Editor’s note: “Mobile Matters” is our ongoing series that features advertising industry leaders sounding off on the top issues, challenges and opportunities in the fast-moving world of mobile marketing.
In this week’s edition of “Mobile Matters” we hear from Pat Connolly, Vice President, Marketing Solutions, for the Condé Nast Media Group. He took on this question: What are the biggest areas of opportunity for mobile marketers in 2013?
While each of the last few years has been proclaimed “The Year of Mobile,” two important factors are now pushing mobile to reach a higher level of maturity, become a more established medium, and actually begin to reach its potential. One is the improved quality of the creative; the other is the enhanced research that identifies the behavior and habits of mobile users.
These elements are beginning to converge, and together they’re helping advertisers, creative agencies, and publishers create more meaningful and compelling experiences for consumers in the mobile space.
First, the creative. There are initiatives under way by creative agencies and others in the industry to create mobile content, design, and advertising that feels more customized and compelling, now that a sizable mobile audience is out there and more receptive to it. For example, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB ) is starting to introduce more creative standards around mobile advertising, which I believe will let creative groups play in a much richer and more interesting sandbox.
At the same time, there is a tremendous amount of research that is helping advertisers, agencies, and publishers like Condé Nast understand a little more about how people are starting to use these different devices, how they consume content, and how receptive they are to advertising. It’s making our company re-look at how we’re creating content for all media and devices--- how our content looks in print, how it lives in digital magazines and on the Web, and how to optimize the experience across different screen sizes.
As an industry, we’re finally starting to get more information to work with, so we can better understand how people are consuming content differently across all these different devices. For example, Condé Nast just published a white paper that highlighted some key insights about device usage, including the fact that 54% of smartphone owners use their devices primarily for communication, and 33% use them for entertainment. However, when you look at tablet use, that formula is flipped---63% of tablet owners use their devices for entertainment and only 32% for communications.
This is critical knowledge, but lots of advertisers and media companies still treat all mobile devices, regardless of operating system and screen size, as one thing under a big mobile umbrella. They need to move away from that thinking and understand that even though a device like a phone or tablet is inherently mobile, people behave differently with different devices, based on the size of the screen and the way they consume content on it. This philosophical shift has the potential to profoundly impact where advertisers spend their budgets, and what type of creative experiences they develop across platforms.
Mobile marketing is undergoing an evolution similar to that of traditional digital advertising. In the infant stages of digital, you had 468x60 banners that were pretty crude and often simply picked up design and content that existed on a print ad or billboard. If you look at the way creative concepts that we have on desktop-digital now have evolved, I believe you’ll start to see the same kind of progress with mobile.
Research is playing a huge role in that shift. Thought leaders in the advertising and publishing communities are using it to create more compelling marketing and content based on what we now know about mobile audiences, and how they’re using these devices. As a result, we’re starting to see an evolution from content and experiences that are adapted for mobile to ones that are truly native to the device they exist on. This will be what defines the Mobile Age.