The rise of mobile: top ten discussions for the rest of 2015

Nigel 4

Nigel Clarkson, Commercial Director, Weve

The rise and rise of mobile marketing, m-commerce and programmatic trading is continuing at a pace that we have never seen before in media.  Exciting times for all of us to be working in. So here’s a top 10 of things to discuss in mobile, some more serious than others….

  1. The Plain English Society will declare war on media websites, particularly those in ‘digital’ and even more particularly in ‘ad tech’.  So many websites just have lots of words but don’t really say anything. ‘An end-to-end fully integrated data stack utilising our proprietary data system and social-integration’ doesn’t mean anything, probably not even to the poor bugger that wrote it and certainly not to any client. Say what you actually ‘do’, trust me it will help everyone. If you can’t explain it simply, you either don’t understand it yourself or you’re bull-shitting, either way, sort it out.
  1. There should be a reappraisal of data assets and a push for an industry-wide analysis of data capabilities (across all digital assets not just ‘mobile’). So many businesses are cobbling-together publically available or paid-for 3rd party data assets, all wrapped up and hidden in ‘proprietary systems’ and a load of marketing fluff to hide massive holes in accuracy. Wouldn’t it be great to really understand what the ‘value’ of that data is with a grading system that would allow a level playing field and most importantly clear choices and decisions to be made by agencies and clients based around facts not smoke and mirror marketing. That way, ‘price’ and ‘value’ could be differentiated in a much clearer fashion.
  1. The emergence of data partners like Experian, Axciom, and Call Credit as genuine front-line players in the digital marketplace. They have bigger data assets than almost anyone else and have yet to engage fully in the digital market. Over the last few years, they have developed tie-ups directly into brands and other media owners, which will only be the beginning of their ambitions to interconnect the data eco-system. A DSP partnership could give them the ability to become digital planning and buying agencies at massive scale. Not a week goes by when another business isn’t announcing another data partnership with one of them.  The new data economy develops with different industry leaders potentially leading the way.

  1. People will still be on stages talking about ‘programmatic’ for another year.  At every conference, it will still be compulsory to open a panel session with “So, what *IS* ‘Programmatic’?” Audiences at Programmatic conferences will be people who work in programmatic, listening to the people on stage who work in programmatic, agreeing that programmatic is the way forward and good for everyone.  Soon we will stop calling it ‘programmatic’ and it will just be back to good old ‘trading’ and people will realise that ‘programmatic’ is simply the automation of processes whereby machines and adtech are programmed to transact deals at a level of speed, volume and accuracy that individual humans cannot match.  Everyone’s definition of ‘programmatic’ on stages is pretty similar, yet there is huge disagreement on all sides about how it should best be used which let’s face it, all boils down to transparency and delivery, and how or why people are moving to ‘programmatic’.  One panel of programmatic experts at AdWeek couldn’t decide if programmatic was a ‘problem’ or ‘panacea’ which in itself highlights the confusion around the execution side of this area.
  1. Location marketing will continue to grow rapidly, driven by truly amazing use cases of mobile data to allow clients to plan, analyse and report back on actual consumer movements.  This means the ability to measure genuine marketing-driven footfall for the first time and the ability to tie into actual sales uplift. Not just the ability to target people ‘now’, but to strategically plan a campaign targeting customers that are regulars to your store, or regulars to another store, or moving into other retail catchment areas to pitch to new customers.  There will be more conversations with ‘shopper marketing’ budgets that traditionally we media folk rarely touched. More than half of Weve’s campaigns have a location element to them already and we can only see this growing this year as agencies and clients become more comfortable with the data available, and case studies highlight some of the amazing work in this space.
  1. I am certain that Out of Home and mobile can and will work better together, and that OOH will use and increase the amount of mobile data in their planning processes resulting in a different dimension to outdoor on a national scale. As an ex-Poster boy, this area both pleases and excites me. The worry is both OOH and mobile are both doing ‘proximity marketing’ so working together still feels a little like two frenemies in an uncomfortable alliance. Maybe a Poster Specialist buying a mobile business or a mobile business buying a Specialist would be the best way under one P&L to really make the most of these two complimentary media channels? Either way, I expect this area to grow and develop strategically.
  1. Major agencies are continuing to evolve and understand where ‘mobile’ fits in.  Is it a media channel, a platform, a distribution channel or a bit of all of those, or does it just slot into everything else they’re doing which is ‘digital’?  Either way the decision to have a ‘head of mobile’, or make everyone ‘mobile experts’, to be ‘mobile first’ or evolve a strategy around a wider concept of ‘mobility’ is still unclear across all agency groups.  Enter into this arena the Mobile Specialist agencies like Somo, M&C Saatchi and Fetch nipping at the heels to try and persuade clients to part with mobile-only budgets, and we have an interesting and challenging space developing.
  1. Smart clients won’t obsess with click-through as the major indicator of campaign success and will begin to understand the brand journey available to them on digital and mobile.  This will result in a significant change in the way they work with their agency and interact with their customers. Sales uplift, brand awareness, in-store traffic, and footfall analysis are all metrics which are far smarter than pure clicks to measure campaign efficacy and they are already available to marketers now. Look forward to an MMA conference
  1. Tess, Lindsay and our friends from Thinkbox will lovingly talk of the power of TV and mobile together with selected mobile friends by her side, and Weve will be one of them.  Twitter have already done some great work here, and the concept of ‘Meerkating’ has been coined by the IAB in relation to people dual-screen viewing TV and Smartphones / Tablets.  We will stop worrying about which screen is which and understand that in today’s multi-screen world, it’s the audience and the content that are the most important, as well as a deeper understanding of the context of the ads.
  1. Anyone from other media channels sarcastically joking ‘oh it’s the year of the mobile again’ on a conference stage will be forced to eat a bit of paper with ‘£1.5 billion of mobile revenue’ written on it and then booed off stage never to grace any kind of public forum again until they have written to everyone in the UK that has bought something this year via their phone and apologised to them personally.  That’s over 29 million people by the way.  And counting….

Written by

Nigel Clarkson

Commercial Director


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