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Mobile marketing experiences fall short of expectations: study

Marketers came up short in an analysis of consumers? mobile expectations, pointing to the need for brands to step up their mobile game.

The 2012 U.S. AdReaction Report from Millward Brown found that consumers have very high expectations for mobile marketing but, for the most part, their experiences are falling short. Users expect apps, mobile sites and ads to work and are disappointed when they do not, which is often.

?By and large, marketers are falling short when it comes to pleasing mobile users,? said Joline McGoldrick, research director at Millward Brown?s Dynamic Logic unit. ? Good news is ? the window?s open for mobile marketers ? consumers are receptive to it and as of now, it?s a wide-open playing field.

?While some brands have succeeded in mobile innovation and branding, there?s still a lot of testing and learning to be done and there?s a huge opportunity for marketers to make their mark,? she said.

Low favorability ratings
While mobile ads can be significantly more effective than online ads at increasing brand awareness, message associate and purchase intent, the report from Millward Brown, New York, found that only 11 percent of smartphone users and 16 percent of tablet users are favorable toward mobile advertising.

While favorability rates are low for mobile advertising, they are significantly higher for other media, highlighting the fact that there is an opportunity for brands to win over consumers who are open to being advertised to. The favorability rate for magazines ads is 30 percent and for TV ads, 27 percent.

?Mobile is proven to be an effective medium to build brands,? Ms. McGoldrick said. ?Marketers should take advantage of this unique platform but focus on getting it right."

?It?s important to remember that a strong mobile strategy consists of several layers ? mobile apps, Web sites and display should all work together but offer something unique,? she said. ?Each should have a specific objective and all should be strictly targeted.?

Mobile opportunities
With mobile ad spending expected to grow significantly over the next few years and mobile penetration also expected to increase, other key findings also underscore the opportunity in mobile marketing. For example, 55 percent of users consider their device indispensable and 55 percent feel having a mobile device makes them more efficient.

Additionally, almost half of mobile users interact with a brand on their mobile device after receiving a recommendation from friends or family members while one-in-four mobile users are willing to give up privacy about their location to receive relevant content.

Other key findings include that one-third of mobile users report taking an action in response to mobile advertising and one-third say that receiving deals or promotions on mobile improves their opinion of the brand.

Getting it right
The report also provides a roadmap for marketers to drive brand growth through effective mobile marketing, with recommendations for how to win over audiences and build value for brands.

When it comes to mobile display ads, marketers need to offer a clear call-to-action as no other medium is more primed to engage a consumer on the spot. Marketers should also target ads based on the person, the moment and location as well as develop integrated campaigns that use display ads to drive traffic to an optimized Web site or app.

In terms of mobile Web sites, the report recommends marketers make their sites fast, clean and functional and be sure to not value entertainment over competence. Additionally, it is important to keep the latest news at the top of the site and tailor it to a user?s location. 

Mobile apps should be user friendly, crash-proof and free of charge. They should also be relevant to the core target and primary use without draining the battery. Once these elements are in place, apps should be designed to surprise and delight.

?When you think of having a mobile presence, you assume people want the wow factor, but based on this data and in-person interviews, it?s clear that it?s more about getting the essentials right first,? Ms. McGoldrick said.

?People want mobile Web sites and apps to be fast, functional and offer value,? she said. ?Focus on that first, then aim to surprise and delight.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York