A while ago, global mobile marketing leaders met at a MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) conference in London. At this event major brand representatives, like Coca-Cola, Huawei, InMobi, Dominos and Samsung, spoke about how they have adapted to the mobile landscape. I will make a quick recap and shed some further light on the topics that were discussed.
Mobile is huge!
There are about 4.43 billion mobile users in the world and in the year 2017 they are projecting that we will have about 5.07 billion users. More and more users are using mobile as their only or their first device. By the end of 2016 there are predictions that in the West-European region there will be about 83 million using mobile as their only device. A great example is the Windows Continuum solution, that gives users the ability to connect their phone to their monitor and use a mouse and keyboard to carry on their work on a desktop device. Solutions like this will further the mobile only trends growth.
When the time spent in front of the TV is slowly declining, the time spent with a mobile device is rapidly growing, winning out over time spent with a computer. A phone is checked on average around 140 times a day. This means that investments into mobile must increase constantly and marketers need to adapt to the way users behave.
Of course mobile is not the only channel to focus your marketing efforts, but when you look where users are spending the bulk of their time and how brands invest their money. It’s hard to understand why print is so popular. A lot of marketers are claiming that about 50% of their sales are now coming from mobile channels. If so, then why not be where your customers are?
How can companies with long histories compete with fast paced startups?
When the New York MMA conference focused heavily on understanding how can brands use mobile in their marketing. Then at the London event the main focus was how mobile can be used to further your services. Hilton Worldwide CMO Geraldine Calpin’s presentation was the highlight of the day. Hilton has developed an application that lets their clients’ check-in with their mobile devices and go straight to their rooms. Hotel visitors will no longer have to wait in line nor will they have to spend time at the registration desk. This is a huge win for the customer experience with the hotel. Furthermore, you can even check where your room is located and place it on Google map to see what the view from the room would be like.
The largest challenge for Hilton was to get the old application to a new and greater level. The board first saw it as an unnecessary investment into something that does not work. The CMO though the opposite, she saw it as a necessity to invest in something that does not work so it would actually work! Thanks to thorough development the application has become one of the most important channels for Hilton and further investments are easily obtainable. Calpin also added a great quote: “Be first, be relevant, be in the moment”.
Throughout the conference there were many speakers sharing the view that every industry will soon be disrupted by a startup that’s faster and leaner than the current giants. This means that every company must become leaner and act more like a startup and not get caught off guard when smaller, new businesses compete in the same market with great innovative ideas. To succeed in this new market, you must empower your employees and break down barriers inside your own company, so that every employee can express their thoughts freely. When the company does not have the resources to do this, they must find outside professionals to develop a new company culture. When they do not implement a new and more open culture they risk extinction. Companies can also use small outside partners to create innovative solutions that they do not have the resources to build internally. In the next few years we can expect more change than we have experienced in the last 10 years.
For instance, when looking for the best mobile advertisement opportunities, there is no need to have your creative team take on a long development of a HTML5 ad. There are partners on the market who can create advanced mobile advertisements within a few working days. Platform likes Adcanvas, that are already way above what HTML5 delivers. Adcanvas can deliver superb results for any client on the market and this platform can work with any publisher within seconds. Check out www.adcanvas.com
What are the next trends?
At both of the conferences that I had the pleasure of visiting, there were three key fields that marketers need to keep a close eye on. The topics are artificial intelligence, Virtual/Augmented reality and IoT.
None of the above are really new solution, but thanks to rapid progress in technology we can finally start using them for a reasonable price. Take for instance A.I. For many years there have been small advancements in this technology, but it has really started to catch on over the last few years. Most people know personal assistants like Amazon Echo, Microsoft’s Cortana or Apple’s Siri. The latest trend is to have bots in chat messengers rather than voice activated assistants. For instance, ordering an Uber straight from FB Messenger or a pizza from Dominos in Skype.
Solutions like these provide marketers new opportunities to enhance the user experience with the brand without the need to increase the workforce. The Dominos example I referenced previously does not require any additional workforce, just a bot that talks with the customer to get the correct order from the client and send it out to the nearest Dominos. Given that about 50% of Dominos’ orders come by phone, then this provides them a quick and more efficient way to communicate with their audience.
These solutions are also great tools for advertising agencies. It would save a lot of time if we could ask a bot how our Adform/Google Doubleclick etc. campaign was doing while chatting with the project manager in Skype. This would be easy to automate and would really help client relationships while also providing savings on customer services.
Virtual reality was introduced a long time ago, at least in 1995. If not before. But in 1995 Nintendo came out with Virtual Boy. The product was sold more as a marketing trick rather than an actual great product. The product still gave the world a really small glimpse of what the future could hold. There are certainly example of virtual reality even earlier on.
Virtual reality is so much more than gaming. It’s a way we can enhance our communication and can helps brands connect with their consumers better. Why look at pictures of hotel rooms, when you could “walk” the entire hotel in VR before visiting? Why not have a virtual test drive before actually visiting the dealer?
Technology, that will help us communicate faster will help brands stand out more and provide users with a richer experience. It gives the consumer a chance to get something much more powerful than a website could. It could even enhance the real world experience if we get into the field of augmented reality. Think seeing your future house before they even start building it?
A great video of what the future could hold for us can be found here:
IoT and living services
It’s not rare to get the feedback of IoT as “I get it, it’s a fridge that brings me beer”. This is the narrowest minded view of IoT. I think the first time the expression “Internet of things” was coined, was when Proctor and Gamble needed better information about stores running out of their products and so the RFID tags were born. Now we can see IoT devices everywhere. Hotel doors that know who the correct person is or the previously mentioned Amazon Echo. Echo also features a personal assistant that can order food for your or load articles from Wikipedia. All this can be accomplished with simple voice commands. When Echo is providing you with the same washing soap you have always ordered, think about a future when it will reply “Are you sure you want your usual? We have a great offer from Brand A. Reviews have rated it higher than your current brand and we could ship it faster”. Features like these are something we must always watch out for. Are our brands ready for bots?
The technology can be used to create all sorts of wacky inventions like a KFC bucket that connects via Bluetooth to your phone and prints out polaroid pictures. It’s a great example of what should not be done. It’s a product that did not but the user at the forefront, but rather leveraged the technology. The core idea behind IoT should be: “How can this empower our clients” not “We can do it, so let’s just do it. Everyone else is...”
Nowadays it does not take just launching a product or service for users to receive it positively. A product must evolve in the market and adjust to the clients’ needs. The focus, at the core, should be getting users feedback and analyzing it. Only after that can we really understand what changes are needed and how we can accomplish our goals.
What are the main problems on the market?
When digital media was taking its first baby steps towards becoming a real player on the market. Marketers were all talking about how it will give us all sorts of answers and we can analyze everything. With all these numbers we can make everything better! The future looked bright. Now every day we are getting more and more tools, that promise all the answers.
All these numbers just show what does not work. We are really not receiving answers what really is working. We have great examples of where we can see that the advertisements were in-screen. But do we have numbers about if the ad was actually loaded? Today we are at a situation where 30% of the advertisements are not actually loaded, even if they are in-screen. The main reason is that HTML5 solutions are too heavy and they need too many connections to load correctly on mobile phones.
This is another reason why we believe that Adcanvas is the platform of the future. Adcanvas does not use problematic HTML5 to create their ads, but still offers all the functionality and much much more. In the same time being more than 10 times lighter is the only way to go when having rich media on mobile.
Another number that is quite obsolete nowadays is CTR. Let’s say we have a CTR for a placement, that usually delivers 0.09%, for this campaign we got 0.20%. We can tell the client we got a CTR that’s more than half better than the average. If we look at the number another way, it means that even if we have 0.2%, over 99.8% of everyone who the ad was shown to, did not click on the advertisement.
It’s a lot more important to personalize all your products and services. This means that your services should be always tailored to the person that is using it. We need to provide the users with a unique experience every day and we need to do it uniquely to every client!
Marketers need to understand the way their clients are changing and adopt this new way of thinking. They must follow the latest trend or be the company that makes the trends! New solutions are always risky and a lot of marketers are not willing to take the risks. This is the part where start-ups exceed and companies with long histories and a lot of bureaucracy are losing out. As mentioned before, companies need to adopt a leaner approach to what they are doing. New solutions, even though might be risky, are sometimes the only way you can be ahead of the curve.
Traditional marketers are still betting a lot on TV and really think that it’s still the place where they need to be, “since TV has always worked”. The reality has changed and people are more split between mediums. A huge percentage of users are looking at their mobile phones as their last thing before sleeping, rather than their loved ones. The user’s relationship with their mobile, makes me ask the question are users really looking at TV ads? Or are they checking out new Instagram posts? Maybe something cool is happening on snapchat? Is TV becoming just the most expensive radio advertisement? Users are moving into mobile and that’s actually great for advertisers. Mobile is the most personal channel we could ask for. If we win the user's heart, they will always like us!
A lot of users are using the same solutions on mobile that they are using for TV or print. This is not a great strategy to win someone over! It does not take into consideration the way users interact with their mobile phones. It’s a total waste of money to put a 30 second TV clip on the user's mobile device and make them watch it! An optimal time is somewhere between 8 to 15 seconds. Another thing is the way the user holds their phone. We know that over 60% of the time the user is holding their phone in portrait and if you are not prepared the clip won’t look really good. When users are in landscape they are either playing or in video portals like Youtube. When visiting news sites users are rarely in landscape.
I tried to make a short introduction into many topics that I found are future trends. I will try to make the following article more focused on the topics discussed in this articles. To give a better overview of where I think the marketing space is moving.