and Targeting – or S.M.A.R.T. for short.
Having just released our most recent S.M.A.R.T. report for Q1 this year, there’s a number of insights I want to share with you all ahead of The Drum Live on Wednesday.
Vertical explosions in mobile ad spend
There is no denying, mobile spend is on the up. Just last week, eMarketer announced its latest figures which estimated mobile ad spend in the UK would reach £2bn by the end of 2014 and will surpass TV ad spend by 2016. The Q1 S.M.A.R.T. shows where that money is currently being spent and where it’s growing fastest.
Entertainment was the top overall vertical, in terms of global ad spend, but Pharmaceuticals had the most year-over-year growth as it grew by an incredible 491 percent. Last year, Pharmaceuticals was not even in the top 10; this year it ranks at number seven.
Specifically in Europe, the three industries where mobile ad spend are growing the most are Travel at a staggering 429 percent, closely followed by News and Finance at 169 and 167 percent respectively (see chart in image).
Advertisers campaign goals
What’s driving this increase in spend? Well, one thing we are seeing is that mobile advertisers are making greater use of video. Almost a quarter (23%) of campaigns on our platform included a Watch Video action, up from 17% last year.
However, the companies leveraging video aren’t just the usual suspects like movie and gaming trailers. Energy & Power advertisers are making frequent use of video to drive consumers to their mobile sites, and to emphasise positive brand awareness.
In Europe, Site/Mobile Traffic was the goal of 34 percent of mobile campaigns on our platform in Q1 (see chart below). Site/Mobile Traffic campaigns can have many purposes. For Restaurant advertisers, these campaigns were driven by “learn more” language offering consumers a view into new menus or updated interiors.
At a combined 38 percent, Sustained In-Market Presence and Brand Awareness & Engagement are indicative of a changing mind-set by advertisers when it comes to mobile. Such data from our platform is demonstrating that mobile has elevated itself from a “why?” to a “how?” when it comes to marketers’ communications strategies.
Rich media and video improving ad effectiveness
Mobile ads have the ability to use interactive, animated, and native features to create engaging experiences for the user. These include such features as gamification, swipe galleries, voice recognition, video, integrated location, and beautiful animations. Although not all campaigns include these functions, those that do see higher effectiveness metrics from their ads.
Data from Millennial Media’s platform in 2013 showed that the average increase in CTR of rich media and video ads was 255 percent higher than standard image banners, across all verticals. This is a trend that has continued into 2014 according to our Q1 S.M.A.R.T. report.
When you see the impact that rich media and video is having on the effectiveness of advertisers’ mobile campaigns, it’s easy to understand why mobile ad spend is increasing. As more advertisers discard the previously perceived challenges inherent of smaller screens, and instead focus on the opportunity provided by the functionality of smartphones and tablets, this is only set to continue.
New ways to engage
Mobile continues to change how brands engage consumers, as technology becomes ever more vital for determining and delivering communications. To ensure marketing is effective and is doing its job, we need to be able to properly understand and harness the mobile technology at our disposal. If done right mobile technology can help to push the boundaries of advertising and marketing to reach and engage with consumers like no other channel.
VP Marketing, EMEA
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