Online and offline now intersect on mobile, and the signs of change are everywhere. Visit just about any store and you’ll see shoppers on their smartphones or tablets, with 82 percent of consumers using their mobile devices when making purchase decisions instore, according to Google. But Internet thought leader and venture capitalist Mary Meeker reports a $25 billion mobile advertising gap, underscoring the growing amounts of media consumed on mobile (now at 24 percent) versus the advertising that marketers actually allocate for the mobile channel (8 percent). In other words, brands are not taking advantage of a massive opportunity to engage consumers on their channel of choice.
Mobile advertising is uncertain territory for many companies. It’s been just eight years since Apple introduced the first iPhone. We’ve now collectively downloaded more than 350 billion apps. Time on devices grew 76 percent in 2014. U.S. users now look at their mobile devices more than their TVs.
Just a short time ago, mobile was viewed as an “influencer”, affecting sales in non- mobile channels. But in the first quarter of 2015, m-commerce revenue from smartphones rose 123 percent while smartphone visits to e-commerce sites bounded 269 percent over the previous year. Mobile has changed consumer behaviors in radical ways. As Google argues, preferences and decisions are made in “micro-moments”, and that’s where the new battle for the consumer is taking place.
A Single View of the Customer
To support companies as they answer this competitive call, VentureBeat recently published extensive research on the topic “Brands and mobile advertising: How to win”. I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with their vice president of Research, John Koetsier, to gain a deeper perspective on the findings. VentureBeat research indicates that delivering an ad to a consumer that is targeted to his or needs at the right time and the right way greatly increases engagement: 49 percent of Americans will pay attention, 17 percent will engage further, 24 percent actively check out the product or service, and 10 percent will buy or consider a purchase. Not stats to ignore for any brand!
But before you can effectively personalize and target what in-the-moment offers, you need unified omnichannel data. That’s because personalization requires context. When brands integrate customer-level data from the Web, mobile apps, email, call centers, offsite ad impressions – and everything in between – a much richer profile emerges with the potential to drive the highest conversions. You also need analytics to drive mobile app utilization rates and the marketing agility to make app changes in real-time based on actual consumer engagement data.
It is this single view of the customer and agility that is key to marketing in the moment. This is the foundation for making mobile advertising work.
- Launching Mobile Apps. It all starts with launching apps your customers will actually use. The average consumer may download 40 or 50 apps, but only uses five to seven consistently. Not surprisingly, relevance is crucial to app success. As Koetsier pointed out in his familiar, cheeky tone, apps need to “fill a hole, meet a need, solve a problem, anesthetize a pain, add awesomeness to a life”. And this is only possible with a thorough understanding of the customer across the entire omnichannel landscape.
- Optimizing Mobile Apps. Optimizing app experiences drives engagement within the app, increases downloads of app updates and improves ratings. It may also increase app adoption and advertising effectiveness. Marketers rely on app analytics to understand how an app is being used, and continuously test and optimize different content and experiences to boost engagement. To do this well, however, you must remain nimble. You need to be able to make app changes in real time, rather than go through the time-consuming task of re-submitting changes to the App Store first. Remember, high app utilization will directly or indirectly boost sales.
- Targeting and Personalization. While it is challenging to stitch data together across the customer journey, it’s essential to mobile advertising success. As Koetsier put it: “Brands that don’t connect online, offline, mobile and social look stupid. Customers expect you to know what product they have an interest in or bought in the past. If you haven’t connected the dots, you start to message things that don’t make sense, lack context, and strike the wrong tone.”
So what is the major take away? Know thy customer and meet their needs. Deliver on those critical micro-moments effectively, and you’ll be a hero by converting your prospects into customers. As Koetsier summarizes aptly: “If a brand can do this consistently, the brand becomes a superhero: liked, even loved, and promoted to friends and family.” Is your mobile strategy designed to create this level of fandom?
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