Advertising has come a long way from the days of print, radio and television; now online and mobile advertising are typically a brand’s first point of connection to consumers. What was once seen as a very traditional and tactile way of reaching consumers (cue Mad Men) is now more about Facebook-Like driven mobile campaigns and in-app advertising. With a global sales prediction of 49 million units of the iPhone 5 from December 2012 to February 2013, the opportunities to leverage mobile advertising on the small screen again come into the spotlight.
One of the biggest indicators of this growth was evident at this year’s Advertising Week in New York City – creative directors, media planners, brand CMOs and mobile executives were all talking about one thing, mobile advertising. From multinational brands to agencies the likes of Publicis and Saatchi, there was the sense that mobile is hard, there’s still a lot of learning and exploration to improve ads on the small screen and, most importantly, that brands and agencies will suffer if they don’t adopt mobile first into their larger marketing mix.
Just last week, our own CEO David Gwozdz wrote in his Huffington Post blog: “The reality is that mobile advertising will continue to be a challenge; it will be hard to navigate through the muddle of what mobile users want, how they want to receive information, what types of ads will resonate with mobile users and other relevant information. But the good news is that more agency heavyweights the likes of Publicis, Saatchi and R/GA are becoming believers in what mobile can do not only to engage consumers, but to deliver that all important metric, or result, of sales.”
Recent research from eMarketer reiterates my point very well, forecasting that growth and reception to mobile advertising in the U.S. and other countries will drive mobile ad spending worldwide to $6.4 billion in 2012, a 60% jump from $4 billion in 2011. The U.S., for the first time, overtook Japan in the top spot with an estimated $2.3 billion in mobile ad spending in 2012 and the potential to reach $10.3 billion by 2016. Mobile delivers some really incredible benefits – higher engagement rates, more inventory and 24/7 access to consumers. So why do some brands still put all or most of their eggs (figuratively) into the television basket? I hear it all the time from CMOs and creative directors at the biggest agencies in the world. “TV is the most important marketing channel for our clients.” Among other barriers, there’s a fear of bombarding and interrupting mobile users’ daily lives with mobile ads, a lack of mobile understanding and measurement and complacency to follow the traditional definitions of “creative” and “creativity.” But mobile is not just an added channel; it’s the most relevant, accessible and engaging channel that will help brands increase their share of voice.
When it comes to advertising, the industry is more difficult to navigate than ever – for those who deliver it, and those who consume it. It’s a crowded space cluttered with advertisers vying for consumers’ often distracted attention and consumers are becoming more selective (and cautious) on where and with whom they choose to engage. The only way to move mobile to where it should be (and can benefit the bottom line of brands) is for traditional, digital, mobile, social, creative and technology to all work together. Only then will we see brands carving out a niche for themselves in the $20 billion monetization opportunity discussed by analyst Mary Meeker.