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Capital One exec: Mobile is interactive piece that bridges traditional, digital channels

Capital One and Caesars Entertainment executives who spoke during a Mobile Marketer webinar yesterday said they will allocate more resources to mobile next year as they look to take advantage of the significant growth of the platform.

During the Mobile Outlook 2013: Up, Down or Flat? Webinar, the Capital One executive said that marketers need to understand how mobile is not only bridging the gap between traditional and digital channels but also blurring the lines. As a result, brands need to have a strong understanding of what mobile means to their target audience.

?Mobile is really blurring the lines in addition to bridging the gap between traditional and digital channels,? said Denny Suh, digital brand manager of Capital One. ?In the past, we have looked at mobile as a single entry as part of the media plan but next year we are really looking at how do we use mobile as that interactive piece.

?The beauty of mobile is that it is everywhere so how do you take advantage of that as a marketer,? he said.

?As we look at what mobile can be, the question is how much and how are we going to spend to take advantage of that effectively. That doesn?t necessarily mean huge investments but how we can be smarter, more efficient and nimble in mobile.?

The year to come
In terms of what to expect from the year ahead, the mobile adoption rate will continue to grow, with consumers demanding brands and retailers deliver great mobile experiences.

Additionally, mobile commerce is going to continue to take off following strong results over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and a forecasted jump during December in advance of Christmas. As a result, mobile commerce will become increasingly important for marketers.

While mobile is adding hundreds of billions of impressions to digital media inventory, with the proportion of visitors coming from mobile devices growing very quickly for some brands. However, lower CPMs in mobile are likely to cause blended CPMs to decline significantly next year for multichannel media companies and to drive consolidation in the mobile media networks.

Next year is also likely to see mobile graphs created from all the mobile-generated consumer data available used at scale by marketers.

?Overall, the demand is going to be lagging supply in the mobile media space throughout 2013,? said Chia Chen, innovative digital marketing leader of Digitas. ?This is going to cause publishers and media networks with multichannel businesses to have overall CPMS be compressed.

?The upside is that context becomes more actionable at scale through the emergence of the mobile graphic,? he said. ?Contextual cues are going to be able to be integrated into the experience and in 2013, we will be able to use context in a much higher way.

Depressed CPMs are good news for brands that are out there actively testing in the mobile space.

?Our culture is that we have a heavy test and learn environment,? Capital One?s Mr. Suh said. ?So with depressed CPMs, it allows us to get out there with a little bit more scale on what we are trying to do to really understand and diversify what we are trying to do.?

Next year?s breakout star
The mobile channels likely to undergo significant growth next year include video, the mobile Web, social networks and mobile advertising.

?Video has been a part of advertising for some time,? Mr. Suh said. ?But we?ve seen a huge engagement in mobile, which tells us that consumers are willing to give us that time as long as the content is engaging.

?We have the permission as long as marketers can keep the content engaging,? he said.

?We will be looking at how do we extend our advertising and point of view into non-TV advertising that consumers are going to want to engage with.?

The changing consumer
Mobile is changing the consumer in several ways by making things such as depositing a check or making a dinner reservation easier. This means marketers need to keep in mind the need to solve problems in their mobile offerings.

Mobile is also stretching and compressing the decision-making process.

?We have created the right-now mentality where people want to act immediately,? said Doug Stovall, executive vice president of sales and services at Hipcricket. ?We now see a mass-market adoption of this mentality by older generations.

?Also, early adopters are now using two mobile platforms ? a tablet and a phone,? he said.

The unexpected
The year to come may hold some surprises in the mobile space but marketers can prepare themselves by taking a look back at the early days of traditional display because many of the same issues are likely to come up.

Brands should also take a look at the significant number of smartphones that continue to ship worldwide and prepare themselves for the growing role that smartphones will play next year.

Part of the preparation should entail recognizing that we are shifting away from a PC-centric digital world, meaning digital strategies need to be mobile at the core.

?In 2013, the surprise is going to be how suddenly such a bigger proportion of digital interactions with brands is going to come from non-PC devices,? Digitas? Mr. Chen said. ?It is approaching 40 to 50 percent now and we see that is really going to accelerate in 2013.

?All of sudden a lot of brands whose digital strategies are built on having PC at the center will wake up to realize that a significant portion are coming from non-PC devices,? he said.

Lessons learned
Marketers learned several important lessons in mobile this year, including that fragmentation is still an issue and the need for an all encompassing strategy.

It also became clear just how important it is for brands to build up their chops as it relates to the mobile Web.

Another important lesson was not to count on NFC technology just yet as it is moving slowly. Instead, focus on more widely adopted technologies that are generating results.

Another lesson is the enduring relevance of SMS.

?We are betting big on SMS,? said Eric Petersen, director of new media at Caesars Entertainment. ?SMS is hugely important to our business.

?We are using SMS to keep customers within our Caesar?s footprint and to drive to our different outlets,? he said.

?We are going to test different gamification campaigns with MMS, such as scratch-to-win.?

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