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Chris Bennett, Tapjoy, director of sales

In my role I meet many agencies and clients in search of mobile nirvana and I can understand why there is so much confusion for brands deciding how they should best engage and invest in mobile marketing. 

The changes that have taken place in the last decade have been broad and significant.  Today, we know more than ever, it isn’t just about serving ads. Rather it is about engaging with consumers on the right platform for the message.

Social media has taught us lots and it represents a shining light to the approach a brand needs to take in engaging with their consumers. It used to be simple, you would create a TV or outdoor campaign – with set formats and sizes.

When looking at mobile, today’s media experts are faced with a range of choices with different form factors and formats.  Is this proliferation of choice holding back the industry?

We believe it shouldn’t just be about the format you use, but the context of the ad as well. A key priority is to ensure the mobile ad message isn’t seen as disruptive, but instead that it is part of the overall experience.

We refer to this form of advertising as native and the industry as a whole needs to move forward and explore this way of connecting and communicating. Native advertising is all about making the advertising message part of the content experience.  Think promoted tweets, a game within a game, or a sponsored story on Facebook.

Mobile as a medium has become increasingly important and it is essential advertisers use it to it’s full potential. 

The latest figures from the annual IAB and PWC barometer should give marketers some serious food for thought. The figures stated that mobile advertising has continued its meteoric rise, growing like-for-like by 132% to £181.5m in the first half of 2012. Mobile now accounts for 7% of all digital ad spend and it has become increasingly important in the marketing mix as UK smartphone ownership has now reached 58%.

Of course we know the mobile is a different device from the likes of family PCs or TVs.  It is personal and it is no longer acceptable to take a one size fits all approach. Before, when a new and different technology reared its head, advertisers often shrunk or expanded the advert to fit the medium. 

As users now do everything on their mobile device; from their weekly shop, to banking to using it for its original purpose, to make calls and send texts, brands need to embrace the change and use the technology to reach these consumers in a more sophisticated way.  Native is the answer.

I would like to see brand owners start by being consumers first and marketers second. Consumers aren’t nearly as interested in banner ads served over the top of content as they are ads they can control. 88% of smartphone owners say they ignore banner ads, whereas in the UK, 40% say they are receptive to advertising as long as it’s not disruptive.

Do they like it when their mobile experience is interrupted by a brand basically ‘shouting’ an ad at them?  If they stop to think what they like, it will help them make the right decision about their advertising strategy.

The most important concept for advertisers to get comfortable with is that mobile advertising needs to be about more than shrinking an existing ad to fit the screen size. Different platform equals different ad. It’s always been true that brands need to look at the most relevant platform and serve the ad in the way most relevant to their audience. 

Mobile technology has given the brand the opportunity to engage with their audience in a new way.  The mobile is extremely personal and if the brand plays a native game they can gain stand out with consumers in a whole new way. This way the brand becomes part of the experience and their message can really have a positive impact on consumer awareness, perception and intent.

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Published 26 November, 2012 by NMA Staff

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