Platforms continue to create a fairly easy process to buy mobile media, but marketers don't understand the mechanics of integrating media channels and technology.
Many still drive mobile ads to a Web site or landing page. Retailers don't recognize that consumers carrying smartphones stand within 200 feet of their stores, and it's helpful to retarget a display ad on a publisher's site or serve up a search ad on Bing, Yahoo, or Google Local or Maps to drive foot traffic into the store.
TagMan CRO Nancy Marzouk said the company tested mobile app tag management for iOS and Android that it plans to roll out at the end of July.
"A large percentage of the ecosystem remains clueless about the possibilities of mobile," she said."We pushed to develop a mobile tag management system, because a lot of clients believe it's undervalued, but they don't have the tools or data to validate it."
Marzouk said many of TagMan's biggest clients garner 20% of conversions from mobile. iProspect's U.S. clients will invest about 6.5% of their online ad budgets in mobile this year. Overall, mobile dollars managed through iProspect rose 90% between January and June 2012, according to COO Brian Kaminski.
Marketers are leaving millions of dollars on the table. "I see the gap widening between those who get it and those who don't," Kaminski said. "I would have initially argued this year the gap would close significantly. Now, I'm not so sure."
The more sophisticated marketers understand mobile isn't just a transactional vehicle, Kaminski said. Those are the ones who won't allow opportunities linked to ecommerce to pass. During eBay's recent second-quarter earnings call, CEO John Donahoe said eBay and PayPal mobile should each transact $10 billion in volume this year. The numbers were revised upward. eBay had estimated mobile shopping would hit $8 billion on eBay $7 billion on PayPal.
Globally, mobile ad marketplace Adfonic's total ad requests rose 15%, sequentially, with 8,256 active campaigns in Q2. Europe experienced the strongest growth at 23 billion ad requests -- up 34% sequentially, surpassing North America at 19 billion for the first time.
Marketers underestimate the ability to reach consumers on mobile platforms. High-value verticals like automotive take between $50 and $100. Most verticals acquire customers at a cost proportionate to the typical customer lifetime value for their industry, according to an Adfonic report.
Click-through rate (CTR) performance varies significantly across regions. Adfonic, which supports about 5,000 campaigns monthly, said CTO Wes Biggs, found the most popular verticals in North America, technology and telecoms, generates a more than 37% CTR, for example. Gender targeting also improves performance. Globally, Adfonic sees a 164% uplift in tech and telecoms campaigns targeted to males.
Media and budget silos will hinder growth, Kaminski said. "In many cases, companies have separate marketers in charge of running in-store and online campaigns, and this slows innovation," he said. "I also think the nuances of managing mobile display are trickier than managing mobile search."
Mobile investments are not advancing as quickly as many experts estimate. They continue to grow, but not as quickly as if the media tied in with other channels. Kaminski suggests setting metrics per device, such as tablet, desktop and mobile phone, to get the full benefits from mobile, similar to the way marketers might set metrics for search or display marketing.