Fresh figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau have shown digital ad spend specifically on tablet rocketed by 400 per cent in 2013, while spend on mobile advertising almost doubled to take the figure just over £1bn. All in all, advertisers spent a record £6.3bn on internet and mobile advertising in 2013, up by 15.2 per cent from £5.45bn in 2012.
The Drum caught up with some industry experts to find out what the surge in mobile means for brands and business.
Greg Grimmer, COO, Fetch
Anyone who attended last week’s Advertising Week Europe would have noticed that mobile video (not just mobile) was one of the most talked about topics of the week. The growth in tablet ownership has no doubt driven the uptake of bespoke videos for iOS and Android devices. Besides, if the Asian fad for Phablets is replicated elsewhere, then expect the trend not to be confined to tablets alone. Audio-visual content, of course, has long been lauded by brand advocates as the most powerful message delivery system. Couple that with the added contextual knowledge gleaned by knowing the viewers’ device will sure help to further growth. Commercial video on omnipresent tablets is not a guarantee that all brands will now flock to mobile, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify why they are not there.
Adrian Nicholls, head of digital UK, Geometry Global
The expansion of mobile devices means that consumers now have the ability to access and engage with brands across a continually increasing number of platforms. This is heralding into the 21st century a truly multi-platform consumer; a person who does not distinguish between devices but rather expects experiences to be one and the same across them all. This provides even more ways to engage with, understand and interact with consumers. Their behaviour, preferences, spending habits, preferred communication methods – all of these things and more are easily understandable through a growing use of digital technologies. Whether they like it or not, brands are now viewed across a multitude of devices, and so it must be front of mind to optimise this for maximum consumer engagement. But this doesn’t just mean making sure one has a mobile-optimised site; it means knowing when and where people use these devices, the length of time they spend on them and preferred activities – to name just a few. This deeper level of understanding will provide a customer brand relationship not previously possible, bringing marketing truly in line with what the general public expects of it.
Iain Matthews, head of planning, Jam
A data planner in our team at Jam confessed this morning that they pinched a physical newspaper article in an attempt to zoom in to the text. What better illustration that tablets have changed human behaviours? From a brand perspective they have taken the attention of TV viewers further from the main screen, making it harder for brands to get the attention of the audience. By contrast they’ve actually increased the total amount of media being consumed which has created more opportunities for brands to communicate with their audiences on a personal level. By implication it’s more important than ever before that brands create experiences and content that people actively want to engage with, rather than seeking to interrupt them with brand messages.
Jon Myers, VP and MD EMEA at Marin Software
With tablet ownership reaching majority at 63 per cent, it’s no surprise that spend on mobile advertising has doubled to £1bn. And with search taking the lion’s share of spend online, all the indications are that more and more consumers are spending time searching on mobile devices. From our own research this year we found, at the current growth rate, mobile devices could account for 50 per cent of all paid search clicks by December 2015. The boost in advertising spend has yet again clearly been effective at drawing a crowd – year on year again we’re seeing significant leaps in the volume of search impressions across all devices. Increasing spend in-line with this trend is important, but as consumers become savvier and more aware online, content will need to be hyper-targeted to turn those impressions into click-throughs and have a real impact on ROI.Bringing audience data together with intent data from search will therefore become a powerful form of marketing over the next year. We’ve already seen the first step towards audience data being combined with biddable media through the success of Facebook Custom Audiences, and Google’s move to Enhanced Campaigns. This is a good start, but when the IAB reveal its report next year I expect the rise in click-throughs to be the headline-grabbing figure as search bids are increasingly modified based on rich customer data over the next 12 months.
Tom Dunn, digital strategy director, Maxus
Mobile is an essential part of the digital media mix. As more and more internet traffic is coming through mobile devices, digital display needs to be more than desktop. However, mobile is much more than that, as it also plays a role as a complementary medium to other channels (particularly out of home and television). It offers new possibilities in terms of targeting and can bring our brands’ media activity closer to point of sale. However, the risk is that some advertisers may be left behind, as they don’t have mobile assets (content, creative, destinations) to take advantage of the explosion in the channel. It will be interesting to see how the industry copes with the tracking issues thrown up by mobile. In particular, around cross-platform measurement (as more people consume the same content on various devices) or attribution (as people skip between devices on the path to purchase).
David Skerrett, managing partner, Nimbletank
The tablet’s most valuable contribution to brands is the birth of sofa-commerce. So many people in the UK now graze through commerce sites to kill time while sat in front of the TV, and making purchases. Social media consumption is higher as a result too. And of course consumers are browsing for holidays or checking their bank balance, putting convenience into the hands of the consumer, which in turn reduces the cost of brands sending information in formats like paper statements or brochures. Finally, advertising on tablets is highly effective as engagement is higher than on a desktop. This means ad targeting can be more sophisticated and innovative new formats are springing up every day. Tablet marketing has the benefits of touch, smart sensors, greater screen estate than mobile, powerful data, targeting opportunities, accountability, consumer emotional investment — meaning brands, agencies and consumers all reap the benefits. Brands have responded with better tablet experience design, touch friendly gestures and targets. But this is only just the beginning. Our heightened emotional investment in our mobile devices— particularly tablets – is raising the bar for brands creating new touch experiences. No doubt, in the next few years the industry will see serious investment in innovative, intuitive, pixel perfect and quick tablet experiences and formats. Start your engines, the race is only just getting started.
Karim H Attia, CEO of nugg.ad and chairman of the IAB's Brand Advertising Committee
The latest IAB figures on tablet ownership confirm that we are quickly moving towards full adoption of a multi-channel environment. This in turn means that brands and the entire digital advertising ecosystem have to cooperate closely, to cater for these new revenue opportunities. However, some media brands already provide more than 50 per cent of their content on tablet and mobile devices, but cannot properly monetise on it. To amend this, the further development of unified branding standards is necessary, which the IAB Europe has just driven by recommending Brand Builders, a suite of six brand ad formats that include the new 16:9 format for PCs and tablets. Another issue is the need of suitable branding infrastructures for the tablet environment. Here, nugg.ad already provides its solutions on both desktops and tablets, which our firsts clients are already profiting from, as they are able to offer the same branding solutions to their advertisers across all channels.
Catherine Cherry, marketing director, UK and Ireland, Sony Mobile
Mobiles and tablets provide an immediate way for consumers to respond to offline advertisements and this opens up great opportunities for brands to increase engagement and accelerate the path to purchase. For example, the number of searches for a brand often peaks during a TV ad for that brand and this is a key moment to engage with a ‘warm’ consumer. Multi-tasking while watching TV has become second-nature for most people and the figures released by the IAB show how important it is that brands have content that is designed for tablets as well as mobile phones.
Chris Rushe, client director at Summit
The IAB research confirms what our retail clients have seen and largely been taking advantage of for the past 18 months. Tablet users have different habits; they’re often dual screening in front of the TV, commuting or in a busy noisy café. Brands, retailers and advertisers face a new challenge that’s much bigger than just adapting existing content to fit new screen sizes. They need to consider how they can respond to the users change in context and create tablet-first browsing experiences that can engage and quickly guide users to their end-goal amid a new host of distractions.There is a real opportunity for clever retailers and brands to drive online revenues and boost conversion by dropping their PC-first sites in favour of new, engaging tablet-first sites. To the victors go the spoils of increased engagement and customer loyalty.