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It’s that time of year again when we look back on the year that was and dream a dream for the year to come.  2013 was widely billed as the ‘year of mobile’. 

There are now more mobile phones in the world than people. The mobile device is the closest channel to consumers, and its transition to a dominant advertising medium should be moving fast.

Eighteen months ago at Facebook we didn’t have a mobile advertising product and now 49% of our revenue comes from mobile. Last year was indeed the much talked about ‘year’ when mobile penetration over took desktop penetration.

So what happened to advertising on mobile in 2013? Not a lot really. There were moments of mobile magic but generally from an ad spend and planning perspective it was hardly a game changing year for advertisers using mobile to communicate with their audiences. If we are honest about putting the consumer at the heart of everything we do, as an industry that has to change. 

2014 will see some brave clients re-ordering the way that creative and media agencies present so that the owned, earned and bought ideas will be shared with mobile going first in the running order which will in turn ensure more focus.

An example of a progressive brand on mobile is KFC who saw “extraordinary results” of the KFC ‘Snack! In the face’ mobile campaign.

Valerie Kubizniak, acting chief marketing office for KFC South Pacific, said: “Working with Ogilvy, DT, Ensemble and MediaCom we created a cutting edge digital proposition that engaged our target audience of young adults, driving more traffic into store, a significant uplift in sales in our snacking segment and huge engagement across our YouTube and Facebook channels. Critically, integrating the app functionality across our 600 stores nationwide was no small feat and was integral to the success of the campaign, bringing it smoothly from concept to operational execution.

“With savvy media planning and intelligent implementation of Facebook advertising, we were able to generate a high number of downloads at a cost-effective price. For a brand that has traditionally invested primarily in above the line advertising, the KFC ‘Snack! In the face’ campaign has demonstrated the value of mobile in not only engaging with customers but driving a tangible business result.”

For advertisers keen to make the most of the summer season, mobile should be an important channel to reach consumers as they’re out and about more and consuming less traditional media such as TV. Our latest data shows 7.3 million Australians access Facebook every day via a mobile device, and in the US 1 in 5 minutes on mobile data are spent with Instagram or Facebook (Comscore).

But it’s not just about reach. Mobile platforms mean marketers can efficiently target the right audiences at times they’re most likely to be responsive. It’s something we’ve seen huge appetite for in recent months. Between Q2 and Q3 2013, there’s been an almost 75% increase in the number of marketers using custom audiences in their ad campaigns. More marketers are doing it because they require better ways to target fragmented audiences and understand mobile is the place to reach them. 

Mobile is more than just another channel to reach consumers.  In many respects it’s becoming the channel to reach Australians at scale. 

As we move into 2014, savvy marketers will do well to track the rise of mobile and move quickly to un-tap the potentials it offers for brand building.

Helen Crossley is head of measurement and insights at Facebook ANZ.

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