An Analysis of Winning Mobile Campaigns in EMEA


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Ariane Längsfeld, European Brand Manager – Media & Digital, Millward Brown

Mobile as a platform provides a huge opportunity for marketers to connect with consumers. Through Millward Brown’s AdReaction study 2015, a survey amongst 16-45 year old multiscreen users conducted across 42 countries, we have found that on a global average, users spent over 6 hours daily on different screens and 2.5 hours daily were spent on a smartphone.

We also know that mobile has a huge brand building power. On average mobile campaigns are 2-4x as impactful as online campaigns in terms of driving both awareness and persuasion metrics.  There is still a bit of novelty to mobile advertising and also the relative lack of clutter in the mobile space is certainly part of the reason for this difference. However, the channel will not guarantee strong performance as the performance of campaigns we have measured varies massively. This variance is widely explained by creative factors. And creative quality matters more than ever: the gap between best and worst performing campaigns is getting wider and wider as the mobile medium has matured and executional mistakes are not as easily forgiven as in the early days.

So, given the importance of creativity, what general learning can we share about the most creative campaigns?

In partnership with the Mobile Marketing Association, we’ve analyzed the shortlisted entries from the 2015 MMA Smarties Awards in EMEA[1] in order to identify shared characteristics and key trends and especially understand what sets a winning mobile campaign apart by looking at winning Smarties campaigns compared to those which were shortlisted but didn’t take away a prize.

Based on the analysis for EMEA, we were able to identify 6 major trends which should help marketers implement more effective mobile marketing campaigns.

Trend 01: Set clear goals with brand at the heart of the campaign

Aiming for long term brand impact is important. Almost half of all shortlisted entries and 2 out of 3 Gold winning Campaigns were aimed at driving Brand Equity: building or changing brand image or deepen customer engagement was at the core of their campaigns. On the other hand aiming for a more short term focussed sales impact was no distinguishing feature.

Trend 02: Facilitate social philanthropy

Whilst aimed at driving brand equity, many campaigns were built on deep insights about human needs or social issues. This was especially the case amongst the Gold winning campaigns. Their strategy was built on serving a social good while at the same time promoting their brands’ core values.

Trend 03: Embrace interactivity and two way communication

This year’s shortlisted mobile campaigns changed the dynamic of consumers as passive observers to consumers as active participants. 2 out of 3 (64%) shortlisted entries used some type of engagement technique in their campaign execution. Winning campaigns were both more likely to be interactive and use social media in their executions than non-winning campaigns.

Trend 04: Use social to super-charge interactivity and co-creation

This interactivity and even co-creation in many cases was supercharged by social, driving the campaign effect way beyond the paid media. Winning campaigns and especially gold campaigns were most likely to achieve earned media, especially word of mouth and buzz or social sharing and viralisation.

Trend 05: Gratify in real-time

Many great campaigns gratify their audience in real-time. They embrace the inherent impatience that digital in general and mobile in particular brings. People are more and more used to almost everything being attainable wherever they are in that very moment, and for brands it’s more and more important to deliver gratification instantly, almost in real time.

Trend 06: Integrate mobile with other channels

This year’s great mobile campaigns were integrated in a wider channel mix. Even though 80% of shortlisted campaigns were using mobile as the primary channel (48%) or as the only channel (32%), the winning campaigns were more frequently using multiple channels to support this. They were more likely to use Social, Outdoor and Print than the non-winning campaigns.

Hopefully that gives you a greater appreciation of what currently differentiates great from good mobile creativity and how brands can maximise mobile budgets in the coming year.

[1] Note: Including both the shortlisted/finalist entries for the EMEA Smarties (regional level) and also the country level entries from UK, Turkey and South Africa. See shortlists here:

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