It may have been the ‘year of mobile’ for nearly a decade, but with TV broadcasters throwing their weight behind second-screen strategies it could be just the catalyst needed to drive mobile site growth.
This week mobile has once again been a central talking point in digital, from dual-screen strategies of broadcasters to the ambitions of publishers and social networks to drive revenue from mobile.
BBC Worldwide outlined that much of its focus remains on driving and experimenting in mobile, including getting a better grasp on how it can be monetise it (nma.co.uk 19 September 2012).
It is pretty much a given that mobile usage has become main stream from a consumer point of view. But there is a fair bit of catching up to do in terms of brands investing in mobile sites, meaning consumer mobile search experiences are not always as they should be.
Two thirds of the top 100 advertisers still haven’t invested in a mobile site, according to IAB research (nma.co.uk 21 August 2012).
This is a conversation I’ve had repeatedly with both brands and agencies. Kellogg’s European digital planning director Matthew Pritchard told me previously that the lack of education within the marketing spectrum is hampering its progress.
He said, “The amount of time people are spending on their mobiles versus the amount of money brands are putting into advertising or interaction on mobile - the delta is massive. Therefore there has to be an education problem, because the audience is there but currently we are not there with them.”
Yet speaking with BBC Worldwide’s chief digital officer Daniel Heaf earlier this week put a different skew on the argument.
He fiercely defended the supposed lack of progress in this area, adding that casting blame on the ad community for being slow to innovate in mobile is “unhelpful”.
He said, “I don’t blame the ad community for this, we are all still learning what consumers really want, and what mobile services will look like, along with what the opportunities are to capture audiences’ attention on those devices. It’s not that people are being slow we just haven’t found the answer yet.”
Establishing a single, standardised mobile ad format would really help drive the area, he said, but it is the media owners that must try and help it along and try out answers themselves before expecting advertisers to rush in. Determining what the future of mobile advertising is and what experiences people expect from the personal device in their pocket compared to the main TV screen, are among the key areas BBC Worldwide will explore, according to Heaf.
ITV has already learnt much from its early Shazam-enabled ad trials. One of the key things its group commercial director Simon Daglish highlighted was the importance of the brand advertisers having sites and mobile sites that are robust enough to handle the traffic spikes that are inevitable with a second-screen feature like Shazam.
With broadcasters in general becoming increasingly attached and confident about trialing new forms of dual-screen TV show formats this must surely pave the way for more investment and creativity around mobile sites, which can only be a good thing.