It seems like every year since 2007, when the iPhone was introduced, has been declared “The Year of Mobile.” Without a doubt, mobile has forever changed content consumption and consumer behavior. But despite annual breathless proclamations, agencies, marketers and content, companies have found mobile to be more a perennial challenge and unfulfilled promise than cause for unbridled celebration.
According to advertising agency thought leaders who participated in a panel at the December 4 members-only Digital Content Next Mobile Day, 2015 is the year that marketers expect to maximize mobile as it continues to gain ground with consumers as their main consumption point for digital content of all types. Danielle Block, Digital Content Next’s director of agency and advertiser relationships and panel moderator, pointed out that there is still a gap between the time spent on mobile devices —nearly 3 hours per person each day — and advertising revenue for mobile, which doesn’t come close to that of TV.
According to Sarah Wilson Greenfield, group media director of Neo@Ogilvy, “this disparity is reflective of digital as a whole, which is largely driven by the continued effectiveness of traditional mediums out there.” She encouraged media brands to better leverage some of the distinct advantages of mobile, such as precise targeting. Michael Liu, supervisor of mobile strategy at Carat cited measurement and attribution as the largest barriers for clients noting that “as we move toward cross-screen and cross-platform attribution, we’ll see mobile get more credit and a bigger spend.”
VP, Mobile Marketing, Havas Media/Mobext Andy Hoffman emphasized the importance of accurate measurement across platforms and encouraged publishers and marketers to not view mobile in a silo anymore: “We have to think holistically across devices.”
It was universally agreed that creative continues to be a challenge and emphasized that there cannot be a one-ad-approach for all delivery channels. “We distinguish tablet, desktop and mobile impressions and take different approaches and different creative for each of these experiences to suit the consumer mindset,” said Greenfield.
Perhaps one of the first decisions that marketers need to make is whether to focus on in-app or mobile Web delivery. Morgan Petti, associate director of mobile at OMD Airwave, and Razorfish Media Director Michael Keaveny both noted good results for engagement and impact with apps and both focus much of their efforts on those experiences, with Keaveny noting that for reach and to align with content that has a higher mobile Web viewership, he targets the mobile Web.
There was also agreement that in addition to creating mobile-optimized advertising experiences there must be a push for the high level of creativity seen in other channels, such as television. Despite some limitations with video, they agreed they would like to see more HTML5 creative and must focus on “creating a good consumer experience,” as Hoffman put it. “Right,” agreed Liu, who added: “We’re less concerned with format than the value to the end user. It isn’t about the size of the ad or whether it takes over your screen. You have to think about what is valuable to a mom standing in line at Walmart.”
Keaveny said he wants to work with publishers to create “immersive brand experiences,” citing the work he has done with a client and The Weather Channel as a good example. Greenfield applauds ESPN for the way it has facilitated accessing content on mobile and across platforms, pointing out that “brands want to align with [media] brands that get it right.”
In the coming year, Keaveny is looking for deeper premium integrations with publishers and Hoffman suggests that every publisher “keep an ad lab specialist on staff and keep iterating.” Petti, however, hung up the brass ring when she said that “whoever gets seamless integration right is going to win in so many ways.”