July 17, 2009
What Will it Take to Bring Mobile Marketing Mainstream?
Brad Stone from the New York Times moderated a panel at yesterday's MobileBeat in San Francisco on mobile advertising and what will it take to bring it mainstream.
On the panel was Velti's Alex Moukas, AJ Rhodes from Disney Interactive and MediaSmith's David Smith.
"It’s not that people move from TV to the web then to mobile," says David Smith. When you look at the kinds of companies that spend a lot of money in mobile, they're companies with huge budgets who have spent all they can on television and magazines. A lot of companies that are doing web advertising are doing so to drive people to a particular site to have a specific kind of experience."
Brad asks AJ, “do you know who the person is who visits the Disney site? Do you know their preferences so you an deliver a targeted ad? How do you do the same thing on a mobile phone?”
AJ says that they don’t know a lot about that visitor in a consistent way on mobile. There are mechanisms they have put in place to find out more however. He says, "you can register on your mobile phone using your online account so some information is attached to that. For us, it’s about going directly to the consumer.”
David pipes in, “we care about who’s on the other side of the mobile device. It’s all attribution. As we do more with video and video is going to be huge for mobile, people will be exposed to that ad on the web and through television.
It’s all got to be opt in, and you have to give something back to the consumer for opting in. On the web, the consumer never got anything back for a company grabbing their cookie.” He strongly emphasizes how important it is to learn from what we didn't do right on the web and proactively do it differently out of the gate for mobile.
Says Alex, “the problem with mobile is that there is no silver bullet. There’s no single thing that you can increase efficiency and effectiveness. Mobile is a crucial component but it’s not the only thing.”
AJ pipes in, “absolutely. Mobile video is huge and it’s increasing every month on all handsets not just on the iPhone. Text alert groups work really well – people are really interested in our brand, so if we do something around Disney Radio, people want to get it. Video and games are both really important…..it creates a lot of engagement on our site."
David picks up the thread where he last left off about 'doing it right early on' - “mobile needs to band together and make sure they’re following protocol and being smart about how they deal with consumers so they don’t have Congress breathing down their neck next year or year after.”
Then he moves to direct response, “mobile has been in danger of being all about direct response but it has a chance with video to be much more branding in its orientation. We use something called ‘branded response,’ which is proving to be effective.
We don’t think screen size matters to a generation who grew up playing games on a small screen. Mobile on small screens can be used for branding as long as we can get the reach.”
For all of these guys, engagement is important. While there has been less effort on brand awareness since it's harder to measure than it is on the web, convergence is happening so that will change. It's clearly being driven by customers who measurably increase their sales.
Twitter had to come up at some point and so it did - from the audience. The question was not only is Twitter important but do these guys recommend it as a marketing tool?
David runs with it first, “Twitter is awfully powerful. There are a lot of things that Twitter can do. In the search area, you can parse Twitter and target people who are only interested in certain conversations. We’ll likely see Twitter licensing to Google or Microsoft – there’s a huge private auction going on between them…..before the end of the year, we’ll be seeing a platform.
More money will come out of Twitter on applications. Things will merge and then will we even be able to tell the difference? There will be huge opportunities across the board, licensing, advertising, search, ecommerce and third party applications.
All of these things will be ‘like’ advertising but not necessarily in the form of large banners in your face. There will not be one magicical thing but we will see a huge convergence.”
Alex Moukas talks about the Asian market, which he says is the most evolved. Half of his business is in Europea, roughly 20% in the U.S. and 30% in Asia. "We don't make money unless our customers do, so it's performance based. In Asia, we feel it's much more measureable. People are moving towards performance-based campaigns."
iPhone and Android are providing tremendous opportunities for all of them. Even though that's the case, David reminds us that while the iPhone is clearly changing our industry, it still only has a 5% penetration.
As for parting advice: “don’t try to do something that worked two years ago. You really need to raise the bar because it's more competitive - wallpaper and ring tones won’t work. People want interactivity and applications that make their lives easier."
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