Marketers pressured to match strides with mobile-savvy consumers: IAB report

More consumers want to respond in the mobile marketplace with their digital wallets or the swipe of a phone, ratcheting up the pressure on marketers to catch up, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau?s new report on ?The State of the Mobile World.? 

The IAB?s third annual international anthology of IAB mobile perspectives, which analyzed data from IABs in 30 countries, noted that regardless of the place, consumers lead the way, leaving media companies, agencies and brands puzzled by mobile or unsure how to respond to the shift of the digital audience to phones and tablets. The findings underscore the need for marketers to get up to speed in meeting the demands of increasingly mobile-savvy consumers.

"The notion that marketers are playing catch-up in mobile was a key point made this week by Jim Farley,? said Jeff Hasen, president of consulting firm Gotta Mobilize, of remarks by Ford?s head of global marketing, sales and service at the Mobile Marketing Association?s SM2 Innovation Summit in New York.

?It gets down to ROI,? he said. ?Marketers have generally been slower than consumers in jumping in on mobile because they couldn't see a clear path to measurement that proved results from a large mobile spend.?

Selling point
The report also observed that regardless of the phase or state of mobile adoption, location is the universal unique selling point of mobile.

?Location is the fundamental core of mobile marketing,? said Brett Kohn, vice president of marketing with Thinknear. ?It's the one thing that makes mobile different from every other channel and it creates an extremely powerful set of tools for a marketer. 

Android Web site tablet ad.

?Historically, mobile marketing has focused on targeting specific apps to reach a desired audience,? he said. ?What we know now is that location is a much better targeting and marketing tool. Location tells us about a person's habits and lifestyle; where they work, where they play and who they are.? 

Many IABs participating in the study cited video as a major mobile opportunity. Video generally is seen as a great mobile use case because it is highly engaging and relatively easy to track.

?Consumers are spending a ton of time watching mobile videos and the application for marketers is only limited by budgets and willingness to commit to the channel,? Mr. Kohn said. ?Video is expensive to produce and like other mobile content, it's best served when built specifically for mobile. 

?The 30- and 60-second ad units from television won't be able to compete with the six-second and sub-15 second content created specifically for mobile.?

Marketers? common task is developing ad formats to better fit mobile, according to the report. Many brands are leveraging online desktop strategies and creative that are then repurposed for mobile while others fail to make the creative contextually relevant. 

?When the content is relevant, the consumer is happy and the brand benefits,? Mr. Kohn said. 

Mobile playbook
In August, Adidas and the Mobile Marketing Association released the Mobile Marketing Playbook to help less experienced companies get up to speed on mobile quickly by following the example of leaders in the space. The playbook takes marketers through the process of mobile strategy development from start to finish.

Relevant ad content keeps consumers happy.

The playbook provides best-practice tips around mobile executions, ways to leverage the myriad mobile vehicles, insights into mobile creative effectiveness and how companies can effectively measure and optimize mobile.

?For brand marketers, mobile can be a very difficult field to navigate,? Mr. Kohn said. ?Technologies evolve quickly and just sorting through the onslaught of competitors for any particular service is a full time job. But those who put down the big bets and commit to mobile will be the winners.? 

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.