Tuesday Jun 03, 2014

Bad Spot to Be In: Playing Catch-up with Mobile Advertising

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.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: Kate Mallatratt, freeimages.com

Tuesday Aug 13, 2013

Social Mobile: Catch the Customer If You Can

gingerbread manWe’ve mentioned that more than ever, social is mobile. And while we’re at it, we should also point out that Internet connectivity is also mobile. There’s an old song called, “I’ve Got the World on a String.” Lyrics that were a fantasy in 1932 are now a literal expectation. We expect access to all the world’s information in our pocket, all the time, no matter where we are. No strings attached.

We also expect to accomplish whatever we need to get done, no matter where we are. That’s right, most mobile users are now surprised and even a little ticked off when an organization they need to interact with can’t be reached via their device. For social marketers, the opportunities are earthshaking. But at the same time, the task is ominous.

Consumers are moving at the speed of life, and you have to match that speed. It’s getting increasingly unlikely they’ll patiently wait for you and not look for alternatives.

Warning: Numbers Ahead:

  • Number of mobile subscribers around the globe: 5 billion.
  • Using smartphones to access social apps: 1 billion.
  • Number of times the average smartphone user checks social daily on mobile: 20.
  • Twitter time spent on a mobile app: 96.5%.
  • Facebook usage that comes from a mobile phone: 80%.
  • Amount of their online time mobile users spend on social: 30%.
  • Number of tablet units in usage today: over 70 million.
  • Amount of public Wi-Fi connections represented by mobile: 60%.
  • Time Pinterest’s audience spent on it via mobile app: 120,486,00 minutes.
  • What the number of Android activations exceeds: the US birthrate.
  • #2 tablet activity for users age 18-29: shopping.

To effectively execute as marketers on social, maybe we should think of ourselves as personal shoppers. Personal shoppers know what their clients like. They know when they’re going to need something. They know where the best choices and prices are. They’re not only responsive when the client reaches out, they’re proactive and do the reaching out if they have something they know will be of interest. They’re also readily available after the purchase in case something’s wrong. The keys to being the best personal shopper to your customers:

Know Them:
Use social listening tools to gather as much preference and behavioral data as you can. They don’t mind. One fourth even say ads on social don’t bother them provided the message has been tailored to them and makes their life easier.

Get Them What They Want:
Info, help, and goodies. Amazon’s PriceCheck app can scan an item in-store and show you the price and availability on Amazon. Instant reassurance you’ll get the best price. That’s your target, instant reassurance and gratification. As for help, 47% of consumers used social customer service, with 1 in 3 preferring to contact companies that way vs. phone. Goodies? Only 48% who used a check-in service got an incentive of any kind as a reward. That sure doesn’t pass the “why should I” test.

Be There 24/7:
Waiting until their need for you has passed isn’t going to do you any good. Better to have a proactive or real time strategy than to only operate in “crisis response” mode. However, for real time marketing to work, brands have to get a lot more nimble and empowered to respond.

Be Where They Are:
About 26% of tablet owners and 15% of smartphone owners look up product info after seeing a TV ad. Yes, 45% use their phone to compare prices while shopping, but a whopping 67% actually use their phone at home to shop and compare items. So don’t assume mobile means “not at home.”

Make it Easy:
The experience has to be fast, attractive, and relevant. If you’re going to make an app, make sure you know what your customers want to do on it first. Otherwise, keep your mobile site clean, simple and optimized. 90% report having to zoom to enlarge product text or images on mobile sites. Blah. Also, consumers are using more than one device, and using each differently. So consider relevancy not just in content but also in device context.

Photo: posterize, freedigitalphotos.net

Friday Feb 01, 2013

Surprise! Social IS Mobile

Woman with phoneYou probably saw the headline in at least one place this past week, “Facebook is Now a Mobile Company.” Yes, in the grand tradition of the social space moving ahead at an unrelenting pace, our working concept of what “social” is must already change.

Many brands and enterprise organization still haven’t caught up to the old concept of social. Now here they are confronted with a fundamental shift in social technologies and how the public wants to use those technologies.

What does it mean that Facebook is now a mobile company?

First, it means the public is increasingly deciding they want to access social networks on mobile devices as opposed to desktop/laptop. 680 million people, 64.2% of Facebook’s users, are using it on phones. For the first time ever, more daily active users are going on Facebook via mobile than desktop.

One infographic nicely summarizes why mobile is where social networks, social marketers, and anyone invested in social data want to be. Users are researching products on mobile while they’re in a store. They’re searching for local info, then calling or visiting brick and mortars afterward. They’re buying things on tablet and smartphone.

So Facebook had/has two pressing tasks; improve the mobile experience so users stick around longer, and capitalize on the revenue growth potential mobile offers…without tainting that positive user experience.

Moving away from the one-size-fits-all HTML5, the network focused on app design for each mobile operating system to maximize speed and features. In a year, they went from fewer than 24 mobile app engineers to hundreds. On-campus classes are held on Droid and iOS mobile operating systems. Mobile traffic responded positively to the new focus.

Now for the revenue part. Mobile beats every other kind of Facebook advertising when it comes to engagement. Average CTRs on mobile News Feed ads hit 1.738% compared to 1.254% on desktop, while overall mobile CTRs went up 34% for the quarter. The power of a smooth-running app presenting relevant value to customers wherever they are helped Facebook’s mobile revenue go from 14% to 23% quarter to quarter.

Questions remain. Can Facebook pull in mobile ad network buyers and close the gap with Google, with its 57% share of the US mobile ad market according to eMarketer? Can they find the sweet spot of how many mobile News Feed ads users will tolerate? Will App Install Ads, now used by 20% of the top 100 grossing iOS apps, keep growing? And can Facebook excel at creating its own mobile-first experiences like Poke?

Let Facebook worry about that.

All you need to know is none of this would be happening if the public weren’t broadcasting their intentions to use social on mobile, where they’re more likely to reward your presence there with engagement.

Adjust your mobile strategy accordingly, and make sure you’ve got an integrated socially enabled enterprise system by your side to wow those mobile customers and maximize the data they’re offering you.

Photo: Ambro, freedigitalphotos.net


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