Q&A: mobile advertising

/// Q&A: mobile advertising

December 21, 2012  |  Blog

Sultan Khan is CEO and co-founder of AdMaxim, an integrated mobile advertising platform enabling brands to reach consumers on the move, using precision targeting and real-time optimisation technology. He answers our questions on the future of mobile advertising.

There’s a controversial Trademob study which found that 22% of mobile add clicks are accidental and an additional 18% are fake – making 40% of clicks useless for mobile advertisers. Is this potentially damaging to the channel?

The figures the Trademob study is reporting seem very high – at AdMaxim we haven’t experienced this rate of accidental/fake clicks. Most major ad delivery systems have sophisticated technological solutions to deal with these problems. For example our technology is constantly monitoring for unusual patterns of clicks and any activity that is identified as fraud is immediately restricted and reported. We protect advertisers against the problem of click fraud by covering the cost ourselves.

The mobile sector is on top of the problem and I do not believe it is likely to hamper mobile’s phenomenal growth.

Mary Meeker has pointed to consumer shift from traditional print to mobile and tablets, yet brands have not followed (23% of US spend is in print and 1% in mobile). Why do you think brands have not followed consumers yet?

I think there are three reasons why investment in mobile lags behind consumer usage. First, the cost of producing highly engaging, interactive rich media mobile ads is much higher, than say, producing a print ad. Because mobile is a relatively new medium, clients want to see enough data to justify the additional cost that a big mobile ad campaign involves.

Second, typically of many nascent ad sectors, the mobile industry is awash with emerging technologies that each solve just part of the challenge for brands. Creating a successful mobile campaign means putting together a complex jigsaw of solutions which is both expensive and difficult to manage.

Third, mobile as a sector is terrible at communicating. Instead of speaking the language of marketing and brands, we force advertisers to try and understand ad-tech speak and this acts as a further barrier to entry.

How can we make the business case to brands and advertisers for mobile advertising?

Mobile as a sector needs to promote itself much better as an ad medium. We need to explain in the language of brand marketers, the ways in which mobile is transforming where, when and how brands engage with consumers. How, by combining the interactive functionality and rich media features of smartphones with powerful targeting technology, mobile has the potential to target consumers precisely and in real time with creatively engaging ads … relevant to where they are and what they are doing at that exact moment.

We also need to demonstrate how advanced some of the mobile ad delivery systems are when dealing with real-time campaign data, the ways in which they use learning algorithms to optimise campaigns and what this means … in terms of delivering ROI. This includes monitoring the performance of a mobile ad campaign in real time and fine tuning it while it’s live.

What are the main best practice recommendations for rich media advertising?

It’s really important to avoid a “one size fits all” approach. If you are running a rich media ad featuring video and interactivity you need to take into account a large number of different screen dimensions and device capabilities when creating and selecting the right ad in order to deliver optimal user experience.

Generally when it comes to mobile ads, attention needs to be paid to the types of devices the ads will be delivered to, especially when you are embedding video and audio assets or featuring interactive elements. Navigation should be simple and any action the consumer needs to take should be easy to complete. The key message/opportunity needs to be clear.

Creatively, rich media ads should be leveraging the increasingly sophisticated features of mobile devices, including interactive, geo-location and gyroscope technology so that brands provide a really immersive, engaging experience for consumers. These types of ads deliver substantially higher ROI.

Is real-time bidding the future for digital and mobile advertising?

Yes. Any auction-based market place is highly efficient because advertisers pay the price that the market decides rather than a price that has been artificially inflated.

It’s a much fairer pricing mechanism than the closed markets operated by some publishers. Most of the major inventory sources operate via real time bidding models — it’s increasingly the norm. This means publishers who stay away could end up losing out. Inventory markets based on real time bidding models reward performance. Consequently some publisher properties may see an increase in revenue while others may see revenues go down. However advertisers prefer these types of buying models because higher quality content yields better ROI for advertisers, higher revenue for content owners and more relevant and engaging content for consumers.

How do you create a meaningful rich experience for in-app advertising?

The key to successful rich in-app advertising is to deliver an interactive, immersive experience that connects with the consumer … it’s important to pay attention to the copy, make sure you get the navigation right and that any engaging rich media assets such as audio or video are performing optimally. The same is true if there is a location-based dimension to your in-app ad such as a store locator or money-off coupon for a nearby shop.

Does iAd have a future?

iAd will remain an important part of the mobile advertising mix rather than becoming the dominant player for two key reasons: the first is that iAd only serves ads to iOS devices (iPhones, iPod Touch and iPads) which account for 25%-30% of the total mobile market (market share has been diminishing as adoption of Google, Samsung and Microsoft devices increases).

However, advertisers want to run campaigns that target all device types and a much wider audience base.

Secondly, the pricing is seen as a real barrier to entry. When Steve Jobs launched iAd he said that the starting point for mobile ad campaigns was $1m. It has subsequently come down to $100,000 but that is still too high for many advertisers who are new to the channel and who want to learn how mobile advertising performs for their brands before allocating much higher budgets.

On the plus side, Apple is hugely innovative and iAd supports several interesting targeting options, consumers love their products and their inventory continues to grow, so the future of iAd is secure.

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