You probably noticed, there’s a mass migration going on from online desktop/laptop usage to smartphone/tablet usage. It’s an indicator of how we live our lives in the modern world: always on the go, with no intention of being disconnected while out there. Consequently, paid as it relates to mobile advertising is taking the social spotlight.
eMarketer estimated that in 2013, US adults would spend about 2 hours, 21 minutes a day on mobile, not counting talking time. More people in the world own smartphones than own toothbrushes (bad news I suppose if you’re marketing toothpaste). They’re using those mobile devices to access social networks, consuming at least 17% of their mobile time on them.
Frankly, you don’t need a deep dive into mobile usage stats to know what’s going on. Just look around you in any store, venue or coffee shop. It’s really obvious…our mobile devices are now where we “are,” so that’s where marketers can increasingly reach us. And it’s a smart place for them to do just that.
Mobile devices can be viewed more and more as shopping facilitators. Usually when someone is on mobile, they are not in passive research mode. They are likely standing near a store or in front of a product, using their mobile to seek reassurance that buying that product is the right move. They are the hottest of hot prospects.
Consider that 4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop, 52% of Americans use mobile devices for in-store for research, 70% of mobile searches lead to online action inside of an hour, and people that find you on mobile convert at almost 3x the rate as those that find you on desktop or laptop.
But what are marketers doing? Enter statistics from Mary Meeker’s latest State of the Internet report. Common sense says you buy advertising where people are spending their eyeball time, right? But while mobile is 20% of media use and rising, the ad spend there is 4%. Conversely, while print usage is at 5% and falling, ad spend there is 19%. We all love nostalgia, but come on.
There are reasons marketing dollar migration to mobile has not matched user migration, including the availability of mobile ad products and the ability to measure user response to mobile ads. But interesting things are happening now.
First came Facebook’s mobile ad, which let app developers pay to get potential downloads. Then their mobile ad network was announced at F8, allowing marketers to target users across non-Facebook apps while leveraging the wealth of diverse data Facebook has on those users, a big deal since Nielsen has pointed out mobile apps make up 89% of the media time spent on mobile. Twitter has a similar play in motion with their MoPub acquisition.
And now mobile deeplinks have arrived, which can take users straight to sub-pages of mobile apps for a faster, more direct shopper/researcher user experience. The sooner the gratification, the smoother and faster the conversion.
To be clear, growth in mobile ad spending is well underway. After posting $13.1 billion in 2013, Gartner expects global mobile ad spending to reach $18 billion this year, then go to $41.9 billion by 2017. Cheap smartphones and data plans are spreading worldwide, further fueling the shift to mobile. Mobile usage in India alone should grow 400% by 2018. And, of course, there’s the famous statistic that mobile should overtake desktop Internet usage this year.
How can we as marketers mess up this opportunity? Two ways. We could position ourselves in perpetual “catch-up” mode and keep spending ad dollars where the public used to be. And we could annoy mobile users with horrid old-school marketing practices. Two-thirds of users told Forrester they think interruptive in-app ads are more annoying than TV ads.
Make sure your brand’s social marketing technology platform is delivering a crystal clear picture of your social connections so the mobile touch point is highly relevant, mobile optimized, and delivering real value and satisfying experiences. Otherwise, all we’ve done is find a new way to be unwanted.