IAB Mobile Marketplace: Agencies cite mobile ad potency

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New York—Advertisers increasingly are adding mobile advertising to their marketing mix, encouraged by the growing use of smartphones and tablets among key targets, as well as by heightened user engagement with mobile ads, according to a panel of advertising executives at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Mobile Marketplace conference and expo here Monday. “We're seeing 10 times the click-through rates on mobile rich media than on the Web,” said Paul Gelb, VP-mobile practice lead with digital agency Razorfish Inc., New York. “Also, mobile has become a topic of interest. Many executives are reading about it and demanding that it be included in their marketing.” Mobile ads also are beginning to deliver scale for advertisers. IAB estimated that smartphone and tablet penetration will reach 50% of the U.S. population by the end of this year. “The mobile channel is approaching the scale of TV,” said Michael Collins, CEO of Joule, a mobile marketing unit of GroupM. “If we can do that with high engagement, the dollars will start to shift over.” Panelists cautioned, however, that mobile ad campaigns must not mimic Web programs. “A user on a mobile device is fundamentally different from when he's on the Internet,” Collins said. “It's as different as radio and TV. You need a customer experience that maps the behaviors and needs of this channel. That will make the difference between success and failure in the mobile space.” Simon Bond, CMO of agency BBDO, New York, added that users' relationships with their mobile devices are unlike their use of computers, and must be taken into account by advertisers. “Our research shows that the first things people touch in the morning are their mobile devices,” Bond said. “Sometimes people wake up in the middle of the night just to make sure it's still there. It's just like their relationship with a lover. “Now, if you think about that behavior, relating to a tool that's always on, you have to think about how to apply the right content for someone who perceives the device as a lover,” he said. Lack of measurement has been a criticism of mobile advertising, panelists said, but that is now being addressed, Collins said. “Mobile is an interactive channel,” he said. “It can be tagged, user actions can be followed and its degrees of measurement are up there with other interactive channels. We don't have a single client holding back for lack of measurement.”
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