The mi­gra­tion of con­sumers from the desk­top to mo­bile gives mar­keters more cre­ative ways to en­gage them

The Australian - The Deal - - First Up - An­drew Baxter

Mo­bile de­vices open up clever new av­enues for cre­ative mar­keters.

CON­SUMERS now spend 20 per cent of their time on their mo­bile de­vices. The big ques­tion around this move to mo­bile is how to best com­mer­cialise it from an ad­ver­tis­ing per­spec­tive? It’s a sim­i­lar ques­tion to the one the in­ter­net on your desk­top posed 15 years ago. A highly rel­e­vant, popular and en­gag­ing medium, but how do those con­tent and util­ity providers get paid for pro­vid­ing all that in­ter­est­ing stuff to an in­creas­ing num­ber of users? Are they pro­vid­ing ad­ver­tis­ing op­tions quickly enough for brands want­ing to get their mes­sage to this rapidly grow­ing au­di­ence?

The desk­top even­tu­ally spawned the money-mak­ing banner ads, search en­gine op­ti­mi­sa­tion (SEO), and search en­gine mar­ket­ing (SEM). As the desk­top moved to the smaller screened lap­top, web­site land­ing pages were re­con­fig­ured to al­low more space for video and print style ads. Dis­play ad­ver­tis­ing was born and MRECs (medium rec­tan­gle ad place­ments) and page takeovers be­came ex­tra ways to com­mer­cialise web­sites.

Now with the move to tablets and mo­bile, the screen space has shrunk con­sid­er­ably more, and room for ad­ver­tis­ing space is limited. But con­sumers are flock­ing to mo­bile for on-de­mand news and con­tent, and the op­por­tu­ni­ties for mar­ket­ing per­son­al­i­sa­tion are con­sid­er­ably higher with the data and geo-tar­get­ing avail­able. And that’s the co­nun­drum for mar­keters. They cur­rently only spend 4 per cent of their mar­ket­ing bud­gets on mo­bile. Yet a re­cent survey saw 35 per cent of mar­keters think that mo­bile would ac­count for 50 per cent of their mar­ket­ing bud­gets in five years. So what is the ad­ver­tis­ing model of the fu­ture for mo­bile?

Un­sur­pris­ingly, it’s the big­gest play­ers that are the first movers into pro­vid­ing op­tions for ad­ver­tis­ers want­ing to make the most of con­sumers switch­ing to smart­phones and tablets. Face­book says if it was start­ing its business to­day, it would be as a mo­bile company. No won­der, given that one in ev­ery five min­utes spent on a mo­bile de­vice is on Face­book’s news­feed. It has in­tro­duced video ads and print-style ads to its news­feed in the last two years, and it now gleans 62 per cent of its ad rev­enues from mo­bile. And it is see­ing the best re­sults for brands from what it deems “great cre­ative and great tar­get­ing”.

ESPN re­cently re­built its main Aus­tralian video con­tent site for mo­bile de­vices first and desk­top sec­ond. It has stuck to the ba­sic, banner ad at the top of the site and small MRECs within, but the slick video stream­ing is primed for pre-roll video ads down the track; just as YouTube has de­liv­ered con­sis­tently for the past cou­ple of years. Spo­tify an­nounced last month that con­sumers opt­ing to see a pre-roll video ad would get 30 min­utes of ad-free mu­sic. McDon­ald’s, Ford, Coca-Cola, Tar­get and Kraft were quick to jump on board. TV show and movie site, Hulu, is run­ning with a sim­i­lar ad­ver­tis­ing plat­form. The main­stream Aus­tralian news ser­vices are also stick­ing to banner ads, pop up ads and MRECs for the text heavy sec­tions of their mo­bile sites, while some have be­gun ex­per­i­ment­ing with full screen takeovers. Google an­nounced in early Oc­to­ber that it was also pro­vid­ing full screen takeover op­tions for ad­ver­tis­ers. One business try­ing to out­point the big guys in pro­vid­ing op­tions to ad­ver­tis­ers is South Korean start-up Latte Screen. It has de­vel­oped an app that con­trols what ap­pears on the screen after a mo­bile de­vice is un­locked It can de­liver a full screen ad, and if you view and en­gage with it you earn points which can be re­deemed for dol­lars via Paypal. Ad­ver­tis­ers can tar­get con­sumers this way via age, gen­der and lo­ca­tion.

Twit­ter has its pro­moted tweets to drive rev­enue through­out its feed, and has re­cently added a buy but­ton op­tion within them. Con­sumers can now click straight through to pur­chase that pro­moted brand’s of­fer with a min­i­mum of fuss. In early Septem­ber, Home De­pot and Burberry be­came the first ad­ver­tis­ers to take ad­van­tage of Twit­ter’s new buy but­ton.

Ap­ple’s re­cent launch of the iPhone 6 will only ac­cel­er­ate the con­sumer shift to mo­bile de­vices. And when you over­lay the move of the majority of con­tent providers and ag­gre­ga­tors to re­design their mo­bile sites for a bet­ter con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence, it is in­evitable that con­sumers will spend even more than the cur­rent 20 per cent of their time on th­ese de­vices. Add to that the quantum leaps be­ing made in real-time data anal­y­sis, the rapidly ex­pand­ing mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing op­tions be­ing pro­vided for brands, and the abil­ity for mar­keters to tar­get con­sumers with per­son­alised, timely and very rel­e­vant ad­ver­tis­ing is here and now. Yet as mar­keters ap­proach their 2015 bud­get cy­cles, they are only al­lo­cat­ing 4 per cent of their bud­gets to this rapidly grow­ing medium. Those that move swiftly to re­al­lo­cate their bud­gets, while de­liv­er­ing en­gag­ing and rel­e­vant ad­ver­tis­ing, will have a dis­tinct ad­van­tage.

An­drew Baxter is chief ex­ec­u­tive of Publi­cis World­wide Aus­tralia

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