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Knowledge is power: what do advertisers want from mobile?

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Posted by mobiThinking - 25 Mar 2013
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mobiThinking was recently asked: What kind of information do advertisers (brands and agencies) want from mobile? It’s a common question. There’s not much in the way of research on the matter, so the following is opinion. We’d like to hear from you on the matter.

What all advertisers and potential advertisers want is facts and honesty (and free advice) about mobile. It doesn’t matter if they are in Nigeria, Nicaragua or The Netherlands. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about mobile, but the thing that most people in the industry forget is that most advertisers don’t know very much about mobile, how it works, what works and how to make the most out of what mobile can do for them. At one extreme, mobile advertising is becoming increasingly mechanized: whatever the ad networks say, it isn’t that easy to run a campaign if you don’t know what you’re doing, and there’s no way of knowing what type of campaign will best suit the business’ objectives – nor will you know if your objectives are rational in the first place. At the other extreme – i.e. where agencies are running expensive, bespoke campaigns – there’s still a lack of awareness, often, among the clients as to how mobile advertising works, they just believe that mobile advertising is too complicated for clients, forcing them to trust that the agencies know best (neither of which is necessarily true).
Just like anything else the maxim here is: knowledge is power. Thus mobiThinking’s conclusion is that, above all, the thing advertisers want most from the mobile business is the ability to make informed decisions that deliver the best results.

Advertisers want:

1) Statistics – providing compelling information that would encourage them to advertise on mobile rather than digital or other media – everything from number of mobiles/mobile Web usage/projections v PCs, PC Web etc and ROI v other channels. Particularly any stats that show that mobile can reach, or reach better, the advertiser’s chosen group. It is just as important to manage unrealistically high expectations as low ones. (Aside: this is part of the reason we started the Compendium of mobile stats).
2) Statistics – showing what types of mobile e.g. Web v apps v email v SMS ads deliver best reach/results; demonstrating what types of ads work best i.e. formats, display, search etc; demonstrating what types of targeting work best.
3) Information – on how mobile advertising works (starting with the basics), how mobile ad networks work, real-time bidding, different types of mobile advertising e.g. blind v premium, how different types of ads work, and the different forms of remuneration: cost per click (CPC), cost per thousand impressions (CPM), cost per action (CPA) etc. (Aside: this is explained in part in Mobile ad network guide).
4) Case studies – illustrating any/all of the above, in action, that show how to do mobile campaigns and demonstrate tangible results.

Advertisers want to know:

5) Can mobile deliver on their objectives? First, they want/need to know if the objective is sensible, credible etc for their business. (Virtually all newcomers have unrealistic expectations/perceptions of mobile, perhaps down to media hype or bad agency advice). Sometimes the truth will hurt – e.g. if the goal is to drive downloads for a mobile app that nobody wants, then no amount of mobile advertising will help – but the truth will save the them money and will help to preserve the credibility of the mobile business. Next, they need to know if mobile can deliver and how best mobile can deliver on those objectives.
6) How can mobile help to reach the target group(s)? Advertisers want to target certain groups that they believe, rightly or wrongly, are key to their business objectives, and how/if mobile can deliver. They also want/need to know if the target group is correct. What’s the point of focusing on iPhone users, if iPhones are just a small fraction of mobiles in the country? What’s the point in advertising to people in the wrong country or on mobile sites that your customers don’t visit?
7) What types of advertising work best on the handsets that most of their customers use? If the customer base is using older handsets, there’s no use doing fancy rich-media ads, because they won’t display.
8) What types targeting are available and which work best? Which methods will work best to reach the target group: i.e. type of publisher, demographic, time of day, location? E.g. targeting a money-off flowers/chocolates voucher at men at the end of the work day, the day before Valentine’s/Mothers Day.
9) What types of offer works best? e.g. a money-off voucher for a restaurant will work better if targeted at tea time to people in the correct city.
10) Which publishers of mobile sites or apps offer the best opportunity? How can advertisers be expected to pick the best mobile publisher(s) to run their campaigns, without knowing the number of unique, active visitors/users and their demographic profile, location etc? It is difficult to understand why in many countries this information is hard to come by.

Advertisers want:

11) Results (feedback). They want to be able to measure the effectiveness of a campaign in real time, ideally being able to adapt the campaign to maximize results. They need to know how mobile can deliver more measurability through analytics and the importance of the basics, such as having a mobile site/mobile landing page that works on all Web-enabled handsets when the customer clicks through.
12) Maximize interactivity. Advertisers want to know how mobile can maximize interactivity i.e. to entice people to interact with campaigns, thus making them more measurable.
13) Cross-media integration. Advertisers want to know how mobile fits in with and enhances their other media channels, e.g. how adding a shortcode, mobile barcode or URL to a billboard or TV ad makes them interactive and measurable.
14) Results (conversions). Advertisers want to know how best to turn mobile ad impressions into clicks; and clicks into conversions to sales, downloads, sign-ups etc. Again, a lot of that comes down to the basics, a well-designed mobile site that works on all Web-enabled handsets, that makes fulfilling the objective as easy as possible. The site/process needs to abide by the rules on privacy and opt-ins. If they want to sell anything, the site must be mobile-commerce enabled and secure.

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Posted by mobiThinking - 25 Mar 2013

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mobiThinking focuses on everything you need to know on the business of mobile and web. With an exhaustive compendium of mobile statistics, practical guides to mobile agencies, ad networks, top mobile markets and more; interviews and analysis, industry events and awards.

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