In mobile advertising, supply and demand continue to be out of sync. The UK ad industry is pouring more money into mobile (the market was up to £1.62 billion in 2014 according to the IAB/PwC Digital Adspend Study, Apr 2015) and the demand for high-quality ad solutions is growing. On the face of it, supply looks to be catching up, but much of this is a result of the seemingly endless inventory provided by programmatic platforms and direct response-based ad tech companies.

The main issue with the ad tech industry is that many of the tricks are just misdirection, taking the focus away from the true purpose of advertising: real human connections. While mobile adoption is still in the early stages, here are three myths to be aware of when demystifying the mobile ad industry:

“Cost per Engagement” isn’t real engagement. When brands pay for their advertising on a cost-per-engagement basis, they are led to believe that they’re getting their money’s worth with a real, meaningful interaction. Yes, cost per engagement is a step forward in advertising accountability, but it has a long way to go in how it’s defined to ensure true value to the advertiser. In order to know whether you’re really getting true engagement, you have to understand how such an instance is measured. It can be as basic as dwell time on an ad that auto-expands, or interaction with an ad launched from an offer wall environment. Such measurements can be triggered even with complete inattention of the consumer and don’t reflect actual user engagement. Therefore brands don’t get what they’re paying for.

A lot of targeting still misses the mark. Of course, the growing sophistication of advertising to reach the right audience is more preferable than widespread blasting, and mobile marketers now have access to highly granular targeting to ensure their message is being seen by the right person. But it all starts to breakdown at the point of message delivery: the creative is great, the targeted audience is ready, and then the message is delivered in an intrusive manner, or it’s ignored or not even seen, and it becomes a wasted opportunity. As marketers we forget that not every place is a good place to connect. You need to understand the consumer journey and the user’s state of mind. Focus on the delivery of your message to ensure it forges an emotional connection with whatever audience you’re targeting.

Automation is stifling innovation. Automation has good intentions, and creating efficiency is a critical component to the future of mobile advertising. However, there is this myth that a streamlined approach leads to the best return on investment, and this notion has led the industry astray. The ad industry has become so focused on making ad buying, selling and delivery efficient that they have neglected to make it as effective as it could be. As much as a buzzword as innovation is, it’s what mobile advertising has to address. The technology on mobile is so new, and changing so rapidly, that it’s imperative to create truly engaging ad solutions as opposed to repurposing ineffective desktop units such as banners, interstitials and pre-roll. As an industry we should be embracing this opportunity.

Advertisers have to look at the mobile ad marketplace with a critical eye, with these principles in mind, if they want to maximise their ROI on this rapidly growing marketing platform. Ask smart questions to debunk the myths and to ensure you know how your mobile budget is being spent.


By Ryan Carter, UK Managing Director of MediaBrix

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