Despite mobile having been around for a while now, among some brands and agencies it still needs to prove its worth by delivering tangible business results.
This is disappointing as mobile – time and time again – delivers excellent results, both marketing and business, verifying its rightful position in the broader marketing mix.
Mobile is worth its salt
For those in doubt, studies like the Smart Mobile Cross Marketing Effectiveness (SMoX) report sing mobile’s praises. It clearly shows how mobile is among the most prominent marketing attribution channels. Consider campaigns conducted by Walmart, Mastercard and Coca-Cola. The report resoundingly found that in these campaigns, mobile impacted the entire purchase funnel, from the top end looking after awareness and image, through to actual ground level results i.e. marketing gold: engagement and, most importantly, sales.
But generating this scale of outcome isn’t cheap; a perception that has overtime become entrenched in clients’ and marketing peers’ minds. Perhaps scandalously to some old-school thinkers, the SMoX study also strongly recommends that brands should spend double what they currently do on mobile campaigns, and contribute to around 15% of total spend, or even a third – which will be more impactful, that’s if media planners can stomach it of course. So, the conundrum remains: there is reluctance to spend more on mobile, despite a direct correlation between spending more on this platform and its positive performance on the overall campaign’s ROI. But why?
Content made to fit
To really be given a chance to show its mettle, mobile content must be tailored to fit its unique, smaller format. This may seem pretty obvious to some, yet in 2018, brands and agencies continue trying to retrofit ATL content onto the small screen. It simply won’t work, and at the same time it makes mobile look like it’s ineffective. This is a double-whammy that unfortunately reinforces opinions and keeps mobile at the back of a long queue of marketing tactics, seldom giving it a chance to truly shine.
In a perfect world, mobile video and native advertising (ads that match the visual look & feel of the online platform it appears in) are essential ingredients in the mobile marketing space, as is location targeting. The latter has even been proven to drive tangible, bottom-line results in every product sector the MMA has studied and increases cost effectiveness by two to five-fold, even in sectors you would not expect. Again, I am left asking what is keeping mobile out of the mainstream marketing mix, when it so obviously delivers the goods.
Tighter targeting improves attribution acceptance
One possible reason for this is that linking business metrics back to the device can be tricky. If you are running a multipronged campaign, keeping tabs on which channel drove what impact can be messy. This is turn confuses clarity on actual attribution channels. Address this by having a clear view of what was spent on mobile, gain greater control over budget, and tighten up an ad campaign’s targeting.
Besides the numbers, I also believe that creative deserves more cred.
Consumers are overwhelmed by the volume of marketing messages aimed at them, vying for their attention. Brands must then be innovative and inventive with their ideas, and executions. Consider the MMA SA Business Impact Index’s global winner, Digitas Liquorice’s SA Homeloans’ approach: Its House Rules campaign saw the agency create a series of hilarious short video content that an audience who wasn’t looking for a home or in the mood for serious financial talk would want to watch. It generated potential leads of up to R4.8 billion. There are many such great examples where mobile is the hero, some of which can be found here.
While SMoX clearly states that brands and agencies must make more effort to take mobile more seriously, when used properly – i.e. creating content and creative that is made to form and that will withstand scrutiny when viewed through a financial lens -, it delivers in all the right places: engagement, traffic and sales. How long it will take for this to happen is still to be seen. But, as more agencies like Digitas Liquorice become bolder with mobile, proving – without doubt – its efficacy, we can expect the small screen to become a must-have among the broader marketing mix instead of just a nice-to-have.
Sarah Utermark is MMA SA’s country director. She has a wealth of experience having held positions of CEO of Sub Saharan Africa for Opera Mediaworks and MD and Co-Founder of AdVine. In the new role Utermark wants to elevate the conversation among senior and mid-level marketing executives about what mobile marketing can achieve in the boardroom.