Commentary

Reimagining The Best Use For Mobile Search, Display Cross-Channel Strategies

Angry-Mobile-User-ADespite fears about limited creative opportunities, privacy issues, device fragmentation, lack of standard metrics and agency expertise, mobile display and search ads continue to grow in popularity for a few unexpected brands. They are taking advantage of the proliferation of mobile devices. Andy Rubin, who heads up development of Google's smartphone operating system, tweeted Sunday on Twitter that there are more than 900,000 Android devices activated daily.

It seems simple. Could mobile data become the link tying together television, desktop, offline and other media sources for a complete cross-channel strategy? A faltering U.S. economy might have prompted more consumers to disconnect land lines and opt for one reliable phone, but the ability to search for information and make a call from anywhere on the same gadget got more consumers hooked on mobile devices -- giving brands more opportunities to reach in and grab a new relationship. I continue to wonder about my world without a land line phone.

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Time Warner Cable (TWC) realized opportunities in mobile late last year with help from digital agency Leapfrog Online. The two explored a different way of thinking about moving day. Not having access to a land line when moving, consumers will reach for a mobile device, find the information in a search, ad or click-to-call extension enabling customers to easily call TWC directly from their mobile devices.

About half of Time Warner Cable's consumers completed an order for voice, video and data on a smartphone, when given the opportunity. It turns out that consumers have a higher propensity to buy cable services when searching on smartphones or tablets. Within nine months, the new mobile app helped grow TWC's revenue from 10% to 20% -- with about 3% from online traffic. Consumers buying on tablets tend to spend 10% more and 5% more on smartphones compared with desktop.

Opportunities for marketers to reach into consumer pockets will increase with the proliferation of mobile devices. Aside from Android operating devices, eMarketer predicts the number of iPad users in the U.S. will rise by more than 90% this year to 53.2 million. While growth declined from a 143.9% jump compared with 2011, the number of iPad users will rise by less than 12%.

Ten years ago, few consumers had heard of Internet-connected televisions, radios and refrigerators. Mobile apps like Pandora now allow us to receive Internet radio on mobile phones. This year, smartphone sales will generate about $230 billion -- totaling between 750 million and 800 million units, according to Richard Kramer, managing partner at Arete Research.

Amielle Lake, founder and CMO at Tagga Media, a mobile marketing agency, believes that mobile connects desktop and social and provides the real-time data lacking in cross-channel strategies. Rather than focusing strictly on mobile, marketers need to rethink cross-channel strategies. Lake believes that mobile remains only one part of a bigger funnel connecting consumers with brands. A partnership with Sunwing Vacations, a tour and discount travel company in Canada, will support the development of a cross-channel strategy adding mobile to traditional, digital, and social media marketing.

Fragmented marketing and advertising strategies can cause undue challenges. Lack of real-time data and analytics, difficulty in assessing return on investment, complexity in technologies and platforms, and a need for better attribution remain the top four challenges in a recent study from PulsePoint.

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