With mobile now the core consumer focal point, advertisers are fully aware of the true value of mobile screen time. They are also cautious however, that with multi-screen and multi device considerations becoming crucial, a mobile delivery must also work alongside other digital channels to maximise advertising budgets.
From an advertising perspective, we’re still some way off seeing fully converged mobile and digital worlds however. Much of the fragmentation stems from the fact that mobile comprises an app ecosystem, whereas Web and apps differ fundamentally.
From a tracking and audience management perspective, for example, advertisers rely heavily on cookies on the Web to understand consumer behaviour and tweak their ads for optimum relevance and context. In the app world, however, this simply isn’t possible. To work in a cookie-less environment an entirely different tracking and attribution model is needed.
The app ecosystem is also much more complex. With Web campaigns advertisers look to deliver them via one of the four major browsers so, testing and quality assurance can be easily achieved. In the app world however, ads and landing pages are largely accessed within an application, rather than a browser. Manually ensuring that the end-to-end user experience is flawless is nearly impossible, as the experience depends on the specific software used within the app – and the market is extremely fragmented. The right software is required to automatically detect where the ad is being properly shown and to ensure quality.
There’s also other technological factors to consider, with many of the benefits and opportunities within mobile, such as geo-location, requiring specific technologies to properly support those functionalities.
This type of complexity means mobile and digital still struggle to converge. With the app ecosystem becoming more prevalent it’s impossible to simply replicate technologies from the digital world into mobile, which companies born for desktop tend to do. Technologies that work effectively in the mobile ecosystem need to consider the particular intricacies of the mobile world from their core – taking into account not only mobile web, but the in-app ecosystem – and this has given rise to the growth of mobile-first ad-tech companies.
Advertisers can no longer be effective in mobile with a simple add-on to digital, and those who ignore the application ecosystem, will miss out on a huge captive audience.
It’s clear that mobile is no longer the future. It is the present. But for a clear impact on sales it has to be integrated with the digital world. The two can’t function in isolation. Market consolidation is coming, and it will be largely driven by the needs and demands of advertisers. Yet it’s surprising to see certain industry watchers assuming that it will be the digital world that will extend into mobile. Mobile is far more complex: it must handle multiple formats, rendering technologies and tracking tools both in Web and app environments. Could we see the mobile experts acquiring the digital ones? With convergence approaching we’ll soon see who is leading the pack.