The start of the mobile revolution has been declared many times, but now, the numbers add up.
In just three years, mobile devices have overcome the PC and established a new medium for communications. To put things in perspective, the mobile connected universe of devices has achieved 10 times the reach of the PC Web in one third of the time. It took 17 years for the PC web to reach one billion connected devices, whereas mobile devices, mainly smartphones, will reach 10 billion in five years.
Mobile media consumption is growing fast, as people worldwide are now spending more time on their mobile devices than watching TV. In the U.S., people are spending about 142 minutes a day on their devices, compared to 135 minutes for TV and 96 minutes on PCs, making mobile the primary media consumption channel in
One of the most significant catalysts for this unprecedented growth is that mobile is the first truly global platform. The PC, as a sedentary, expensive device, was never capable of mass adoption; in fact, developing countries never saw PC penetration greater than 10 percent.
It’s clear to see that mobility has been thoroughly adopted. Now it’s time for advertisers and marketers to master the platform with both revolutionary and evolutionary advertising products as they continue to emerge. Innovation is everywhere—the mobile device itself, next-generation rich media ad formats, and data targeting—and businesses across the globe must rethink and re-execute their advertising strategies to communicate with the biggest and most unambiguous audience the industry has seen yet.
Mobile Innovation: Creative, Data Targeting and Analytics
Smartphones and tablets have redefined and expanded on-the-go capabilities. With large screens, engaging UIs and new cross-platform tools, our devices are entertainment-oriented, immersive and more emotional than the PC. Therefore, it’s likely that mobile will define creative for the 21st century. Already, rich media has transformed the mobile medium in a number of ways. The impact of HTML5 is a growing factor in engaging the mobile audience with easy-to-read content that’s enjoyable to consumers on the mobile screen. Cloud-based tools constantly push the creative limits for mobile ad content. This year, HTML5 will become central to an even more powerful and integrated ecosystem. HTML5 can help standardize mobile ads, but differences in device screen sizes, processing capabilities, available RAM and browser capabilities determine the kind of immersive experience you can deliver. Brands that are able to navigate that process will get more out of it, and they should work with partners that not only understand the ecosystem, but also have the technical capabilities to build and deliver products that enable them to give the right experience to the right device.
With the third wave of creative innovation imminent, companies will have to take into account distinct, contextual experiences in order to customize and best communicate with their audiences at scale and incorporate new data targeting capabilities. Whereas PCs contain 20 different variables that help to better identify a specific user, the mobile device is equipped with hundreds of variables—many of them still untapped.
The potential of new data technology is unprecedented, and new models will emerge based upon it. With new data available, targeting capabilities such as behavioral, social or geolocation are being redefined. A great example is mobile geo-targeting, which, in comparison to the PC-based Web, is moving into new dimensions—from ‘where you live’ to ‘where you are’ and geocontextual components. Therefore, now not only are we capable of learning about the block in New York City where we’re working or the town in Colorado we’re visiting, but we’re able to identify what floor of the high-rise we’re on or what the elevation is of the mountain we’re hiking. Geocontextual targeting adds a social dimension to geotargeting, offering information on the type of person you are based on where you spend your time. Next generation behavioral and social targeting, such as proximity-based targeting, focuses on not only where you spend your time, but with whom you spend it.
Of course with new exciting capabilities, these technologies will need to be protected by opt-in privacy advertising models.
Best practices for advertisers will include testing data quality and demand for new variables such as elevation, and partnering at the software development kit (SDK) level to establish wide-ranging innovation in meaningful and dynamic ways. Supporting these new innovations globally will strengthen your reach.
In addition to innovation in creative and targeting, new mobile analytics will proceed to be a critical, driving force for increasing advertising spending in this channel. Soon, cookies will be only one of the required forms of mobile tracking technology, and will need to be used in conjunction with other new types of tracking in order to ensure the highest level of scale and accuracy of ROI tracking.
The Global Platform: Today’s Success and Tomorrow’s Potential
Another distinct feature of the mobile channel is its ability to be on everywhere and at all times with a user. Already mobile devices account for more than a quarter (27 percent) of media time around the world, and the average mobile Web user consumes 7.2 hours of media daily. This, as well the fact that by 2015, 80 percent of mobile advertising spend will be from outside of the U.S., indicates that the vast opportunity for mobile is in a global setting.
Just how to execute at this global level is a great challenge, but it’s one that is possible, and necessary, to overcome. One region where the mobile ecosystem is likely to gain increasing focus of brands is the Middle East. In this region, usage through mobile devices and advertising impressions continues to soar, with smartphone platforms gaining significant traction. For example, impressions on the InMobi network have grown over 4x over the past year and smartphones now represent two of every three ads in the region. This ratio of smartphone impressions to advanced phones is third behind North America and Europe. As media consumption trends continue to change the landscape, paying attention to where growth is and leveraging mobile ads where and when applicable will ensure that campaigns are both dynamic and relevant. The lack of mobile standards and fragmentation inherent in mobile can make it difficult to execute campaigns. Therefore, advertisers must choose to partner with mobile experts to create compatible solutions.
Mobile represents true innovation in digital media; consumers all over the world, in developed and developing countries alike, will increasingly begin to retire other forms of communication and content consumption and look to their mobile device as their primary tool. By working to embrace new mobile capabilities as they emerge, we have the opportunity to create amazing experiences that can reach global audiences at scale in measurable and impactful ways.
“The Global Mobile Advertising Revolution Has Arrived” is used with permission from author Anne Frisbie, vice president and managing director for North America of InMobi (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/05/03/the-global-mobile-advertising-revolution-has-arrived/).