In the first installment of a new series of opinion pieces called Mobile Hub, Big Mobile's Graham Christie discusses mobile's start to the year and shares insights from the Mobile World Congress.
It’s notable I think, how at the start of every year now, the volume of information about digital marketing generally, and mobile marketing specifically, increases, even doubles. The start of 2013 has seen, it seems, ever-major technology and most marketing services corporate, pump out think- pieces, the obligatory infographic or two, and host webinars.
A month is a long time in Mobile.
A lack of info isn’t our problem then. In fact let’s face it, there’s a frenzy around mobile, and this impacts marketers positively and negatively. Positive in the sense that real knowledge is being shared, and capabilities are more visible and hence easier to evaluate. Negatively, given, that as the mobile ecosystem sub-divides at four times the speed of online, it multiplies the sheer content output that has to be disseminated. There’s a practical consideration around how to handle this, with digital marketers now really needing to upscale the management, curating, and sharing of mobile insights, or risk relying on out-of-date info, or worse recycling thinking that is at odds with proven new evidence.
One of the most important new sets of data available is the iAB/PWC adex Report that now splits out Mobile advertising. This is a basic building block and one that puts a number to the previously wide held belief of exponential growth. It’s here, robust, and gives us a good baseline. 220% yoy being a key headline, take a look at iabaustralia.com.au
To add to this, it’s insights publishing season #1 for the year. For instance, seek out Nielsen’s local Connected Consumer Report 2012-2013 already published. This has some useful info particularly around consumer and multi-screening, showing for instance that 52% of Australian’s use mobile ‘most often’ or ‘regularly’ to media multi-task, when the TV is on. I’ll go further, we may as well start to see TV as the new radio, because that’s the way it’s going, with people in their lounge rooms hearing TV, but engaging over a touchscreens.
Mobile World Congress 2013.
Also, February every year sees the Mobile World Congress take place in Barcelona. With the pre event events, and post events wrap-ups the whole circus is just shy of a week. On a keynote address, picking up on this multi-screen theme, Susan Whiting CEO of Nielsen Media Research re-coined the term ‘information seekers’, those 30-
something++ consumers that have the TV on and a smart device open that’s contextually integrated with the programming, Susan challenged advertisers to find new ways to insert brands seamlessly into these dual-environments.
Other news from the event was of course based around devices and hardware. Samsung won the main gongs, but really all the manufacturers lifted their games announcing e.g. super processing power, amazing camera technology (there was a 12.8 megapixel from Huawei), and more elaborate user experience software like gesture controls. It’s easy to become de-sensitised towards the relentless advance of tech into mobile. But what we are lucky enough to be truly witnessing, is a paradigm change in the way people connect to the things around them that matter, for when you add these hardware advances, together with increasing network speeds, and the provision and take-up of cloud services, it empowers the end user to do, well, pretty much whatever they want on smart devices. All these are points on the mobile’s steep productivity curve, and they’re the facilitators of Mary Meeker’s ‘mobile overtaking PC traffic’ foretelling, which seems right on the money to become reality.
The events in Spain cast a positive light here, given our highly tech-enabled market. Smartphone penetration now lies between 66%-84% depending on who you ask, with the choice facing marketers no longer being whether to connect brands to people over mobile, but how to. There’s a burgeoning supply of ad space available, and every year a quadrupling of mobile internet destinations, so the time has come, as it does with every channel, for those making media and audience planning decisions, to become more discerning. In fact, there’s a clear two speed Mobile brandscape appearing. There’s the folk in the ‘fast lane’ who have the curiosity, the insights, the partnerships, and the data to spur on and support brands. And there’s the ‘slow lane’ who seem content with ‘ticking’ the mobile box any old way, or sometimes not at all. To put some data against this, the iAB here have commissioned a series of research studies that will arm us with a wealth of powerful info this year. The first to see daylight is some excellent work, (through TNS), gauging amongst other things, the media and marketing industry’s orientation towards mobile advertising. Of the respondents across agency and client organisations surveyed, 73% believe that mobile will be the fastest growing medium for the next five years, increasing in value across mobile and tablet by over 130% by the end of 2014. But some gloss is taken off this by, in the same study noting ‘creative agencies’, and what’s termed as ‘traditional ad agencies’ being the least active of the cohort. The Mobile Landscape Report from TNS is due to be launched mid-April.
Engagement and aesthetics.
Lastly, with the establishment of format standards, and HTML5 consolidating it’s position, the importance that mobile advertising places on the aesthetic is being made easier. If you’re hoping around the mobile internet or appland, you can still see mobile ads going through to full websites for heavens sake – today! It does take skill to make mobile work look good, and interact
intuitively, but if you’ve done mobile thinking up front, why risk failure with second-class execution? The world has moved on, and in this market
particularly, there are no excuses to not generate creative solutions that have a ‘wow’ factor.
Focus on what matters.
So as the growth of mobile as a channel is now better locally quantified, user data more available, and many practitioners becoming more progressive, the imminent planning period will see better informed thinking and brand solutions. We should all avoid the temptation to get lost in data space, but focus on info that addresses the absolute fundamentals of audience quality, how to reach them most effectively, and the creativity that engages them.