A sentiment I’ve been hearing all too often from ad agencies recently, is that when considering a mobile advertising investment the sole purpose of engaging with a mobile specialist demand-side platform (DSP) is promoting apps.

This is an extremely limited perspective for two very important reasons. Firstly, ‘eyeballs’ nowadays are predominantly focused on mobile apps and campaign effectiveness in apps often requires mobile specific technology. Then there’s also the fact that the mobile environment provides so much more information about user behaviour than other channels. Frankly, if you’re not working with a mobile specialist, you’re missing out.

Advertisers commonly believe they need a mobile specialist purely for apps promotion, and for the rest of the brief, they should consult a desktop first DSP. But by doing this they are constraining themselves by limiting their campaigns to the mobile web. Why? Because cookies do not work in apps, and the same happens for all cookie-based tracking systems – plus standard web based tools used today for anything from viewability measurement to brand protection, do not work either.

Completely ignoring the in-app environment eliminates the ability to take advantage of the full scope and potential of mobile and its reach. A quarter of mobile web users are mobile only in western countries according to comScore, and there are 1.2 billion people using mobile globally. This exceeds any number in history that have used desktop, by a wide margin. Last November mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic for the first time, and data now shows that almost 90% of all time on mobile is spent in native apps. In a world in which users spend a far greater amount of time within apps on their phone than they do on the web, can advertisers simply continue to ignore this?

Many agencies nowadays seem to just want to stick to mobile web when they can (but of course, not where app promotion campaigns are concerned) and wait until all the web standard tools evolve to properly work in the in-app world. However, this will take time in a very fragmented ecosystem, and they will be missing out. Not only will they miss out in reach, but also in all the opportunities mobile as a channel can offer, such as the following:

Mobile provides targeting options that are simply not available on desktop. A good example is used by the travel industry: Tourists on the move can be easily targeted when they are in different countries by targeting the country of their SIM card.

Of course, location based targeting is extremely powerful on mobile. It firstly opens up the opportunity for ‘drive to store’ campaigns, as any advertiser that utilises physical bricks and mortar (or increasingly a 'bricks and clicks') location can benefit from mobile campaigns driving users to those locations. But it also enables the opportunity to reach audiences based on their locations and what those locations say about their interests. Think about focusing on university areas if you are looking to target students, for example.

And last, but not least, it is not only about audience targeting but about audience building beyond cookies, based on users’ behaviour both in the online and physical world. This is also extremely valuable for any media buyer, providing unparalleled levels of customisation for streamlining the way future campaigns interact with existing and potential customers.

Advertisers or agencies that take advantage of these opportunities will clearly see the impact of their campaigns even if ‘viewability’ cannot yet be measured precisely or if ‘engagement’ is measured by a mobile specific tool and not the cross-channel standard - and they will be in a much better competitive position in the future.

Ultimately it should really be a no-brainer that because users spend more time in front of mobile screens than in front of their computers, and most of that time is spent within apps, you must commit an increasing investment on mobile to reach them.

By using mobile first tools that understand and accommodate the technical differences of the in-app environment to run your campaigns, you maximize your reach and your spend by ensuring maximum user engagement – and this knowledge will be immensely powerful in maximising future campaigns.

 

By Noelia Amoedo, CEO of mediasmart


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