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Data concerns replace creative as major mobile marketing issue for brands: survey

A new survey?s finding that a lack of quality data has replaced creative constraints as a major issue for mobile advertisers points to how organizations are embracing mobile?s critical role in the customer experience. 

London-based Affable Digital?s Mobile Advertising Insight Survey, which polled 120 decision-makers at brands such as Unilever, Nestle, Diageo, Rolex and Audi, also found that mobile marketing budgets are continuing to grow rapidly as the global economy moves on from years of austerity. The findings suggest that after years of progressing cautiously, marketers across categories are finally beginning to move with greater confidence into the mobile space, heeding critics? call to increase budgets and ramp up integration to benefit from mobile?s role in the customer experience.

?What we're seeing here is less about solely the growth of mobile advertising ? and more about the growth of an entire movement, all pointing towards mobile,? said Yoni Solomon, product marketing leader at Vibes, a Chicago-based mobile marketing technology company. ?This marks a shift in the way organizations think about their advertising, marketing and commerce strategies.?
Unclear role
The survey found that this year, 59 percent of brands will see mobile budgets increase more than 25 percent while 20 percent will see them double. Fifty-seven percent are dissatisfied with their mobile strategy, citing problems understanding mobile?s role, while 78 percent complained about the lack of quality mobile-advertising data.

The growth in mobile advertising budgets shows that as the market becomes more mobile-savvy, consumers not only want their favorite brands to be in this space ? but expect it.

?Brands have to increase their mobile budget in order to fund programs (both advertising and marketing based) that will connect to their most valuable customers ? their mobile ones,? Mr. Solomon said. 

Although creative constraints are not as pressing an issue for mobile advertisers as previously, brands are still trying to figure out where mobile fits into their org chart and how it ties into their current marketing mix and customer journey, Mr. Solomon said.

?There's no doubt the creativity is there,? he said. ?With every passing quarter, I'm seeing more and more innovative mobile advertising strategies. 

The lack of quality data underscores why organizations need to find a mobile partner to truly win in this space, Mr. Solomon said.

?A true mobile partner will have a complete understanding of the mobile ecosystem and its technologies ? while also having access to the latest data in the space you'll need to justify continued investment in mobile.? 
Mobile ad for Kraft Foods' Philadelphia brand. 

The survey found that 92 percent believe new data sources will be increasingly important going forward, and 89 percent are prepared to pay a premium for better targeting. It also found that 73 percent believe operators have a key role to play in the future of mobile advertising. Fifty-eight percent believe growing audiences in emerging markets are key to their success moving forward.

With annual mobile-advertising industry spend expected to top $95 billion by 2018, according to eMarketer, the survey concluded that this is an excellent time for mobile operators to build and scale their advertising businesses.

Incredible opportunity
?Operators have an incredible opportunity,? said Tim Letheren, director and co-founder of Affable Digital.

?They have qualified data on consumers and now the tech is there to allow it to be used with the highest security and privacy allowances. But this window is not indefinitely open. They have to start moving to be able to stake their claim.?
?Operators do not want to be in the position they are with OTT messaging apps which saw them move too late and now lose ground on the what?s apps of this world. Ultimately enhanced data sources allow advertisers to get closer to target individuals rather than mass audience groups as per other media.?

Final Take

Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.