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Mobile and Video Will be Front and Center in 2015

Video content is a growing comodity for brand marketers and investment in such content is continuing to grow, a trend that Acronym managing director and chief marketing officer, Mike Grehan, predicts will continue through out this year.

In 2015, US consumers looking for information, products and services on the Internet will—for the first time—do more of their search queries on mobile devices than on desktop computers. Combined with the fact that YouTube will nudge Google into second place to narrowly become the number one search engine, it’s clear mobile and video will be front and center of every marketer’s activities.

The focus on mobile is underscored by a survey (The Advertiser Intelligence Reports, Wave 21) of approximately 2,000 marketer and agency decision makers conducted in July and August of 2014 by research firm Advertiser Perceptions. Among all respondents, 48 per cent expected to spend more on mobile advertising over the next 12 months while a mere 5 per cent indicated they would cut such spending. To put this into perspective, 32 per cent anticipated increased cable TV ad spending and just 19 per cent saw additional spending on magazines.

Unfortunately, many companies (not least of which Microsoft, from a product development standpoint) did not anticipate the speed at which mobile devices would become so ubiquitous. Now they are not only playing catch-up from a content optimization standpoint, they need to do it across such diverse devices as smartphones, tablets and “phablets,” all with varying size displays. Add the complexity of search marketing to the mobile mix—and the fact that roughly half of all digital advertising in the States is devoted to search marketing—and the term “catch-up” is better characterized as a never-ending sprint.

With regard to search marketing, the increasing consumer preference for, and reliance on, mobile devices, along with marketers’ prolific generation of content to leverage that reliance, requires a thorough understanding of consumer intent—expressed in subtle ways via search keywords and phrases. Only by understanding the “information need” behind a keyword or phrase are marketers better able to develop content that specifically meets that need. “Intent computing” is a growing area of research, particularly in the field of digital marketing. It is based on predicting the probability of a specific intention held by an end user by applying machine learning and data mining methods.

It’s said that nearly everyone in the modern world is influenced, to some degree, by advertising and other forms of promotion. However, dramatic transformations in the way that we are served marketing media, and the way we consume media generally, is fundamentally changing the art and science of advertising and marketing. A recent survey cited by Inc. Magazine said that 70 per cent of consumers want to learn about products through content as opposed to traditional ad methods. That’s quite a sea change from just a few years ago.

The ascendancy of video is a great example of the need to accurately decipher consumer intent in order to sell something. That’s because user intent can determine whether a video may be a better user experience following a search query than looking at a static page on a website. The key is knowing whether it’s more effective to show somebody how to do something than to tell them how to do it. While it doesn’t sound all that complicated, consider that the typical enterprise-level, global brand like Four Seasons Resorts & Hotels or software/services giant SAP can at any given moment be managing tens of millions of search keywords.

Fortunately, companies like Google, with about 65 per cent of US search marketing share, keeps getting better at understanding the intent behind a query so as to deliver the most relevant type of content. Google rewards companies with higher rankings if it considers their mobile experience “friendly,” based on how easy it is for consumers to interact with the mobile content.

Setting digital aside for a moment, we are frequently reminded that it is but one element of successful branding and sales efforts. A recent case was provided by Phoenix Marketing International, which has surveyed 2,000 consumers each month to gauge their recall and response to various advertising media, including television. The company says that 32 per cent of consumers who were shown a Mercedes TV commercial recalled having seen it, concluding that TV advertising has been particularly effective for the automaker.

The Phoenix study shows that, no matter how cool you think you are in the digital age, the message and the medium still matter. It’s still the luxury, lifestyle broadcast ad that has the most emotional appeal.

@mikegrehan

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