Monday, June 22nd, 2015 | 11 min read
Sometimes it’s fun to look back at old articles that speculate about the future of marketing and see what actually came true. This 2008 article by Econsultancy pretty much nailed it:
“…by putting a mobile strategy in place now, you can help ensure that your online business is prepared to take advantage of the growth opportunities that the ripening mobile internet seems set to offer over the next several years.”
There are 7.5 billion mobile connections. The world population sits at 7.2 billion, meaning there are 300,000,000 more mobile connections than people. Yup, you read it right; that’s 300 million. We spend more time browsing on mobile than on desktop, and more time with our phones than watching television, which has long been the most popular American pastime.
In fact, even when people watch TV they’re also on their phone – 88% of consumers admit to using their phone while they watch TV.
Given the widespread use of mobile, it’s no wonder that the advertising market has shifted toward mobile, too. And the expansion of mobile advertising shows no signs of slowing down. By the end of this year, mobile spend is expected to reach $28.5 billion in the U.S., and nearly $70 billion worldwide. And by the end of 2016, the global mobile ad market will surpass $100 billion and will be more than 50% of total digital ad spend.
The tricky thing about the world of mobile is that the traditional rules of advertising don’t apply. There’s no magical formula in mobile advertising – no comprehensive equation to guarantee views or sales. And it can be complex and confusing, with a host of networks, devices, agencies, DSPs (demand side platforms), and other factors to take into consideration.
But there’s one thing that will take you far: figuring out the social media side of mobile advertising.
Just as social networks drive mobile advertising’s growth, mobile drives advertising on social networks. In fact, two of the three biggest players in mobile advertising in the U.S. are social networks.
Facebook, which controls 71% of all social ad spend, made $3.32 billion in Q1 2015. Almost three-quarters of that revenue came from mobile advertising. And, as Fortune points out, mobile advertising is the main reason Facebook’s total revenue roughly tripled in Q1, and it’s the driver of the network’s current $226 billion market cap and 40% operating profit margins.
Meanwhile Twitter, the third-largest player in mobile advertising, announced a Q1 2015 ad revenue of $388 million – a 72% jump from last year. Even more noteworthy: mobile ads accounted for 89% of total ad revenue.
Some brands are even making up new terms to refer to the social mobile trend; Toms calls it “mocial.” The idea is that brands need to be social in their mobile activity, and mobile in the way they do social.
Also, there’s huge potential to boost online sales through social mobile advertising. In 2014, there were $1.1 billion in purchases made daily on mobile devices, indicating that mobile social ads that link to an e-commerce site are poised to bring in some serious revenue.
One of the most compelling areas of social mobile advertising – one that brands should definitely pay attention to – is the increasing popularity of video on social platforms, and how this relates to ads.
TechCrunch reports that mobile video ad spend in the U.S. more than doubled from 2013 ($720 million) to 2014 ($1.5 billion), and will reach $6 billion in 2018, representing about half of the total online video ad spend.
The tech news site hypothesizes that an abundance of high-quality video content, higher ad prices, clear KPIs for advertisers as well as publishers, and the rise of more efficient, automated marketplaces to facilitate trade will launch mobile video advertising to the next level.
Additionally, Fortune points out in its profile on Facebook’s video traffic explosion that video could offer “a gateway for advertisers to reach digital consumers in the format that most closely resembles television – just as the migration of advertising dollars from television to digital reaches a tipping point.”
The piece also notes that the rise of video in social mobile advertising isn’t just about Facebook: Snapchat, Twitter (which owns Vine and Periscope), and Spotify are all ramping up video advertising initiatives.
Hopefully by now you’re convinced that a social mobile advertising strategy is critical to your brand’s marketing success. Here are four tips for excelling at social mobile ads.
David Berkowitz, CMO at MRY, insists that brands don’t treat mobile advertising like advertising. Mobile gets extremely personal for consumers. This is a device that’s always within arm’s reach, and sometimes it’s even physically strapped to their arms. So, think hard about the value you can provide through your mobile advertising.
Also, don’t be overly promotional or jargony in your social mobile ads. You have a lot of contextual information about your audience members from their social profiles – use this to inform your creative so the ad feels relevant and doesn’t disrupt the user experience.
Many brands rely on engagement as the main determinant of success. Engagement is important, but a simple “like” isn’t the only (or best) way to measure your performance with social mobile advertising. When choosing your campaign’s success metrics, start with the objective. The rest will follow.
Here are a couple examples:
If you have multiple key metrics, consider weighting them based on your business priorities. You can even experiment with different weightings, adjusting to suit your brand’s needs. With the right metrics selected – and a weighting system to help analyze them – you have specific, clear direction to test and optimize your campaign.
If you’re not effectively tracking, you can’t prove the value of your ads. So before doing anything, get your tracking in place. Thankfully, social networks are continuously building sophisticated tracking mechanisms into their platforms. Facebook user IDs, for example, can track specific individuals as they switch between laptops and phones – this is something even cookies can’t pull off.
If you’re running ads on one social network, tracking will be relatively simple; you’re only dealing with one tracking system.
If you’re running mobile ads on multiple social networks, however, attribution might become an issue. Imagine that someone hops between different social apps before they click on one of your ads. Which network gets credit for the conversion? Technically, they all played a part. This is where using a third-party tracking partner comes in handy; they can provide unified and accurate reporting across all your paid initiatives.
David J Deal, a branding and content marketing consultant, recommends that brands think of mobile as a behavior, not just a platform for ads. In other words, create content that most effectively connects your brand with the mobile behaviors of your audience.
For example, Starwood Hotels has built its brand by being useful to consumers who rely on their mobile devices to manage their travel needs. Starwood offers branded smartphone and Apple Watch apps that help travelers do everything from checking in to their hotels to unlocking the doors to their rooms.
Taking a different approach, Pep Boys has generated revenue by creating mobile wallet offers for consumers searching and shopping on the go. Both Starwood Hotels and Pep Boys understand how to adapt their brands to mobile lifestyles instead of looking at mobile as another ad distribution channel.
As the world of business continues to become mobile friendly, it’s more essential than ever to nail down the basics of mobile advertising, and, as we’ve explained in this article, social mobile advertising is a great place to start.
Additionally, keep in mind that it’s not just about consumer adoption of mobile – the world of business is shifting toward mobile, too. Google gave a huge bump to mobile in April 2015 when it updated its algorithm to allot higher rankings to “mobile-friendly” sites on mobile search results. Google also announced that mobile is actually beating desktop for total searches in numerous markets, including the U.S. and Japan.
Mobile is a phenomenon that penetrates nearly every facet of consumer behavior and business.
About the Author: This post was written by Uyen Nguyen, Content Marketing Manager at Sprinklr, Simon Wardropper, VP of Performance at Sprinklr, and Simon Mansell, General Manager at Sprinklr.