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How Long Will It Take for Brands to Catch Up to the Mobile Consumer?

  |  May 19, 2014   |  Comments

Consumers are living their lives mobile-first, so why haven't brands and marketers fully invested in the space?

Many pixels have been darkened (the modern equivalent of "much ink has been spilled") explaining the potholes that mobile advertising budgets encounter on the road to getting a proportionate share of the marketing budget. The consumer eyeballs have been there for a while, and now, the wallets are catching up to the eyeballs.

While the time is ripe for brands to invest, many mobile advertising budgets are still lagging. Why is this? Some common reasons: it's the form factor, it's the reach, it's the privacy question, it's the Oss, it's the measurement, it's the agency, it's my IT...wash, rinse and repeat.

No worries. I'm sure it's nothing another Lumascape can't cure. Perhaps we're overthinking and over-engineering the situation. Without the cookie crutch in mobile ad targeting, there is an enormous amount of gymnastics taking place to affirm, or ascribe, or emulate the characteristics of the consumer receiving the mobile ad impression.

Each effort to explain how the ad got targeted, delivered, and measured can take 87 percent of the oxygen out of any meeting. Multiplied by the infinite number of meetings taking place each year about mobile advertising, that's a lot of oxygen and labor hours burned to still have mobile ad budgets this far behind the consumer behavior dedicated to mobile screens.

Consider the amazing mobile pivot Facebook accomplished in recent years. With more than 70 percent of Facebook traffic coming from mobile devices combined with the ability to use the data any marketer loves the most, their own, by permissibly matching to those mobile eyeballs using their own marketing database, it is possible that the technological speed traps for targeting and measurement do not have to be that complicated.

But why stop with Facebook?

There are perpetual eyeballs and wallets on eBay, too, and what about 4INFO? And Twitter? Not to mention, more than 50 percent of Yahoo traffic is mobile. All of these let the brand control the audience definition through permissible matching of their own database intelligence and metrics.

It's similar to the saying in the automotive industry, "If you were to build the first automobile today, you would not create the internal combustion engine." Knowing that the consumer needs to be in control of the mobile experience, if we step back and look at the crazy quilt of technology at work in mobile advertising, the answer has to include a more direct, no-surprises route from the brand to the consumer, where the brand knows who they reached and the consumer understands why the brand wanted to reach them.

And let's be sober about the mobile channel. Mobile alone is not going to float the entire brand enterprise. The real benefit to the agency and the chief marketing officer (CMO) down this path of direct targeting is that it makes it so much easier to show how mobile fits into the whole of the marketing and media mix.

Instead of having to translate across the Tower of Babel between mobile and all other media channels, using an audience definition directly out of the CMO's marketing database means the audience matched and reached in the mobile ad buy can be the same audience definition used everywhere.

And with that capability, mobile advertising and its budget can move closer to the center of the marketing operation, just as it has already moved to the center of our everyday, consumer lives.

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Dana C. Hayes Jr. is an experienced executive in television, publishing, and digital media focused around advertising, content, and technology.

As Group Vice President of Global Partner Development for Acxiom, Dana leads a new growth strategy focused on building strategic partnerships and distribution relationships to advance data-driven marketing and advertising globally. Given this array of exposures, he has an integrated perspective on how data can be better used within the enterprise and writes from this perspective for the brand's internal media planners or for the ad agency community.

He has held a number of leadership positions around leading the ad sales teams in print, television, and digital. Dana has also been involved in launching digital products, business development, marketing, and ad operations. His portfolio includes both New York and Chicago companies with the following media brands: Travora Media, Tribune Interactive, Turner Broadcasting, The Travel Channel, and Weather.com. During his tenure at Tribune Interactive, Dana led the creation, development, and funding of the Joint Venture quadrantONE.com, a premium national ad platform for online newspaper and television publishers including investors NYT, Gannett, Hearst, and Tribune.

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