Outbrain’s Head of Mobile, Rebecca Allen, and session chair, Alex Blyth, introduced the topic pointing to three statistics which highlight the importance of mobile to today’s marketers: for half the world’s Internet users the mobile is their primary tool for getting online; 37% of all digital media time is now spent on mobile devices; and within the Outbrain universe click-through rates are higher for content accessed via mobile than via desktops.
The numbers are there, and the potential for engagement is clear. So, what can marketers do to take greater advantage of this opportunity? That is the question the following three speakers tackled.
First up was Amy Nicholson, Head of Editorial Content Services at Sticky Content and someone who describes herself as a genuine content nerd. She offered some practical hands-on tips for what marketers can do to ensure their content performs well on mobile.
She urged the audience to consider the user journey – what are they doing when consuming mobile content? The easy assumption is that they are out of home, and indeed the daily commute is a primary time for mobile engagement, but 97%of consumers now say they access mobile content at home, more than any other location, so the easy assumption may not always be the right one.
In practical terms she advises giving copywriters small screen templates so they create content that works for mobile screens first time. Indeed her advice was to follow the COPE principle – ‘Create Once Publish Everywhere’ – so rather than generate significant quantities of mobile specific content she works with her clients to produce content that can be used across channels.
To fail to plan
“Marketing departments and agencies are packed full of planners, but for some reason when it comes to mobile planning goes right out of the window,” said Jon Hook, Head of Mobile at Mediacom. He advised delegates to map out their campaigns in advance, clearly understanding objectives, audiences, messages, creative, and the attribution model that will be used.
He argued that too few brands get this right. Too many suffer from fragmented mobile marketing supplier networks that are over-complicated and lack the necessary scale and transparency for a successful mobile campaign.
Hook went on to give the example of Sony Xperia Z1’s mobile campaign, as one that succeeded in getting all these factors right. It targeted mobile ads at iPhone owners who were within three months of contract expiry. Those who had seen it became twice as likely to consider the Z1 as their next phone.
Engagement is everything
Alex Hewson Media Director at M&C Saatchi Mobile pointed out the continued importance of the app: according to Flurry Analytics, across the UK and US apps make up 86% of mobile online activity with the mobile internet comprising the remaining 14%. This is actually up from 80% in 2013.
“Any idiot can drive a high volume of app downloads,” said. “The real challenge is to ensure those apps are used, and that the consumer engages with the brand. After all half of apps lose half of their peak users after just three months. They key is to plan carefully and to use the best technology partners across email, social, ads, SMS, and all the other ways consumers interact on their mobiles.”
Questions from the floor covered the potential of geo-location data with speakers urging attendees to investigate the possibilities there but to beware technology firms whose enthusiasm and promises go beyond their ability to deliver, the risks around data privacy, and the emerging technology solutions to help brands understand activity levels within apps.
There was also much conversation around the challenge of attribution. How to quantify the role mobile has played in the customer journey to purchase. The panel largely concluded that this remains an ongoing challenge for any site that lacks the sort of universal identifier that Google or Facebook enjoys.
In offering final piece of advice for attendees to take away and start using immediately, the panellists returned to this theme of understanding the relationship between the different elements of the marketing mix, as well as the need to avoid assumptions about why a user is on your app or mobile site, and finally keeping up to speed with new technology and whilst remaining careful not to fall blindly for the latest shiny innovation.
As delegates left the session, immediately reaching into bags and pockets to fish out their mobile phones, they reflected that mobile may no longer be the next big thing – it has finally arrived – but there is still a long way to go before it becomes a mature and fully understood channel.
The next Outbrain event is in May, watch out for news of the date and details on CMA news.