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ESPN exec: Mobile creative could be better

NEW YORK ? An ESPN executive at the ad:tech 2012 conference said that marketers are facing several challenges in the mobile space, one of which is creative.

During the ?Reaching and Influencing the Mobile Consumer? session, the executive addressed the role that mobile plays for the company?s overall initiative. The session was moderated by Maarten L. Albarda, vice president of global connections at Anheuser-Busch, New York.

?Mobile creative could be better,? said Mary Sheehan, senior director of media and strategy at ESPN, New York.

?It?s too small, but we are seeing high click-throughs ? however, that?s because users are clicking on mobile now,? she said. ?But then again, there were people clicking on Web sites years ago.

?We have to figure mobile creative out and give that some consideration.?

Another platform
According to Ms. Sheehan, mobile is just another platform for ESPN.

The company really saw how important mobile was about 12-18 months ago - after seeing its consumers consuming content wherever they were.

?Mobile, whether smartphones or tablets, is just another platform for us,? Ms. Sheehan said. ?We have so much content that it?s hard right now to have it be uniformed across our different platform.

?When it comes to mobile and digital, it?s certainly a goal for us,? she said. ?We?ve realized that we need to have more consistency across our platforms.

?The problem is that usage is changing so drastically and you can?t keep up with development sometimes.

Growing market
The mobile ecosystem has changed over the years.

Smartphone penetration is growing at a rapid speed and there are a lot of things coming to the market ? including Windows 8.

It is important for marketers to be on as many platforms as possible and from there, understand how their customers are using and interacting with the company?s different platforms.

Additionally, marketers should focus more on how much time users are spending with their mobile content, as opposed to impressions, per Ms. Sheehan said.

The executive also believes that in the future, the way that marketers will put their content out there will change and it is going to have consumers thinking differently.

But, before that happens, marketers must overcome several obstacles, including measurement.

When it comes to measurement, marketers are still not there.

Furthermore, fragmentation is another problem.

There are millions of mobile applications out there.

The mobile landscape is very broad, but there is very little data out there.

Marketers must first figure out who their target demographic is and from there, test various channels and see which medium garners higher engagement.

?There needs to be more universality and there has to be consistency,? Ms. Sheehan said. ?I think we?re getting there.

?No platform is created equal, but there are people out there who are trying to make that happen.?

Right partners
Many marketers who first dip their toes in the mobile space first look to choose the right partners.

However, before they do that, Ms. Sheehan suggests companies first figure out what their objectives and goals are.  

?In the next 12-18 months, we?re going to see more personalized content,? Ms. Sheehan said. 

Final Take