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Time Inc. exec: Mobile is about content, context and creative

NEW YORK ? A Time Inc. executive at the 2013 MMA Forum said that mobile?s opportunity for the publisher revolves around creating great contextually-relevant content and finding new advertising opportunities with creative.

During the ?Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together: How Strategy, Data, Creative and Media Come Together to Deliver Measurable Results? session, executives from PayPal, Pinsight Media+, Digitas and Time Inc. discussed the marketing implications around how consumers access content. Additionally, the session presented a look at some of the challenges that the industry faces going forward.

?Our audiences are moving to mobile incredibly fast, and the advertising opportunity is catching up, but it hasn?t quite caught up with the consumer,? said Cyrus Beagley, senior vice president and group general manager of advertising sales and marketing at Time Inc., New York

?For us, it?s all about content, context and creative,? he said. ?From the perspective of a premium magazine publisher, mobile is all about engaging content experiences, engaging brand experiences all in the right context.?

Publishing for mobile
According to Mr. Beagley, everything that Time Inc. does in mobile puts consumers at the center.

The three pillars of Time?s mobile strategy are around reimaging editorial content for the future, discovering the consumer value with every mobile opportunity and finding new advertising solutions.

Time Inc.?s audience reaches 20 million monthly mobile unique Web users and 18 million monthly unique tablet Web users.

Time Inc. has 18 mobile Web sites, 24 tablet magazines, 12 smartphone apps and nine tablet apps.

When it comes to content and context, it is critical that publishers think about how consumers will primarily access content.

For example, similar to other publishers Time Inc. sees mobile page views grow throughout the day, desktop usage peaks around noon and tablet usage is highest at night.

Additionally, research has shown that consumers access mobile content up to 40 times per day, meaning that keeping content quick and easy for consumers to access is key.

There are also big differences between smartphones and tablets. Smartphones focus on found time while tablets are about me time, per Mr. Beagley.

?We are really seeing that great content in the right context drive tremendous engagement,? Mr. Beagley said.

Time Inc. is also focused on the creative aspect with its advertising solutions with cross-platform solutions to make it easier for marketers to advertise at scale.

Additionally, many of these ad units are native to the site or are incorporated into contet. For example, one of the ad units is a locked banner that stays in place as consumers scroll down the screen to keep the brand top-of-mind for readers.

Mobile challenges
Marketers are increasingly investing more in mobile ad spend, according to Chia Chen, New York-based senior vice president and North American mobile practice lead at Digitas.

Between 2011 and 2012, Digitas saw an 400 percent in mobile media investment from brands.

Three reasons caused the spike in mobile spend ? better creative, an increasing mobile audience and growing engagement with mobile devices.

Marketers are getting better at taking advantage of the mobile device?s built-in capabilities, such as rich media from a creative standpoint.

Additionally, incorporating branded experiences into mobile games ? such as how M&M?s wove itself into the mobile game Angry Birds ? are particularly effective.

In the past year, targeting has also improved for mobile.

Although mobile spend grew significantly in 2012, marketers should be prepared for spend to see a smaller percentage growth this year, per Mr. Chen.

To unlock the next growth of mobile, three things will need to change around data and creative.

The first is reaching consumers in targeted moments.

Time plays a big role in how marketers should target mobile users. An ad for Taco Bell is likely to not be effective when served after lunch, for example.

The second challenge is around creating native advertisement opportunities at scale.

Being able to place sponsored content that matches a consumer?s reading habits can be incredibly effective. The trade-off though is that native ads are labor-intensive and do not reach a wide audience.

The final challenge is around performance. Being able to track a consumer?s behavior across screens will give marketers a better perspective on ad effectiveness instead of solely looking at conversions that are made on a mobile device.

?I think one of the things that we are getting better at is being able to select and target specific audiences,? Mr. Chen said.

?The thing that we are still missing is being able to combine that with being able to target specific moments that are relevant,? he said.

Final Take