Coming to a smart screen near you

Earlier this month I headed to New York to catch three of America’s biggest advertising and mobile media events.

The excitement around mobile media is huge. No surprise really, as significant growth trends are driving that excitement.

Latest reports from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) show mobile ad revenue grew from seven percent of US digital ad spend in 2012 to 15 percent in 2013. New Zealand’s spend on mobile advertising currently sits at one percent.

Here are the five big themes from these events, which make me think that the one percent is set to get a whole lot bigger.

1. Cross-screen audiences

The big theme at AdWeek this year was cross-screen audiences. This means unifying the consumer journey across multiple screens. The aim is to run ad campaigns that share awareness of the target audience across all channels. An example might be gaining awareness of a product through a TV commercial, then interacting with a synched mobile ad to learn more and finally clicking an online display reminder to complete the sale. Or dwelling on a website product page and then seeing an ad on your phone later for the same product. Cross-screen campaigns give creative unity across different media and carry a more relevant brand message.

2. Mobile is not an advertising channel, it’s a consumer behaviour 

Mobile is an intimate medium. Our devices are personal, always at arm’s reach and allow us to act in the moment. Mobile has become the unifying channel of a converging media landscape. The convenience of devices means mobile is not just another messaging channel, it’s the direct touch point back to brand, irrespective of the channel you first used to reach people. 3. Mobile is the dashboard to our lives. Brands want that moment. Consumers check their device screens an average of 150 times each day. As customer eyeballs flock to mobile, advertisers realise they need to be there too.

Emerging ad formats are now being designed to sit natively alongside content and belong. At the same time the newest marketing strategies seek to own moments of convenience, fun and context. Being genuinely useful to people via mobile is the most effective way to win hearts and minds on mobile. Less distant. More now.

A snapshot from a Snakk Media video about Kiwi mobile device usage

4. Location is everything

Without location, mobile is just the internet on a smaller screen. Location is what makes mobile media unique. Geo-targeted campaigns are a growing segment and now a new generation of creative tools fuse location data with real-time delivery. This allows ads to personalise their message around a physical location. Every ad can become unique. Yet the technology is scalable and accessible allowing marketers to craft nearby stories that matter. People care about local relevance and good content will increasingly require good context.

5. Rich brand engagement gets better results

Mobile banner ads are limited by size. A brand’s voice can easily get lost when using such a small canvas. Creative advertising success is driven by rich engagement. As advertising on smart screens evolves, the tools for creative storytelling are improving too. New formats now deliver instant HD video with location-aware context and real-time interactivity. The next generation of mobile ads will be way less boring and far more memorable.

These five themes are powering the next generation of mobile media in the US now. New Zealand will follow. Our smartphone penetration is projected to reach 70 percent early next year and tablets continue their rapid growth in terms of both device sales and time spent using them. If mobile is not in your company’s marketing mix already, then now’s a good time to start thinking about how it could be.

Max Flanigan is group partnerships manager for Snakk Media. Earlier this month he returned from a trip visiting media companies in New York and popping into Advertising Week, the Mobile Media Summit, and Smarter Mobile Marketing Conference (SM2).

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