Think: Mobile First

Mobile marketing is rapidly growing up, as data technology helps us take it seriously. While we once somewhat playfully awaited “the year of mobile,” we now set our sights higher in light of some serious advancements in the mobile space. The bottom line is that sophisticated audience targeting, propensity modeling, and cross-channel execution are all now in play.

In fact, thanks to all these things, as well as the fact that we finally understand how to work with device IDs while protecting the anonymity of the user (and offer them appropriate notice and choice), there’s every possibility that mobile will increasingly lead and drive the marketing plan.

We’ve touched on the progress in audience data science in past columns. In mobile programmatic, there’s just as much happening as there is on desktop display. It’s now possible, with appropriate privacy-compliance applied, to model and target audiences based on time, place, content, and device and reach and engage your audiences with increasing efficiency, on mobile. Marketers should all be exploring these options.

With new cross-channel reporting analytics, it’s now possible to understand how mobile impressions are driving behavior on down the funnel and onward to other channels, including brick-and-mortar. Studying and optimizing these mobile pathways is now a very real possibility for marketers.

Cross-screen is something everyone talks about casually these days, so much so that this is almost a painful, overused buzz word. But if you think about this in its true usage, people are no longer just sitting and watching TV or listening to the radio as they may have done five years ago. They are living their daily lives across screens and certainly with their device in hand. Our navigation of the day revolves around the mobile device (be it tablet or smartphone). Twitter has made a market for itself in being the communication device used while watching TV. And Facebook and Instagram have carved out a place in mobile for sharing where a person is going to dinner, what they see on their bike ride, and so on. The mobile device incorporates a 360-degree view of each persona, acting as a central hub for marketing and advertising targeting. As a marketer, you’ve got to be there and the good news is the technology, infrastructure, and tool sets are now able to support you.

It’s worth noting that effective cross-screen advertising can only be accomplished when frequency capping is possible on all platforms. I believe that 2014 will be the year this becomes a reality, as frequency capping comes to mobile.

Cracking the code on measurement — using consistent, cross-channel, privacy-aware approaches to identification — will be the key to this finally happening. Be on the lookout for powerful new approaches that move beyond third-party cookies, device ID, and other familiar techniques to make reliable, non-invasive measurement a reality.

So, what else do we need to be mindful of? It really comes down to attention to accuracy and skillful personalization.

It’s interesting to note that accuracy in mobile is key.

While that may seem an obvious point, of course accuracy is a powerful benefit — there is a particular consequence to mobile accuracy. As mentioned in the point above, because mobile is so very personal, the accuracy of the targeting has to be nearly perfect. This falls in line with the same tenants of direct mail. No one wants to receive an offer for another person in their mailbox, let alone act upon it. It’s a lost opportunity. This same experience of accurate call and response applies in mobile. Because our device is with us in our hip pocket or purse, we feel that the device is customized to us. It follows that the offers we receive should be customized, as should the messages we see in our feeds. With cookie-based targeting, these offers can be too redundant, badly timed, or even worse — outdated. That’s why the emerging cookie-less mobile targeting options are so desirable and powerful. By using more accurate, personable targeting, the more the messages appear as an extension of the mobile functionality now so integral to a person’s day.

There’s another dynamic at play that we see as positive. With the presumption of personalization, there is a higher comfort level for a mobile user. And when privacy-compliance is engineered into the mobile experience — things unique to mobile – location, time, and person-centric — can become a part of your advertising and audience reach strategy and success. Users can select to make their posts to Facebook or Twitter public; they can also select to make posted comments public. People have signaled their willingness to share their location in exchange for value, even down to the exact address where they are standing in order to receive a better service. So, if the brands are delivering a relevant, value-based experience, we can expect user adoption at mobile speed. We believe adoption of mobile marketing and targeting will be the new bar for entry. Users may use the tablet already, to say, order a movie on Netflix and do so with total comfort. Given that this user experience is one in which consumers are already so invested, we are seeing a new intimacy with the technology that plants the seeds for a marketer’s opportunity

With the prevalence of mobile lifestyle and progress openly in play — as far as technology, infrastructure, data science, and the evolving tools set — we are very much living the maturation of mobile. As consumers, as marketers, we are the mobile opportunity.

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