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Digitas exec: Marketers not putting consumers first with native advertising

NEW YORK ? A Digitas executive at the Mobile Marketing Association?s SM2 conference said that although mobile native ad formats are not new to advertising, brands are still trying to figure out ways to deliver relevant content.

During the ?Native Advertising: The Catalyst for Growth in Mobile Media? session, executives from Digitas, Pandora and Locket spoke about the opportunities with native advertising as well as the challenges around scaling mobile ad formats. The session was moderated by Evan Conway, chief monetization officer at Pinsight Media+, Overland Park, KS.
?If you are trying to market and ultimately connect with your consumers, we have to provide value, and the way that you do that is to be relevant,? said Megan McCurry, Chicago-based vice president of media at Digitas.

?You have to find key moments that make sense and deliver something, whether it is a piece of content or a custom radio station, something that enables them to live their life in a better way,? she said.

?I think a lot of brands that want to get involved in this space have a very brand-centric view and not a consumer-centric view, so they go out there pushing the brand messages, but it?s not a ?This is what the consumer is saying, give them what they need.? It is something that you have to continually have an ongoing strategy and make sure that you have the right content to be making sure that you?re delivering a message that is relevant, and I think a lot of brands aren?t necessarily doing that ? they?re cramming their banner message into a space versus trying to find that relevant connection.?

Right content, right time 
According to Ms. McCurry, native advertising is all about finding the right creative and the right time to market to consumers.

This means thinking about a long-term strategy beyond a media buy and marrying up the creative and  media buy teams.

One of the main issues with mobile and native advertising is around scale.

However, Ms. McCurry pointed out that brands can amplify their native advertising buys with other mediums, including social media.

Take Taco Bell, for example.

The Digitas executive said that Taco Bell likes to test new digital and social efforts and uses owned media to support it.

M&M on the other hand chose to integrate itself into the Angry Birds app for a native mobile ad buy. According to Ms. McCurry, the impressions from the game were higher than if the brand had used a static mobile banner ad.

The panelists

More mobile spend
As marketers continue to incorporate mobile to reach new users, marketers are increasingly allocating more mobile budget spend, according to Ms. McCurry.

In fact, the executive said that she is seeing clients spend 15-20 percent of their digital ad budgets on mobile.

One of the main factors in that is research that supports that 50 percent of digital activity takes place in mobile.

?Folks like comScore, Nielsen and a lot of mobile publisher researchers are saying that 50 percent of all digital minutes are in mobile ? that?s a powerful stat that we can take to our clients and say, ?Boom ? I have to be there,?? Ms. McCurry said.