It’s somewhat difficult to remember the pre-smartphone era; a time where a pub quiz score was more a reflection of a team’s collective general knowledge than it was its ability to discreetly Google the answers. Or, indeed, a time where getting lost meant having to rely on phrases such as, “I can see… a tree, a church…” rather than using a maps app or dropping a pin.
The speed at which smartphones assimilated into our lives is unparalleled. This had led to a number of advertisers having to play catch-up.
Some Fears Remain
A great number of digital marketers cut corners in how they have addressed the mobile issue. From limited costs and resources to a lacking sense of urgency, there’s an array of reasons why branding for mobile is not high on their priority list. But trying to make the square peg (creative assets conceptualized and designed for desktop) fit into a round hole (screen, functionality and content specific to mobile) not only makes for disruptive and frustrating experiences for the consumer; it may actually have a long-term damaging effect on the relationship between consumer and brand.
Repurposing online creative for use on mobile is one of the three biggest mistakes mobile advertisers can make. Mobile offers a rich and interactive experience for consumers that standard online creative simply can’t offer. The touchscreen itself presents a means of interaction that creative built for point-and-click simply can’t leverage properly. Native mobile technology, like GPS, grants advertisers the ability to target users at a much more detailed level, while the accelerometer allows for entertaining movement-based ads. But the next generation of smartphones may potentially multiply the opportunities for mobile marketers to target audiences in smart and highly optimized ways; Apple’s iPhone 5S and its always-on quantification of the user’s every move is certainly painting an interesting picture of what’s yet to come.
Small Screens, Big Ideas
Is running standard mobile formats the solution to all your mobile problems? Not so. It’s actually much more effective to embrace (and leverage) the advantages mobile offers. A recent Oreo campaign employed the use of the IAB’s new “Mobile Rising Stars,” and these new formats drove double the engagement rate and resulted in a staggeringly high 98.1% accuracy in brand recall.
However, we’re still left with a conversion tracking-induced hangover. It’s not as simple as online where conversion data is readily available due to the prevalence of cookies. Tracking mobile in-app conversions requires the use of a third-party platform, incurring extra campaign costs while also requiring additional developer resources to insert specific programming code into apps.
Consumers expect brands to provide them with a seamless experience from one device to another. Rather than treating mobile as an afterthought once an online campaign is underway, it needs to be part of planning conversations from the outset.
To give mobile the respect (and budget) it deserves, marketers must consider the following:
- “Mobile-first” thinking. Build media plans around mobile rather than adding it in at a later date. 91% of all smartphone users have their device with them 24/7 so strategizing, branding and planning for mobile can make the difference between a disruptive and meaningful user experience.
- Design and build creative fit for the native smartphone technology. Ads are not only more targeted (e.g., location-based context) than their online cousins but are often more memorable.
- Build mobile-specific (or responsive) websites. Even the most engaging mobile ad will ultimately fail to drive conversions or brand uplift if the user is directed to an unresponsive website.
By keeping these tactics in mind when planning a mobile strategy, advertisers will be better prepared to integrate changes to the mobile landscape into their marketing plan rather than scramble to find the answer. Unlike a pub quiz, the stakes are much higher.