With consumers spending a significant and growing amount of time on major mobile applications such as Snapchat and Shazam, ad agencies cannot afford to overlook the potential these platforms hold for their clients, a fact made clear this week by announcements from WPP and Havas Groups Mobext.
Mobile marketing experts such as Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker and analysts at Forrester Research have been hammering home the point all year that several key apps are evolving into significant digital channels for many consumers. By partnering with these apps, agencies are trying to lock in priority access while broadcasting their commitment to improving mobile advertising experiences.
It appears clear to us that we must be forward thinking and embrace a strong partnership relationship with key applications if we want to truly engage audiences where they are every day, and do it in a way that matches the codes and usages that correspond to their regular habits and their real purposes for using mobile devices, said Marco Rigon, global head of Mobext.
These partnerships go far beyond the pure media approach to be able to deliver fluid experiences to users, he said. The real idea is to allow advertising to adopt the same fluidity of experience as the world of entertainment.
A banner does not necessarily deliver value to the final user, while an application such as Shazam does, or other star apps, do. Thus, wise integration of brand relationships into daily user experiences on these apps will deliver true value.
On average, 86 percent of the time spent on smartphones is spent using mobile applications, per Mr. Rigon. However, that usage is highly concentrated, with only five to eight applications used on a daily basis.
With this in mind, Mobext this week announced a global partnership with Shazam, along with ad network Mobile Network Group.
Mobext, which claims to be the worlds largest mobile agency, is the mobile arm of media conglomerate Havas Group.
Also this week, media conglomerate WPP, in collaboration with DailyMail and messaging app Snapchat, announced Truffle Pig, a joint content marketing venture that will combine agency, newsroom and social media capabilities. Truffle Pig will test story-driven marketing and creating vertical video view ads on Snapchat.
Diving for dollars
While mobile budgets are growing, they are still relatively small compared to TV, leaving the leading apps to compete for the dollars that are available. By partnering with agencies, they hope to lock in a certain amount of business.
Consumers are consolidating the number of apps where they spend time, said Julie Ask, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. For brands/advertisers, finding and engaging their consumers on third-party apps like Snapchat and Facebook becomes increasingly important.
Moreover, there are relatively few mobile advertising dollars compared to TV, online, etc., she said. Competition for these dollars is still fierce.
Ad networks - or companies like Facebook and Snapchat - have to compete with audience, targeting, ROI demonstration, and other analytical tools.
Snapchat has quickly gained appeal with numerous big brands this year, reflecting the importance of messaging apps with younger consumers and the platforms efforts to extend it reach with digital content.
Digging data While Shazam gained popularity as a music discovery service, it continues to build its offerings as a second-screen app and beyond, including recently introducing image recognition. The Mobext partnership will include the sharing and exchanging of data for global retargeting and profiling.
This partnership gives the agency deeper knowledge and data to create and pilot mobile media and content campaigns, said Paul Amsellem, CEO of Mobile Network Group. The entertainment industry is one of the most active on mobile with games, music and video.
Shazam gives Mobext the ability to better decode and understand music usage on a global scale, he said.
According to Mobext, the partnership with Shazam grew out of several client successes with Havas Group agencies. These include Carrefour driving 300,000 interactions by extending a TV campaign through Shazam and Peugeot achieving 145,000 downloads after running a TV spot that included Shazam recognition and a mobile site.
The opportunity to partner with an application such as Shazam clearly appeared to us as the first step towards the implementation of a mid-term vision, Mobexts Mr. Rigon said. Music is among the most used services on smartphones, with an impressive progression, and is by far one of the most engaging.
The level of reach and engagement that users have with the Shazam app are impressive, and the new services such as image recognition open up a large set of opportunities to further capitalize on the existing user base, he said.
Final Take Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York
News Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at email@example.com.