Two months ago, I was interviewed by a publishing partner for my views on the future of mobile and whether 2015 would finally be the watershed Year of Mobile. My answer broadly was that the year of mobile has already happened for consumers, but unfortunately its advertisers and publishers who haven’t kept pace. Australian consumers have advanced mobile habits – multi-screening, smartphone penetration and data usage but mobile spend hasn’t been proportionate.
For 2015 to be the year the advertising and marketing community catch up here’s a few things that the industry needs to work out:
Mobile Search: One of the highest performed activities on mobile, search on mobile has grown significantly as a proportion of desktop. Google with its Enhanced Campaigns change in June 2013 made mobile search mandatory for advertisers meaning search advertisers would have to up their mobile specific ads. In a recent research, only 38% of users said that the Click to Call feature is widely available in search results. Advertisers need to get the fundamentals of mobile bidding, ads and scheduling right before mobile search overtakes desktop and the battlefield and mobile cost per clicks gets more competitive.
Consolidation of mobile inventory: Defragmentation in the marketplace needs to occur or publishers need to bring mobile inventory sales in-house. Currently there are multiple players in market, each claiming strengths in inventory, targeting and production nous. New ways of pricing mobile impressions must be considered, for instance paying different rates for peak mobile usage times and days of week (similar to radio) – provided the underlying data can justify the differential.
Mobile data needs to be improved in Australia. In particular, accurate (not inferred) location targeting down to the post code level. This will unlock opportunities to target people at point of purchase e.g. Car dealer lots and inside retail stores. Finding a way to follow users across devices and push them further down the purchase funnel will also require the industry to find data led solutions to target unique persons not impressions.
Mobile payments need to be fast tracked: Australians have adopted contactless payments, so mobile payments are the next step and should benefit small businesses and peer to peer transactions significantly. Retailers, financial institutions and regulatory authorities need to work out the guidelines and processes to make this happen. Some banks already offer tap and go on some devices, but the kicker for growth should be when Apple Pay launches in Australia.
Build creative and UX design expertise: Agencies and brands need to hire specialists who have studied and understand mobile user behavior extensively. Understand how mobile is used in your category, within the consumer decision journey. Tailor your creative, content and user experience for each part of the journey. I recommend this fantastic book to everyone. And I predict in 2015 every digital team will consider embedding a mobile only specialist to acquire up this expertise
Make mobile easier to make it mainstream: Mobile is an afterthought or bolt on for most campaigns because campaign buying and set up is an added and hence annoying layer. The top technology companies like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn who’ve seen their mobile revenues soar make both the front end (for users) and back end (for advertisers) seamless when it comes to mobile advertising. You upload one image and text in the backend and you’re ready to go on all devices with a little device specific bid adjustment if required. No separate sizes and tags.
Macro view for mobile: Ensure mobile becomes an important part of every user touch point not just advertising and media plans. A mobile first transformation project should encompass UX, creative and content as well. When evaluating, take into account metrics like phone calls and location extension usage that lead to offline transactions or estimate them (e.g. Store visits) using historic data the way Adwords now offers.
Mobile is utility or entertainment: Mobile users are looking to take an action immediately or a quick entertainment fix. Deliver actionable links (click to call, location extensions) within ads or build a killer mobile solution that solves a need within the consumer journey e.g. Commbanks Property app a few years ago. For utility be guided by location and intent and for entertainment create snackable content.
Stay ahead of the curve: Programmatic, retargeting and video will drive the next wave of mobile investment as advertisers become disillusioned with past results from mobile banner activity. Cross-device targeting has loads of potential – advertisers will either create their own databases or rely on big players like Google, Facebook and Twitter who can use their member sign in’s to create cross-device unique identification layers.
Mobile measurement: Finally we need a robust and recurring traffic measurement system. We also need industry research that provide deeper insights instead of telling us multi-device ownership and multi-screening has marginally risen year on year.