No one questions the importance of the mobile screen. Yet, a few other critical questions about mobile remain.
How can we capitalize on the mobile explosion?
What are the most effective approaches to mobile marketing?
Marketers are still looking for the best approach for leveraging consumers' fascination with mobile devices. At the IAB, we are working hard to find those answers and our vision is clear: mobile marketing is at its best when it relates to behaviors and habits, not just the screen itself. But, does the perspective of today's budget holders line up with our views of mobile marketing's future?
When we launched the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence almost three years ago, the world was a lot more skeptical. We realized we needed input to form our agenda, so in 2011, we decided to go straight to the source – brand marketers - to get their thoughts.
IAB and research firm Ovum conducted a large survey of CMOs and valuable insights were gained. This year, we decided to repeat the study, in order to gauge the current state of mobile from the buyers' perspective. The results are in and are four biggest findings are:
1. Budgets are increasing.
In 2011, 7 percent of marketers had mobile ad budgets of $300K or more and now 32 percent do. That's huge. It demonstrates robust budget growth and shows that mobile ad revenue isn't just growing because more marketers are adding mobile to their ad budgets. It's also growing because existing mobile advertisers are increasing their spend.
When the IAB looked at the numbers in the survey and made calculations, we saw an increase of 142 percent in budgets from 2011 to 2013. This is across the board. Larger organizations, of course, have larger budgets, but the pace of increase is the same with large as well as small organizations.
2. Marketers place a great deal of importance on targeting.
It's not enough to simply reach consumers on phones and tablets. Marketers require assurance that their messages will be relevant. A majority (83 percent) of marketers stated that mobile targeting is important or very important to their mobile efforts.
While there are many ways to reach relevant mobile audiences, marketers find detailed demographics (cited by 48 percent of marketers) and general location information (43 percent of marketers) the most valuable today. In addition, more than half (54 percent) cited precise location capabilities as one of their top three device attributes for mobile advertising. Moreover, 42 percent of marketers cited Near-Field Communications (NFC) as a top device attribute, reinforcing the importance of key locations, with in-store and at the point of sale being particularly vital.
3. New mobile developments are of key importance.
Respondents to the survey were also asked to rank the top developments in mobile advertising. Responsive design took the lead, so marketers finally understand the need to have strong mobile web presence. This also links to the second development cited, namely HTML5. This protocol is becoming heavily adopted and therefore has become the de facto underpinning of mobile architecture. The third on the list is mobile native advertising. Native is a buzzword that we're all hearing at the moment and the mobile screen is leading the charge.
4. Marketers embrace the cross-screen media landscape.
The importance of cross-screen advertising is accelerating at lightning speed. Three-quarters of marketers in our survey said that multiscreen approaches are critical. Clearly, the days of thinking of mobile in a silo are gone and marketers have embraced the multiscreen reality consumers are living. This also means mobile is more likely to become part of overall marketing budgets.
We gave the marketers the last word and asked them to sum up the state of mobile in a single word. The most frequent responses where "growing," "evolving," "changing," "effective," "emerging" and "increasing." All of them are positive sentiments, pointing to a very positive future for mobile.
Read the full Marketer Perceptions of Mobile Advertising report from Ovum (ungated) on the IAB website.
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Anna Bager is vice president and general manager of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The Mobile Center, an independently funded and staffed unit inside the IAB, is charged with driving the growth of the mobile marketing, advertising, and media marketplace.
Prior to joining the IAB, Bager was heading business intelligence at Ericsson Multimedia and head of research at Ericsson's Business Consulting unit. Earlier, she was research and consulting manager for IDC EMEA.