With the rising use of mobile smartphones comes an array of new opportunities and new challenges for online publishers and advertisers, and every indication that it’s time to mobilize marketing now, or regret it when 2016 is over. Looking ahead to the coming year, there are three mobile strategies that promise the greatest potential for marketers in the digital world.
First, a glance at why mobile matters: 64 percent of adults in the U.S. own smartphones today, with the highest usage attributed to the desirable demographics of young people, high income earners, and the highly educated. Along with those statistics, a recent Pew Research study also found that 10 percent of smartphone users in America rely on those phones as their sole route to the Internet. That helps explain why spending on in-app mobile ads, a relatively new format, represented 10 percent of all mobile ad spending last year, marking a year-over-year increase of 80 percent—and, according to eMarketer, that’s why mobile ad spending is expected to overtake desktop spending in 2016.
Onto the first essential mobile ad strategy: tapping into the wealth of consumer usage data gathered on the mobile web, shaping it to your needs, and using it to build successful campaigns. Most marketers know the value of collecting “multi-dimensional” consumer data, and understand that data offers what Marketing Dive calls “the only head start marketers have in the race to keep pace with consumer momentum.” But Big Data can be overwhelming, and, unless sharply focused, yield little guidance for decision-making. Mobile marketing technology can make this process less daunting by automating data collection and analysis. Make 2016 your year to clearly define goals and identify your key issues. Then you’ll be prepared to zero in on data that’s truly relevant to your business, and leverage it wisely.
The second key strategy is built on data: offering consumers personalized, localized mobile experiences. Even small businesses can personalize their online marketing cost-efficiently thanks to analytics—and most consumers like digital ads that speak to their personal needs. When shoppers research products online before heading to a store, mobile ads have the potential to connect with them at the right moment. Your mobile ad could point them toward nearby retailers, and reinforce the push with personalized incentives like promo codes, coupons, and rewards programs. To optimize opportunities for personalization, take an integrated approach to all digital marketing channels; that is, make sure your websites, social media platforms, and email campaigns all deliver unified marketing messages.
Your third mobile strategy for 2016: answer ad-blocking technology with native advertising, another relatively new format. After years of accepting online ads as the price of “free” content, consumers are losing patience with that tradeoff now, and last year began embracing ad blockers in a big way. Ad blocking has mushroomed into a “debacle” for mobile, Marketing Dive writes, signifying “a widening disconnect between marketers and their audiences.” The best antidote may be native ads, which engage viewers by matching the editorial and visual style of each publisher’s website; they’re similar to but subtler than the familiar advertorial format. The advertising gurus who took part in panel discussions during Ad Week 2015 agreed that, native or not, online ads must be more original and creative to keep the ad blockers at bay. “The Internet advertising experience is not satisfactory for consumers,” says Stephan Loerke, managing director of the World Federation of Advertisers. It’s up to brand owners to “create an acceptable, sustainable advertising environment, not push things to people in a way that turns them off.”
Sean Galligan, vice president and industry lead for entertainment at Yahoo, believes we’ve entered “a new era of advertising, where mobile is a critical component to successful campaigns.” Today data, personalization, and creativity are all critical components of effective mobile marketing. Deploying these with clarity and imagination could be the power behind your company’s mobile marketing success in 2016.