By Jacqueline Chi
So here we are near the end of 2015, a year in which one of the hottest topics in the world of digital advertising has been the “Year of Mobile.” Everyone knows the reasons why. According to Google, mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic in major world markets. eMarketer predicted in September that U.S. mobile advertising spend will account for 51.9% of total digital spending in 2015, higher than what was projected earlier in the year.
But let’s be honest. How have we been handling this change? Sure, we started spending more on mobile advertising, started thinking about responsive HTML5 websites and creative and further refined our targeting capabilities. However, ad execution strategies seem to be lagging this mobile boom.
On a large scale, it seems there has been little innovation in terms of ad formats and metrics. Mobile is still largely being leveraged using ad units adapted from display. It’s like the time when we moved from TV and print to online video and banners. At the outset, many people did not think about the difference of media interactions between offline media and digital media. We just conveniently took offline ads and converted them into digital assets. When mobile came, we shrunk banners and put them on phones. It took some time for advertisers to realize that the mobile behavior is not the same as desktop. Among other things, consumers are showrooming, conducting location-related searches, reading live feeds and looking up instant answers.
Instead of creating a customized brand experience and delivering tailored messaging on different devices, many ad efforts still use irrelevant content or go to the other extreme of throwing against the wall all available tactics—often resulting in invasive, creepy ad tracking. Not surprisingly, interest in ad blocking solutions is increasing among smartphone users, given that research around the world shows people consider these devices to be extremely personal in nature.
In short, not nearly enough marketers have customized the experience. A different form factor needs an entirely different approach. And so the experience should be tailored to the person and the “moment,” not the demographic, or psychographic or any other metrics or methodology that came before such a personal marketing communication medium.
Still, I am optimistic. One example from Hotels.com is particularly refreshing and innovative. It’s Facebook advertising effort was conceived in such a way that accounted for user behavior. When on Social Media, people are often multi-tasking and on the go. Not surprising, most Facebook usage comes from mobile users. And with that in mind, by default, videos are muted on Facebook. A user who is multi-tasking and most likely mobile while on Facebook is probably doing a couple other things like listening to music, gaming, messaging, not to mention walking around. So defaulting video to mute makes sense to avoid being invasive, leaving users the option to activate the video’s sound without interrupting their primary activity.
Hotels.com recognized that and a created a video campaign that not only had subtitles, but also a sign language interpreter. Subtitles appear if the video is muted. When the sound is on, one hears a promotion for the Hotels.com app. And if one understands sign language, one can discern an additional offer: those users are told to post comments mentioning “Gift me” to receive a gift card.
A search geek since 2010, Jacqueline has experience in various verticals including CPG, pharma and hospitality. Prior joining Acronym, she worked at Carat USA on a Global 500 account. Besides search, she also has an extensive background in lead gen display media and paid social.