Mobile myth busting: 10 mobile marketing porkies

With mobile advertising set to grow by 67% in 2013, it’s a hot and controversial topic that is generating strong opinions on all sides. Some claim that mobile isn’t a good investment choice while others think it’s the only place to spend advertising dollars.

The Mobile Marketing Association has recommended that the money spent on mobile advertising should sit at 7% of marketers’ total advertising budget. With this figure projected to increase to 10% over the next four years, and new data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Australia showing that despite the slow decline in general advertising, online, mobile and video ad spending have generated twice as much growth throughout each quarter of this year.

It’s clear that when you cut through all the hype and look at statistics like these, mobile advertising is on the rise and is a powerful medium for those who have taken the time to test and learn.

So why are there so many misconceptions around mobile advertising, and how can we debunk some of these myths? Here are the top ten porkies being told about mobile advertising:

1. Only young people and those without money are using mobile devices

If there’s one myth that gets thrown around about mobile users in general, it’s that they are teenagers who aren’t responsive to the advertising on their tablet or smartphone. With 73% of 18 to 29 year olds now using a smartphone, it’s true that Gen Y are the most connected, but with 66% of 30 to 49 year olds also carrying a smartphone in their pocket, the demographic is changing. In fact Telsyte predicts that 30% of tablet ownership in Australia will come from this demographic next year. The bottom line is, people are using more than one device to connect to the internet and browse their favourite sites, and it isn’t just young people taking part in this trend.

2. Our TV commercial is more important than launching a mobile site

While TV and newspapers once dominated the realm of advertising, it is becoming more and more apparent that today’s audiences are fragmented and spread across multiple mediums and screens. In fact according to new research from Google and IPSOS, 77% of the time we are watching TV, we are also using other devices and 49% of the time that’s a smartphone. According to this research from Google, “these  instances present the opportune time to convey your message and inspire action. A business’ TV strategy should be closely aligned and integrated with the marketing strategies for digital devices”.

Some brands hesitate at the idea of having a mobile site or strategy because they already have an effective, traditional campaign, but they run the very real risk of disenfranchising a whole array of users because they lack vision and are unwilling to place mobile at the top of their list of priorities.

3. Understanding mobile is too hard

‘We’re only just understanding digital media and now we have to move on to mobile, too?’

This may be your first thought when trying to make sense of a mobile strategy, but just because you’re dipping your toe into mobile doesn’t mean that you need to get everything done now. Taking things one step at a time and even making a few mistakes, will allow you to understand the mobile advertising space, develop a strategy and plan at your own pace.

4. All mobile is good for is app engagement and phone calls

The Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index (AMPLI) found that 51% of mobile phone users accessed the internet more than once a day from their phone, 55% use their phone to access information and 45% use their phones for entertainment purposes at least daily. Today’s smartphones are designed and used for much more than apps and phone calls, and with user engagement so high, marketers would be foolish to ignore the advertising opportunity that comes with this. If you pick one or two key outcomes per campaign and develop your key performance metrics over time, you can begin to tap into such opportunities.

5. I don’t notice mobile ads, so why would my customers?

A sample size of one has never been proof of much, and it’s easy to mistake the nature of our own experiences. When it comes to making decisions about digital advertising and especially mobile, we need to resist the urge to go with our gut. Instead, we must rely on the data that demonstrates the facts. On smartphones and tablets we are seeing much higher engagement levels and a captive audience being translated into brand recall and purchase intent, which in some cases is two to four times greater than that of the traditional PC screens.

6. Mobile ads aren’t engaging enough

It has been claimed that mobile is not a branding channel and that mobile advertising isn’t engaging enough, but, according to the AMPLI, 54% of Australians have engaged with mobile advertising. It may seem to some that static mobile ads and simple text based ads are not as effective as their bigger brothers on the web, but engaging content is a far more powerful driver of ad effectiveness. When you add to this the interactive new rich-media and video formats that are available, it is clear that smartphone and tablet advertising is a very powerful channel for brands.

7. There is not enough real estate on mobile to get my message across 

How often have you heard the saying it’s not the size that matters but what you do with it that counts? This could not be more evident than in the case of smartphone and tablet screens. While screens are becoming bigger and bigger and devices becoming more and more varied, it’s important that you focus on targeting customers with simple, relevant messaging that leverages the unique attributes of mobile. If you must have more you’ll be amazed at what can be achieved with rich interactive mobile creative.

8. Our third-party tracking doesn’t support mobile

While in the past some companies didn’t offer substantial mobile advertising tracking, most third party providers are beginning to take mobile advertising seriously and offer this capability along with traditional advertising monitoring. If your third party tracking solution doesn’t offer mobile, it might be time to look for another partner. Setting up benchmarks for mobile advertising is another way to make sure that you’re on the road to mobile advertising success.

9. None of our competitors are on mobile so why should we be?

You only have to look at the winners of this year’s Cannes Lions advertising festival to realise that some of the biggest companies in the world are using mobile advertising to reach their audiences. Take Coca-Cola for example – the company’s reimagined hilltop campaign won the mobile category at the awards, with its message of ‘send someone a free Coke’ relying solely on mobile banners to start its engagement with customers. Instead of worrying about what your competitors are doing, it’s the leaders not the followers who will reap the rewards of what these new screens have to offer.

10. If it isn’t broken, why fix it?

Apathy is a quintessential Australian attribute, but this mantra is a poor way to view the concept of mobile advertising. Businesses may say that they only run TV commercials or invest big in digital, and that their other channels are performing well, but the fragmented nature of advertising shows us that engaging with multiple screens is the only way to reach these fragmented audiences effectively.


While it is true that mobile advertising can be a little daunting for new players, nothing worth doing is easily won. There is a huge opportunity waiting for brands willing to make their break into the mobile space, and now is the time to invest and build this knowledge base for your brand while debunking the myths that surround this new and, to some, unfamiliar medium.



Success on the small screen – 10 tips for mobile campaign site success

So you’re looking at mobile for your next media campaign. A great move, since smartphones and tablets have rapidly become our first screen for entertainment and discovery. With higher cut-through than conventional online ads, mobile offers brilliant opportunities for marketers to target and track with razor sharp accuracy.

Before you run your first mobile campaign you’ll need a campaign site. Even if you have an existing mobile site it’s worth taking the time to develop separate landing pages that are focused on the specific objectives targeted for your campaigns. If you don’t have the capabilities or the budget for separate campaign sites there are some mobile media providers who will package these in for free or at a reduced price as part of your media buy.

Here are some key tips to ensure your next mobile campaign site is a success:

  1. Instant on. Consumers are getting more demanding and impatient about the speed of accessing content and mobile is no exception. The ‘need for speed’ is your first consideration when building a smartphone or tablet campaign site. It should load quickly, and focus on the functionality the user will want to use first. People are more patient with richer content but every second counts.
  2. Understand the customer journey. How are people arriving at my site? Have they clicked through from a sponsored search term or a mobile display banner? Some people will be looking for a quick outcome while others may want to dig down and learn more. You need to make sure the content is presented in a clear flow, which takes them on a journey of discovery. But don’t forget that it needs to lead somewhere meaningful, and ideally reward them with an outcome.
  3. Focus on outcomes. Design your mobile campaign sites so immediate actions can be made from the first screen. Click-to-calls, app download and store locations should all be clearly visible from the home screen. Where possible no more than three clicks to a completion. With every extra click there’s potential for drop off.
  4. Big is the new small. Good mobile design is not about taking your desktop browser-sized landing page and just shrinking it down. In many cases you will actually need to scale up the relative size of your images and buttons so they stand out and become touch friendly. Mobiles are navigated by fingers and thumbs with swipes and drags, and your design needs to reflect this. If you can’t press a button with your thumb, that button is too small.
  5. Work within existing systems. Take financial services as an example, these campaigns often need to direct customers to complex information that’s available elsewhere. In some cases the best approach may be to consider how the customer can be funnelled into existing acquisition channels, rather than investing time and resources in replicating the flow for mobile. For example, use mobile to collect customer email addresses, then send a follow-up email with detailed information and a link to the conventional website.
  6. Be location aware. Location-based functionality is key to increasing the relevance of the content to the user. The more relevant you are, the better the outcome. Contact info, store locations, proximity mapping and even content can all be made location aware. And this means less steps for the user, so less drop off.
  7. Consider all screens. The best mobile campaign sites provide a consistent user experience that customers have come to expect across all screens from PC to tablet to mobile. All these different screens have unique attributes. But your smartphone and tablets sites should never, ever be just a dumbed down version of your PC presence. Mobile can replicate all the functionality of the PC screen, from video and rich animation to product purchase. Give customers a seamless experience and they will reward you for it.
  8. Mobile switcher code. If you don’t have a responsive site template, switcher code implementation is an important consideration. This allows your conventional site to detect whether it’s being accessed on a mobile screen and redirect them to the mobile version. For some mobile campaigns your creative can target individual devices so switcher code is not necessary, though this can make assessing the performance of your media buys a little more complicated. If you do decide switcher code is appropriate, try to give users a choice whether to switch or not, and remember their preferences. And always keep a link back to the full version.
  9. Test and optimise. You will need to do this across as many relevant smartphones and tablet devices as you can. Flash should absolutely be avoided. Ostracised by Apple and made obsolete by HTML5, it’s dead technology. Simple HTML with linear layout is the easiest way to achieve compatibility across devices. Or if you have the capabilities, HTML5 allows more complex layouts and functionality. Optimising for feature phones is not essential, but if you can afford it, it means no handset is left behind.
  10. Track and evolve. The most important step of any site build from my perspective is the implementation of tracking. Visits, events, dwell time are all key. More robust tracking solutions will be able to give you stats on completed calls, completed video views, application downloads etc. Over a number of short-term campaigns you can evolve your mobile campaigns sites by analysing campaign metrics and optimising your sites in response.


Ultimately, you need to be confident about mobile as a platform. It’s not a secondary platform or just a ‘smaller screen’. It’s now your primary interface for greeting and interacting with consumers. Have clear goals. Consider the purpose of your landing page. Don’t create pointless ‘brochure-ware’ just for the sake of having a mobile campaign. Give customers a good reason to click through to your landing page, reward them with an outcome, and you’ll be rewarded with results.


Why you should be thinking mobile first

Smartphones and tablets have become our first screens for communication, entertainment and discovery. They are the first devices we reach for in the morning and the last we interact with before we fall asleep. With these new mobile screens in our lives we are reading news, playing games, looking for local information, researching products, making purchases and engaging with ads – whenever and wherever we like.

The term ‘mobile first’ has been floating around the industry for a few years now. Digital innovator Luke Wroblewski likely coined it in 2009, but it wasn’t until Mobile World Congress in February 2010 that it was well and truly thrust into the mainstream vernacular when Eric Schmitt announced it as Google’s new doctrine for the future.

So what do we mean when we say you should be thinking mobile first?

On the simplest level, mobile first is about considering the implications of consumers interacting with the smaller screen – i.e. the smartphone – before you scale up to tablets, desktops and beyond. By considering the needs of our most accessible devices first we are able to do away with a lot of unnecessary design and refocus on the changing demands of a more mobile consumer.

Why is mobile first relevant in Australia? To me this is the easiest question to answer, because as consumers, we are already thinking mobile first. According to Kantar and IPSOS, Australia is significantly outpacing the US, UK and Europe in the adoption of smartphone technology. Well over half of Australians own smartphones and 2.6 million use tablets.

More importantly we are using these devices in ways that evidence the nature of things to come. According to IPSOS, 94% of us have researched products using smartphones, 86% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 28% have made a purchase through their device. When you combine our unquenchable thirst for immediacy with the adoption of near-field communication (NFC) and the emergence of the digital wallet, mobile commerce is set to revolutionise how we transact forever.

For brands the numbers say it all with research across the globe finding that mobile ads are getting higher cut through in terms of views and active participation rates, with 87% of smartphone users recorded noticing mobile ads. Media Mind Technologies data shows us that mobile ads drive five times the purchase intent of desktop ads and four times the brand favourability.

As a guiding philosophy mobile first needs to be applied across the entire digital space. Whether you’re designing a new web presence, launching a new product, planning a marketing campaign or engaging a creative agency, thinking mobile first is critical.

There will be times when mobile seems less relevant or not relevant at all: when you’re unsure if your customers are mobile users, or may prefer not to engage with you via a mobile device. But mobile first still applies.

Soon all of your customers will pick up their smartphone and expect to find your brand, and enjoy a better user experience with more features than on their desktop. Your customers are already thinking – and using – mobile first, so it needs to be your new mantra.

We need to focus on where they are, what they are trying to achieve, and what is important to them in that moment. How do your customers engage with their mobile devices? How can you insert your brand into that experience in a compelling and captivating way?

When you start thinking about this, you realise the wealth of opportunity present in a mobile experience. Location. Context. Social. Always on. Always with you.

Mobile first forces us to strip away irrelevant content and features. Instead – with this wealth of new functionality and insight into customers – you first and foremost build the ultimate user experience. You are freed from the constraints of a desktop system. Mobile first is a far more free and creative approach.

Brand owners should think about the way their customers currently engage with mobile devices, and how that crosses over with the way they engage with your brand. Are they playing games? Searching for product information? Watching and sharing video clips? There is research available, but it can be worth commissioning more due to the rapid growth and evolution of mobile and its capabilities.

Agencies need to train up their teams on mobile design and marketing tactics. They need to ask clients how their customers are engaging with smartphones and tablets. Mobile thinking should be incorporated at the beginning of every campaign.

Web teams should familiarise themselves with the idea of responsive design. This essentially means producing the optimal user experiences for different use cases in one design framework. Designers need to make a transition from creating for desktops and laptops to mobile devices.

According to application analytics firm Flurry, consumers spend 23% of their time on mobile devices, but brands spend just 1% of their media budgets on mobile. There is a huge opportunity there, and it can only be fully grasped by thinking mobile first.

By 2014, mobile internet access will surpass computer-based access.  Smartphones already outsell desktop computers. Tablet shipments are tipped to double every two years.

Unlike desktops, mobile devices are ubiquitous in time as well as place.  You don’t always carry your PC around, but your smartphone is welded to your hand 24/7.

It is a mobile world. And you should be thinking mobile first.