Stop blaming technology and invest time in your creatives and planning, say panellists at mobile advertising debate

Mobile advertising panel event at The Drum Arms

Everyone knows consumers are on mobile but advertisers are not investing. Earlier this month, WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell blamed inadequate technology for preventing advertisers from spending on mobile.

But speaking at The Drum's panel event with AdColony at The Drum Arms pub this week, representatives from Twitter, Google, Shell, and Dentsu Aegis partially disagreed with Sorrell, saying more attention needs to be given to the creative knowledge-gap and lack of planning that currently exists in the industry.

“I think part of the problem is that the technology has changed so fast. It’s also not perfect and it’s very hard for creatives to get up to speed with that,” said Emily Henderson, head of digital at Google Media Lab EMEA. “Everyone is building all these platforms but getting this information back to creatives is very difficult.”

Twitter’s VP of Europe, Bruce Daisley agreed with Henderson but noted that despite there being some “brilliant creativity going on” – he is still seeing 60 second TV ads being shoved on to mobile – something he actively avoids at Twitter.

“If someone pitches you a 60 second ad, they might be supporting part of the campaign that backs it up but [we’ve often found that] the 60 seconds isn’t playing a supporting role but is rather the lead,” he said.

“We want an idea that works in five seconds. I think the lead creatives in the ad world don’t use mobile enough or don’t see the joy of mobile enough to do that,” he added.

For AdColony’s VP, Jon Hook, the technical differences and the way consumers behave on mobile web and in-app inventory are very different - a point that often gets missed. The way that a consumer behaves on a messaging app is completely different to how they might act on a gaming app, for instance.

“For some reason, in mobile we bypass all of that and it gets lumped into a mobile bucket. We serve the ad and then mobile gets the blame,” he explained. “I think there needs to be education around how to understand these hard to reach consumers who are in-app to understand what they really want.”

So how can creatives be brought into the conversation earlier? For Bradley Hill, group account director of digital at Dentsu Aegis Network, to fully appreciate all the different complex ecosystems that exist in mobile, creatives and agencies need to invest their time in understanding the medium.

“We shouldn’t keep pointing the finger at technology and expecting that to simplify the world for us. As an advertiser, [I should be saying] I’m going to make mobile my priority and at least 50% of my staff will invest 50% of their time realising this medium,” he pointed out.

“If you understand mobile in its fully complex form, then most of the other mediums will become easier to understand. If you start with mobile first, then it will make building multi-channel campaigns that much easier,” he added.

To coincide with Advertising Week Europe, The Drum Arms pub will be a hosting several panel discussions, activities and debates on everything from personalisation to gender and publishing. Register for the events here.

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