Recognize and celebrate mobile's differences
Some might imagine that the shortest path to mobile marketing success requires no more than applying the lessons learned on the desktop to these new devices. Aside from the fact that technology gets in the way, this thinking ignores some of the unique characteristics of mobile that make it such an exciting platform for marketers.
- Social and entertaining: Advertising on these devices should be too. Limiting their use to delivering 320x48 banners totally misses the boat.
- Dynamic and personal: Mobile fits into our daily lives the way radio or the newspaper once did, but on demand and 24/7.
- Application-based: Apps are incredible, but only if they add value. Brands need to think about whether the app will provide a compelling enough experience to matter to customers. It's important to remember that mobile doesn't begin or end with the app.
- For engaging, downloading, and sharing: Clicks and impressions are important, but they're only the tip of the capability iceberg with mobile. Social, sharing, and gaming create incredible opportunities.
- Mobile: Obviously. You can take these things with you, and thanks to HTML5, experiences can be created that live on multiple platforms.
- Relaxed: Unlike the desktop computer that makes us lean forward, mobile devices encourage us to lean back, relax, and enjoy our time with them.
Brands have a tough time understanding and adapting to the things that make mobile different and special. These aren't complicated ideas, but they are new, and that has made their effective adoption understandably slow. Big brands in particular -- the ones consumers trust and interact with the most -- need to be on the vanguard. They have the recognition, resources, and credibility to do exciting things that can capture the market's imagination.
Build and measure creative with a mobile mentality
Assuming you accept the differences between the desktop and mobile experiences outlined above (and you should!), it only makes sense that the implementation and measurement processes should be different as well. There's more to effective mobile marketing than simply reaching your intended audience. New and more creative campaigns that take advantage of the platform's capabilities are also critical.
Mobile invites us to do so many things we can't do on a computer: shake, speak, point, play, pinch, stretch, and more. All of those verbs can become elements in the relationship between a brand and a customer. Mobile is also the screen we use when we're doing something else, such as watching TV, going to a movie, or having a meal. This means it can be used to complement other campaigns and can function at various points in the funnel.
This flexibility means we need a new way to evaluate performance for this channel. Inventory takes on a different meaning on these devices. Obviously, display and in-app opportunities are recognized, but what about sponsored stories on Facebook? Promoted tweets? SMS campaigns? All of this is available to be tapped, targeted, and tracked. All of it can be measured and evaluated for its ability to reach audiences in meaningful ways.
It's the incredible potential of mobile that has so many marketers excited. Yes, there are roadblocks that cause concern, but there are ways to overcome these obstacles. Overcoming them will offer everyone -- users, advertisers, and brands -- a richer and more rewarding experience. It's time to move forward (and fast!), until those roadblocks disappear in the industry's collective rearview mirror.
James Lamberti is vice president and general manager of AdTruth.
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