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Getting Mobile Right

  |  April 11, 2014   |  Comments

As we move on from the Year of Mobile to the Age of Mobile, marketers and brands must design for consumer utility and distraction, as the majority of mobile time is spent in an app.

This week I'm speaking at Millward Brown Digital's dCMO summit. The topic: Getting Mobile Right.

I've got my big proclamations ready:

The Year of Mobile is past; we are now in the Age of Mobile.

I've got my data points ready:

  • Facebook's revenue from mobile growth in the last 18 months
  • Twitter usage on mobile devices 
  • Consumer growth potential in smartphone adoption and usage

All I need now are case studies validating that brands have caught onto this and finally realize the Age of Mobile. And that's where this gets really interesting. Because, while consumers continue to walk the walk, brands still struggle to learn the language, let alone talk the talk.

Recently I was with a brand that shared its view on app vs. mobile Web - build for Web because app exposure and usage is problematic and rarely cost-effective. I tend to agree with that philosophy for most brands, except when you consider that mobile Web usage has dropped from a seemingly low 20 percent in 2013 down to 14 percent in 2014.

Sure, some brands are doing things well on mobile - creating content, building followings and facilitating evangelism from the masses, and even knowing when and what to pay to extend that reach and engagement.

But because of the challenges ranging from tracking and privacy on one hand, to poor ad format and inventory options on the other, the number of brands getting it right is not nearly as significant as one would think it should be based on the validity of the bold statement and supporting data above.

So, what can and should brands do to "get it right"? In my opinion, it starts with designing for consumer utility. If more than 85 percent of mobile time is spent in an app, it signals that consumers want utility and distraction. Video content consumption, gamification of life, and quantified or qualified value are paramount to success.

Mobile is currently complicated by hardware manufacturer controls, carriers, app ecosystems, and infrastructure specific to content and advertising. That's all before a consumer may ever come in contact with a brand.

The harsh reality is most brands tie investment in media to investment in understanding a channel. Getting mobile right is definitely about "the life." And for a brand, you will not win in mobile if you believe that what you are winning at is a media channel. This is a consumer transformation that requires business transformation. That's how you get mobile right.


Chris Copeland

Chris Copeland is chief executive officer of GroupM Next.

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