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The Drum Mobile Awards

We need to start thinking a little bit differently about mobile


By Ronan Shields, Digital Editor

April 8, 2016 | 7 min read

Now in its fourth year, The Drum’s 2016 MOMA judging process saw thought leaders in the digital media landscape convene to assess applicants, with entrants competing to be recognised as leaders in the mobile advertising and services sectors. The Drum's digital editor Ronan Shields sought their initial feedback on the entrants, and how they are a bellwether for the wider industry.

In a world where the vast majority of consumers are living their lives ‘mobile first’ advertisers and brands are doing their best to keep pace with this transition, but many have yet to master the medium. That’s the view put forward by a number of judges at this year’s MOMA judging event held earlier this week.

All judges consulted by The Drum agreed that while the efforts behind using mobile internet-enabled devices as a means of engaging with consumers have unquestionably improved in recent years, there is still much room for improvement across the industry.

Alex Kozloff, IAB acting marketing director: 'There's clearly a need for education'

MOMA judging chairperson Alex Kozloff is also the IAB’s acting director of marketing told The Drum that one encouraging theme detected among the awards entries was that most of them were geared towards proving effectiveness (which is not always a universal).

For Kozloff, a long-time observer in the mobile advertising space, also said the entries demonstrated the increased appreciation that mobile has to not only feature in mobile ad campaigns in this day and age, but sometimes they have to act as the anchor all aspects of a campaign.

“Five years ago, mobile advertising was definitely something that would have been tagged on at the end, whereas now it’s definitely something that’s a lot more strategically thought out.

“For instance, the entrants that won consistently were definitely mobile-first with other media [channels] being used to support this,” she said.

However, given the relatively small amounts of media budget invested in mobile (compared to mobile phones’ dominant share of total media consumption), there is still much education needed, according to Kozloff.

“It goes to show that the people making the decisions [over where to direct media spend] are maybe not as interested as they could be,” she added. “So there’s clearly a need for education in terms of both the tech and media, and how both are now being used.”

Ross Sleight, chief strategy officer at Somo: 'Mobile is not a siloed channel'

Also speaking to The Drum was Ross Sleight, chief strategy officer at full service mobile specialist agency Somo, who added that there needs to be a wider appreciation that mobile is “not a siloed channel”. He added: “It needs to be part of a wider mix, including offline.”

Sleight also went on to highlight that one of the more encouraging aspects of the entrants were that some demonstrated mobile media can be used to help change purchase intent, not just as a performance marketing channel.

Erfan Djazmi, head of planning on mobile at Group M outfit Essence: 'We need more granular data'

For Erfan Djazmi, head of planning on mobile at Group M outfit Essence, he would have liked to have seen more evidence of mobile media campaigns being used beyond performance-related targets.

“I would liked to have seen more granular data and metrics on the usage of data, there was lots on engagement metrics, etc., but I’m not sure how well they work on judging panels. I would like to see more metrics on things like brand lift, etc.,” he added.

Ilicco Elia, Digitas LBi, head of mobile: 'We need to start comparing Apples with Apples'

Fellow awards judge, Ilicco Elia, head of mobile at Digitas LBi, also said he believes the entrants demonstrate that mobile (as both a media channel, and way for businesses provide services to their customers) is definitely maturing.

“The biggest difference in the last few years is that mobile has definitely taken on a lot of new facets, which is a good thing,” he added.

However, the growing maturity of mobile – both as a media channel, and platform to build services and products – arguably means that such awards are in need of updating. For Elia, the sector is in need of some further segmentation to reflect the growing need of the channel.

“It would be good if we could get to a stage where we are comparing Apples with Apples. For instance, in the final stages of the judging, you had one instance where an ad campaign came up against a mobile product in one category,” added Elia.

Shan Henderson, Yahoo, director of mobile: 'What about IoT & VR?'

Also commenting on the MOMA judging process was mobile industry veteran Shan Henderson, also director of mobile at Yahoo, who also observed that assessing the ‘mobile’, and its role within the wider digital media milieu is in need of a rethink.

“What’s clear is that we have much more serious budgets, as businesses are beginning to realise that mobile is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have,” he told The Drum. “I think this is because you have businesses like Domino’s and Starbucks that are able to show how much money mobile is making for them.”

Henderson also echoed fellow judge Elia’s opinion that there needs to be a delineation in how the industry judges ‘mobile’. So rather than have a very broad definition of ‘mobile’ (whereby instances such as mobile ad campaigns are being assessed against a mobile app are commonplace), the channel has matured enough to be more granular in our assessment of it.

“I think there could be separate categories. For instance, it would be good to see an internet of things category, as well as VR [virtual reality],” he added.

Data underpins success

With all of the above points made, all judges were in agreement that the most successful entrants were those entrants that were underpinned by data.

Henderson offered his assessment: “The best entrants were those that used the data to understand the audience, came up with good creatives, and then used the metrics to judge its success.”

The MOMA presentation ceremony will take place in London on 18 May, those interested in attending can purchase tickets here

The 2016 MOMAs are sponsored by Weve, TabMo and pinpoint. Nominations will be announced on our twitter feed @MOMAawards on the 13 April.

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