I attended the MMA Forum in Singapore and my key takeaway is that a rising number of advertisers and agencies believe passionately the mobile handset possesses functions that can be leveraged by savvy digital marketers to augment their brand building programs. The key is to define a strong enough reason to get users to pro-actively engage with the brand on their mobile devices. Indeed, advertisers should notice that brand engagement is increasingly initiated by the user, and not the brand owner. The latter should focus on creating as many opportunities as possible for users to engage with the brand. Such opportunities would include advertising mediums like billboards in shopping malls, bus stop shelters and subway screen doors.
QR code on a shopping mall billboard in Bangkok
Naturally, these opportunities must be representative to the lifestyle adopted by the brand owner’s target audience. By integrating the mobile element in the creative for these media assets, the digital marketer is expected to see the level of engagement increase from users of mobile device.
As mobile handsets increase in complexity, design and functions, digital marketers can use its unique hardware features to create different marketing channels for advertisers today. This will suggest that there is no universal metric for mobile as each channel function almost independently, and would require a unique set of metrics that are relevant to that specific channel.
Some of these metrics will include:
1. Mobile site
The channel will give advertisers the following metrics:
a. Page impressions
This refers to the mobile Internet site or ad-supported games accessed by users on a frequent basis that leads to page views or what is technically defined as page impressions. In this instance, this metric is no different from what most webmasters will do in traditional online tags from Netratings and Google Analytics are embedded to understand the traffic origins and user navigation patterns. This allows advertisers to analyse how users interact with the mobile property (i.e. site and games) and make adjustments to the user experience (e.g. eliminate user navigation flows that are accessed infrequently) if necessary to optimise the user experience on these mobile assets.
b. Users’ browser preferences
Despite the rising use of smartphones in Asia, many mobile users continue to use 2G handsets and its antiquated Internet browsers to access WAP-formatted sites. In this case, advertisers operating WAP sites have to accept that a traditionally-designed HTML page is simply not good enough as the look and feel is determined by how the browser interprets the HTML code and display it in accordance to the size of the screen.
Identifying the mobile handset’s browser type and configuration
In order to do this, the mobile site owner needs to analyse the users’ browser user agent which will transmit information such as the browser type and handset model to optimise the mobile users’ browsing experience. The mobile site owner can then use these codes and understand the user handset preferences and take active steps to ensure that the WAP site’s look and feel fulfils the visual requirements of popular handsets’ screen size.
c. Geographical location
If the WAP site is targeted to international mobile users, the IP address captured on the log file of the WAP site will gives the site owner an indication on the geographical location of the user who is accessing the site. You can then use this information to incorporate targeted information on the WAP site which is relevant to the user’s specific location.
2. SMS broadcasts
The traditional metric of success for SMS broadcasts is focused on the number of messages sent over the campaign period. However, the inclusion of a call-to-action (e.g. users replying to the SMS via an interactive menu) will allow the advertiser to obtain the following incremental metrics that will enhance the campaign’s customer experience:
a. Users’ mobile service provider
The replies from the customers via SMS will identify the user’s mobile service provider. Advertisers can also use the mobile service provider’s target market and market share as a proxy to determine which segment of the market is being addressed by the SMS campaign. Information about the mobile service provider is easily available if it’s listed on the stock exchange as they are compelled to post such information on their quarterly reports to the exchange.
b. Response date and time
Advertisers will be able to determine the period which most users will be accessible so as to fine-tune the broadcast time for future SMS campaigns.
What I described above can be applied to brand management and customer acquisition strategies as the metrics flowing back to the campaign owner will help improve the service proposition (be it a SMS or mobile site). This increases the future probability of a user committing to a clear call-to-action. Inevitably, this will fulfill the definition of a conversion, the same metric used on the online space to attribute the user’s engagement in the mobile campaign to actual business performance.