Target The Mobile Shopper With Clean, Consistent, Focused Approaches

While other digital platforms occupy specific times of day and modes of use, the smartphone has emerged as the singular all-in-one screen for consumers. Unlike the entertainment-oriented and prime-time-focused TV and tablet, and the productivity-oriented laptop/desktop, the phone is now used more often, garnering more cumulative time, more consistently, throughout the day.

So says Millward Brown Digital in its new report, “Getting Mobile Right.” The measurement company finds that among multiscreen users in 2014 time spent overall with smartphone data is 151 minutes, edging out TV by four minutes a day. Add to that another 43 minutes of tablet time, and the shift to personal screens is pretty much complete. And unlike TV, smartphones and tablets are rarely used as background noise. When these screens are on, you are involved with them.

As an all-in-one, all-day device, the mobile phone offers marketers both an opportunity and a conundrum. How do you determine the mode the user is in: media context, time of day, behavioral trail? Millward Brown focuses on location as a key signal, especially when trying to target shoppers. But focusing on the store alone is a misfire. According to the survey, 72% of those shopping on mobile are doing so at home. This is the so-called pre-shopping phase. But the interaction of device with live retail is clearly emerging, with 34% saying they are shopping on devices while in the store itself, the same number as are m-shopping at work.



The mobilized shopper, however, is using a range of tools and channels to get what she wants. One of the real challenges for retail is  targeting all of the many personalized routes consumers are taking to chop information on their handsets. Millward Brown finds, for instance, that despite evidence that people spend up to 80% of their overall mobile time on apps, 34.2% of mobile shoppers rely principally on the Web  browser, with only 19.7% mainly on apps. Almost half (48.2%) say they use both mobile Web and apps.

And while app use may run deeper than mobile Web, it also runs narrow. More than two thirds of respondents have fewer than five shopping-related apps on their phones. Being a shopping resource on this platform is a tough gig to get and demands a superior user experience.

Millward Brown contends that cracking mobile is well worth the trouble for marketers because mobile ads have greater impact than their desktop counterparts overall. In fact using major branding metrics especially, mobile ads that MB measured had two to three times the performance. In the case of ad awareness, mobile was three times more powerful across campaigns.

In looking at successful mobile campaigns, the company says that even the lowly and much maligned mobile banner has a role if done well. Make sure the look and branding is consistent, even in multi-frame animated banners. Keep it simple visually, with a limited color palette and detail, short, focused messaging, and some kind of value for the user.

Video is a very promising vehicle for mobile brands, but MB’s research shows some basic principles are already clear. You don’t need to tell the entire story in a video ad; instead, tease and intrigue. Incorporating other interactive elements in the unit should aim to bring more content in rather than direct people out, ensuring consistency between video and other layers. You can make good emotional connections with users via mobile video, but also be aware of possible user environments -- work, commute, etc -- when targeting and choosing content.

Creative is a key component in mobile, in part because targeting generally is better here, MB contends. It sees almost half of mobile campaigns successfully hitting their target audience, compared to only about a third of the time for desktop. The combination of creative and good targeting amplifies the natural strengths of the medium.

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