Mobile advertising – it's time to invest in quality control

Telefonica's Charlie Hunter-Schyff

Mobile has become a big part of our lives. Where you go, your mobile goes. With it comes the web, and through that – connectivity. In advertising, mobile’s role in consumer life has created an entirely new market. It has the ability to deliver better personalisation, relevancy, engagement and effectiveness across all media channels.

A great example of this in action would be the challenge of targeting a social group like surfers with a particular campaign. Surfers come from all demographics, psychographics and socio-economic backgrounds. Their mobile acts as a footprint to their life, showing their real-time location as well as where they have been before. However, the locations of surfers are similar to other beachgoers, so how can we differentiate between the two? We need to look deeper into surfers' behaviours in order to distinguish them from the other beach goers.

One key insight is that surfers specifically need waves which are created by the weather, particularly off-shore storms. By overlaying ideal surfing weather with mobility data, in theory, sunbathers and other beach goers would be differentiated from an audience cluster group of surfers. This is smart mobile advertising at its best and just one example of the new wave (no pun intended) of possibilities for mobile advertising.

In this era of hyper-connectivity, there are three mobile trends which are impacting the way marketers work. Here is my take on these trends and what they mean for the ad-industry.

1. Always-on

The first trend is that people are ‘always-on’ and their mobiles are forever at an arm’s reach. I was recently at A&E and met a guy who’d sustained an injury playing football. He was in full kit and had clearly come straight from playing. He didn’t have bags, other clothes or even normal shoes. But the one thing he did have? His mobile. For marketers, this means that there are more opportunities than ever before to reach customers, with the typical multiscreen user consuming seven hours of screen media per day. It also means that consumers are being bombarded by content all day, so any campaigns will really have to stand out.

2. Constant content consumption means rethinking the purchase cycle

The second trend is that with their mobiles close at hand, people are constantly consuming content. Whether it’s sourcing answers to questions, streaming live TV, reading articles, or consuming one of the many other sources of content out there, there is an unprecedented demand for content.

Having our mobile with us 24/7 means if we wish to respond to any form of branded communication or brand intervention we will respond at that time, in that place and based on the context received or our mood/emotion. As a result, the traditional purchase cycle is no more. OK, the cycle looks reasonably the same starting with brand awareness, brand desire, product consideration and intent to purchase through to actual purchase. However, what’s changed is the speed at which consumers go from being passive (having no response to advertising) to suddenly becoming an active buyer. This process is greatly accelerated with continued connectivity.

3. Sharing isn't just all about social networks

The third truth about the hyper-connected era, is that it’s all about sharing. For example 80 per cent of UK users access Twitter, and 70 per cent of US users access Facebook, via their mobile. But it’s also about more than just social networks. A good article, joke or other piece of content creates discussion, it can unite people on the train or in the workplace. Mobile is an integral part of every-day communication, and as a result it is also successfully increasing the quality of more traditional advertising. People use their mobiles to share opinions and ideas, and combining this with TV can enhance the viewing experience.

So what’s the problem?

The problem with mobile media advertising is that the true value of mobile is not being considered. It’s estimated that a massive 31 per cent of display adverts are not being seen, (source: ComScore), and average banner-ad click through rate is 0.04 per cent (source: Doubleclick) as-well-as 50 per cent of all clicks being accidental or fraudulent from bots (source: GoldSpot Media).

This affects the value of the mobile advertising currency and as a result advertisers, who prioritise quality over cost, are not investing.

The solution: Invest in quality mobile campaigns

To get the best out of mobile, we need to be prepared to invest in higher quality mobile advertising. We can make this step up from the humble banner-ad in three main areas:

1. Data – We need to use data to really understand the presence of mobile and the role it plays in the advertising campaign – the example of the surfers is the perfect demonstration of intelligent advertising at its best.

2. Native formats – The aim of native advertising is to make ads fit the format (media channel) content & context to feel more personalised and so increasing the likelihood for users to engage with it. The user experience can range from ‘website design, time & location’. Mobile native advertising formats get high response rates. From Telefonica’s own mobile brand advertising we’ve identified up to 559 per cent take up of Priority Moments when offers are promoted via native formats.

3. Measure – Mobile’s proximity means it transcends both the physical world and the online world. That means it’s still a purchase cycle but it’s not the purchase cycle that we used to know. The effectiveness of mobile needs to be measured accordingly taking into account its transcendence of both the physical and online world.

The value of mobile’s proximity to consumers means it has the ability to deliver better personalisation, relevancy, engagement and effectiveness across all media channels. We need to make sure that we don’t miss out on these opportunities. We need to invest in quality mobile advertising.

Charlie Hunter-Schyff is head of planning and insights at Telefonica's digital services. You can find him on Twitter @HunterSchyff

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