Editor’s note: This is the first of many expected posts from new VP of Mobile Strategy Craig Weinberg.
With hundreds of mobile ad networks; an expected $25 billion US mobile spend in 2015; and Apple’s recent news of their best quarter ever, anchored by iPhone sales; it’s important to remember that in 2014, as eMarketer reported, the majority of the US’ mobile dollars were spent with four players : Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo (37%; 18%; 4% and 3% share, respectively).
Notice how disproportionate these figures are! If you really boil it down, there are two networks that matter, at scale: Google and Facebook.
There are many reasons for this, but we should look at it in the context of the on-going quest to find the right partners that have the holy grail mix of these components: unique technology, engaged audiences (niche and scalable), and actionable, first-party data. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have these. Newer and growing networks are often hubs of mobile innovation and often serve as the best acquisition targets for these giants to round out their proprietary ad tech stacks.
The same can be said in an even more fragmented space – mobile analytics. But we’ll save that for our next post.
Omnichannel Will Continue to Grow; Will Marketers Finally Catch Up?
Consumers — and we are all consumers — are omnichannel. We just don’t call it that or think of ourselves in that way. Our mobile devices provide us three core tenets: utility, productivity, and entertainment. Our only demand of the companies we interact with is that they provide all three tenets where and when we ask for them. We as consumers don’t care whether that’s in the app store, on Facebook, or potentially even on our smart watches.
Now, on the marketer’s end, we must capture not all the incoming and outgoing signals, but the right ones. With an endless supply of ad servers, networks, content, apps, sites, formats, etc., it’s easy for anyone to become overwhelmed.
The real secret is that a marketer’s goals don’t change screen to screen. At 3Q, our mobile process begins with simplification. We go back to the client’s marketing and strategic goals. Once we build the foundation, the question then becomes: how do we work backwards to find the best tools, channels, technology, and yes, even screens, to build solutions to meet those goals?
Formats: Mobile Goes Native
Here’s a not-so-little secret of the mobile advertising world: 30% of the money spent on domestic mobile ads in 2014 primarily consisted of the popular mobile app install unit (source: BI Intelligence 1.26.15). The mobile app ad unit itself comprises myriad specs, unit types, creative requirements, and value-exchange mechanisms that coalesce into getting your brand’s app into the hands of the right user. And that $3.6 billion from 2014 is expected to rise by a five-year CAGR of 14%, to $6.8 billion by 2019 (source: BI Intelligence 1.26.15). This is music to our performance-marketing ears!
Increasingly, mobile ad units are being bought through native experiences. (Yes, this includes app install units as well.) These native units represent our feed-driven world. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and many others, we now interact with our favorite apps and sites by thumb flip or swipe. 55% of digital ad buyers surveyed in a recent poll conducted by The Rubicon Project and InMobi ran native campaigns “because the ads blended with editorial content and were non-intrusive” (source: eMarketer 12.5.14). Consumers don’t like to be annoyed, and marketers realize that one path to conversion is not to annoy them!
Mobile advertising revenue will only continue to rise in 2015. As performance, tracking, and transparency improve, mobile will continue to command a larger share of not only digital budgets, but traditional ones as well. Audience, results, performance, targeting, and user experience – once nice-to-haves in mobile — will become table stakes in 2015, and the culture of innovation found in start-ups, agencies, marketers/brands and publishers will build the right tools to get us all there.