Sony Mobile: ‘It’s hard to ignore programmatic. It can add a new level of mobile personalisation’

Sony Mobile has signalled a growing interest in the programmatic space and how it can lift the performance of advertising across the channel by powering personalised content.

The technology giant is set to make headway in the programmatic space, propelled by the arrival of wearable technology. It is an advertising channel still in its infancy but the company believes it has a role to play in adapting programmatic to the intricacies of the mobile space.

Speaking to The Drum as one of the judges for 2015’s Mobile on Marketing Awards (MOMA), Nick Buckley, head of digital media and mobile marketing at Sony Mobile, admitted it was risky to “ignore programmatic, and the fundamental impact this will have in the way we trade and operate mobile ad space”.

“I’d like to see this evolve across devices this year, with more robust and valid solutions,” he added. “One last thing I’m looking forward to are the opportunities around using programmatic to deliver more appropriate and relevant creative dependant on a customer’s experience and engagement with our brand. It could bring a whole new level of personalisation and storytelling opportunities to a channel which has been somewhat pigeon holed as a direct response-led medium.

Buckley’s comments reflect programmatic’s fast-growing influence over the mobile ad business. Apple is to let advertisers purchase mobile ad inventory through programmatic buying as it looks to jump start its stuttering iAd business. Mobile’s ability to pinpoint location is arguably one of its most distinguishing features over desktop and brands like Sony are hopeful wearable technology can deliver unprecedented insights on how to better reach people.

Buckley warned against pinning all hopes on the “next evolution of true location based targeting” solely on a specific tool like Beacons. Tech should not define a campaign, he added, but ensure “we are meeting a genuine customer need, or at the very least giving customers something they actually want, using the tech to enable this”. It is an observation that raises the question of scale v relevancy and where marketers, who are under pressure to hit quarterly targets, should focus.

“I’d rather deliver a relevant campaign to fewer people, than blitz it to thousands of uninterested punters,” said Buckley.

Being able to customise content to a user is key to attain that relevancy. And it is something Buckley admitted was one of the “most interesting and ongoing challenges” it faces. For example, a user visiting our Sony Mobile website on an old Sony Ericsson phone, will get different content and experiences to one coming from a new Sony Xperia Z3 phone. “Once you start to work through this, you realise there are multiple user journeys and touch points. The opportunity to personalise content in this framework is huge, however it throws up a bunch of technical issues”, he added.

Buckley’s observations point to the types of qualities he will be looking for from entrants to this year’s MOMA’s. Entrants need to show not just how mobile can complement digital channels but all other channels too.

He added: “This shift is fundamentally changing the way we approach digital communications in 2015. The challenge from a mobile perspective is how we can deliver effective and consistent storytelling, on a platform which is innately short form, and snackable.”

The MOMA’s, sponsored by Weve and Mapp Media, closes for entries tomorrow (20 February) so if you think you’ve got a winning campaign then there’s still time to enter. More information on The Drum MOMA Awards can be found on the dedicated website.

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