Mobile is the fastest growing digital channel among consumers, but a new study conducted by research firm Forrester and mobile marketing and advertising company Velti shows that marketers continue to treat it as an extension of desktop computing instead of taking advantage of its unique marketing and advertising opportunities.
Rather than embrace mobile specific marketing tactics, marketers have been more likely to just buy mobile advertising.
Only 27% of the 139 marketers studied in the "Present & Future of Mobile Marketing" report use push-based alerts, with even fewer (25%) utilizing real-time location-based marketing. Less than a quarter (22 %) said they use mobile as a community development tool.
As Velti CMO Krishna Subramanian said, marketers tend to make the mistake of viewing mobile solely as a way to reach users' eyes.
"When marketers are looking at mobile, they need to look at entire funnel and not just the top," he said, in an interview. "Once you get them there, how do you make money from them?"
Subramanian added that marketing and advertising campaigns designed specifically for mobile are eight to nine times more effective at converting new customers. When marketers fail to create campaigns specially geared for mobile, they end up being "generic," Subramanian said.
Marketers lack a "mobile-first" mindset in terms of analytics as well.
Despite mobile offering a slew of unique tracking and targeting opportunities, a majority of marketers continue to overlook them. Instead, marketers are using KPIs designed to measure desktop ads to assess the success of mobile marketing and advertising.
For instance, only 35% of the marketers studied track customers' opt-in/opt-out activity for mobile messages -- a metric specific to mobile marketing -- when determining the effectiveness of their mobile initiatives. That's almost half as many respondents (63%) who said they use traditional advertising engagement metrics like website traffic and visitor number to measure mobile ad campaigns.
Likewise, less than a third of marketers (30%) track app downloads and even fewer (29%) track mobile user retention rates. More than half (58%) of the marketers surveyed, however, said they use click-through rates, a metric designed for desktop computing, to gauge mobile advertising.
Not only have marketers fallen behind in the mobile space, most of them have yet to establish a cohesive long-term mobile strategy. A majority (59%) of respondents said mobile campaigns have only been short-term programs thus far and that they in the process of developing a longer-term plan. Another 7% said their focus has only been on the short-term and gave no indication of a long-term mobile strategy.
Meanwhile, marketers with experience in mobile are beginning to make more targeted decisions, with approximately a third of marketers now being able to target based on a user's location, household income, phone type and wireless carrier.
Mobile ad spending reached $2.61 billion in 2012 and is projected to more than quadruple to $11.87 billion in 2016, according to market research firm eMarketer.