Australian Mobile landscape.
April saw the publishing of the 2nd Annual IAB Mobile Landscape Study. Research partner TNS conducted the Study which covered four areas; How is Mobile being used? Does it work? What’s coming up? And lastly, where are the challenges? It’s a pretty extensive exercise, and a valuable view of the sector. Respondents were characterised in this 2nd study, as those that are active in the sector be they brand side, agency, or publisher, so one would surmise they are informed and seeing the pros and cons clearly.
So how is Mobile being used? Well in essence more broadly. As mobile matures as a marketing medium, so does its application to address different objectives. Amongst buyers, Brand Awareness came out top at 82%, with Increase Engagement at 80%, followed by Sales, and then Promotional related activity. I think the top two rankings are a combination of spend flowing out of traditional mediums, rapidly improving audience targeting in mobile, and the developing creative abilities of smart devices. Utilisation of display is almost ubiquitous which is to be expected now, but the rise of Video sees utilisation of this product type on smartphone at 82%, and on tablet at 76%. Video has emerged as the force we knew it would be, and we will see its importance and future critical role in the ecosystem really form through the next 12 months, not just as media owners switch on video scale, but also an new B2B models from e.g. YouTube enter the market, plus of course via brands themselves investing in content. As mentioned above, targeting is a contributor to the growing confidence amongst buyers. It’s good to see that ‘Time of Day’ (72%), and ‘Specific Location’ (70%) are so prevalent, and in terms of what buyers feel are most useful, ‘Detailed Demos’ was second only to ‘Location’. Also a first attempt was made to get a read on mobile and programmatic trading with 48% of buyers saying they were ‘sometimes’ (42%) or ‘always’ (6%) active in mobile in this way. We all know this space is nascent and fairly confused, (in fact almost a third were ‘Don’t Know’ in that question), so I think there will be differences in how organisations define ‘programmatic’ and therefore the interpretation of the question. However, Australia is viewed as one of the worlds quickest evolving programmatic markets, and there are sizable claims being made by media owners, so I think we should treat this as a useful baseline. Lastly, in this section, a good view on what metrics are being used to get an understanding on how well a campaign is performing delivered a clear indication, that the toxic stranglehold of the CTR metric is over with other measures such as interactions, download behaviours, and leads being captured and passed, are ranking equally along side of CTR.
Post click attribution and gesture tracking for instance and the growing stability and capability of supporting technologies (both web, OS, and adtech itself), will only help drive this further I feel.
Does Mobile work? A resounding 84% of respondents say yes to being ‘satisfied’ or ‘completely satisfied’ across smartphone and tablet. The perceived benefits of mobile advertising have certainly shifted away over the past few years from being merely a new display channel and one that was planned outside of the main marketing comms, to one that is viewed as complementing other channels (85%). The other stated benefits thereafter are; immediacy (84%), location (83%), targeting (81%). Whilst this makes complete sense, I think marketers should not be content with ticking one of these four benefits, but three or four, thereby forcing Mobile’s attributes to really surface and add incrementally to the rest of the mix.
What’s coming up? In terms of expectations these point to continued growth and influence with ‘two-thirds’ of marketing campaign’s forecast to have a mobile component by 2016, and tablet seeing the biggest growth of 160%, plus taking the biggest share of spend. In the fact the relationship between smartphone and tablet is a virtuous one, with usage patterns on both now well understood allowing planners to see how these two devices can co-exist to achieve better outcomes, and better again if integrating TV. The Study recorded 26% advertisers saying that buying across smartphone a tablet was ‘core to their strategy’, and that figure climbs a further 4% when TV is added. Video overall is forecasted to see an 85% growth between 2014 and 2016.
Where are the challenges? Tackling challenges around Privacy was noted as an issue, but the big one of course is industry measurement. In the 2013 iAB Study ‘understanding mobile advertising’ was the number one concern, followed by ‘no industry measurement’. Acknowledging mobile’s dramatic growth, (market value 300% yoy CY13 vs. CY12 iAb/PWC) sees those positions flipped with Measurement the clear headache. Certainly I think one of the impacts of the ongoing absence of a standard industry measurement model is to fuel media buys really too biased towards performance which in turn fuels a predisposition to buy on price, which accelerates commoditisation. This isn’t a good recipe for the medium and long-term development of mobile’s value exchange with brands. The other challenge is quite basic but no less important, and that is the need for more experience, insights and case studies to find their way into the public domain. Amongst buyers and publishers alike, this is a top 3 necessity. From my POV then momentum for sharing has to start with brand owners.
Summary. All in all, the Report (available in full at http://www.iabaustralia.com.au) supports what most feel, that organisations that don’t now go full throttle into mobile are losing out. The rise in investment, and the seismic developments right across the value chain that we are all seeing endorses this. We must as an industry certainly now tackle measurement, plus look past the immediate future to realise the opportunity by focusing on higher quality outcomes, to build sustainability.
Disclosure. Big Mobile was one of a number of funders of the 2014 IAb Study
Graham Christie, partner, Big Mobile Group