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Mobile is as Mobile Does

Posted by James Lamberti on April 1st, 2013 at 11:23 am

When you think about mobile, what are some of the things that come to mind? Fast, personal, ready, fun and connected are a few terms that come up. People think about mobile much differently than they do personal computers. How many times has someone almost bumped into you on the street as a result of their eyes being fixed on the screen in their hands? This is a familiar interaction in today’s device-obsessed contemporary culture.

Despite the ubiquity of these devices, marketers continue to struggle to effectively monetize the mobile channel. It’s time to step back, look at what makes mobile different and come up with some fresh thinking.

Mobile devices aren’t little desktops. They’re not even little laptops. Too much of the advertising taking place on these devices is rooted in what worked on the traditional Web. Banners on mobile browsers are for the birds. Tiny fonts and big fingers are a terrible combination. How many times have you inadvertently clicked an ad while simply trying to scroll or stretch or pinch a page? It’s great for click through rates, even if unintentionally.

Creativity takes the cake. When we see something novel we notice; it’s human nature. Marketers get this and they’re increasingly trying new ways to grab our attention in the mobile world. In-app advertising is a first step but a lot of it simply relies on what are essentially still banners. But some brands are doing interesting things with apps themselves – either as stand-alone programs or as part of a broader campaign.

One device, many use cases. The fact that we can talk about banner ads in the mobile browser, in-app ads and app-based campaigns speaks to the variety of use cases that exist on mobile. Within seconds a user can take a photo, customize it using Instagram, share it on Facebook and move on to browse the Web. In virtually every use case there is an opportunity for brands to engage.

A universal view of me and of you. One of the challenges with the various use cases described above is recognizing that the same user is performing them all. It may seem elementary but marketers have no way to bridge between the mobile Web and apps when it comes to recognizing their audience. The result is wasted impressions, the inability to do frequency capping and a less than optimal user experience.

Performance is paramount. Marketing on mobile devices is still marketing, and a big part of marketing is managing hundreds of billions of impressions on hundreds of millions of devices in tiny slivers of a second. While speed is critical, longevity is important too as it means customers can be confidently reached for an extended period of time.

Privacy, privacy, privacy. Marketers have played fast and loose with customer data, skirting best practices and turning a deaf ear to consumers’ requests for greater privacy protection. Mobile offers a fresh start – based on the concept of privacy-by-design – for the industry to give consumers the protection they want while still providing marketers with the data they need to create relevant and respectful relationships.

Mobile is exciting. It’s promising, fun, personal, immediate, intimate and it’s everywhere. Now is the time for marketers to create engaging connections with their customers that are just as exciting and promising and personal and fun as the devices they run on. It’s time for marketers to look at their audiences, the ecosystem and the available technology to deliver relevant content for engaging consumer experiences.

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