Mobile Through the Screen of Possibility: From Ideation to Execution: IAB Mobile Panel Discussion

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Mobile Through the Screen of Possibility: From Ideation to Execution: IAB Mobile Panel Discussion
Andrew Darling

I had the privilege of moderating a great panel discussion at Google’s new HQ in Singapore in November. Talking with the senior execs from Wundeman, MediaCom, Medialets and OMD at the IAB’s Mobile Through the Screen of Possibility event, provided delegates, largely from media agencies, with wonderful insights into how smart businesses are blending the skills sets of creativity and data insight to drive successful mobile marketing campaigns at scale.

We’re spending nearly half of our media time on mobile — and in fact, when you break it down, women are spending just over half their media time on smartphones. And with Millennials, the devices are taking up nearly two-thirds of their attention.

Put very simply, if you’re wondering when the mobile-first world starts, the answer is that it already has. If you want to be more precise it happened for different media owners at different stages, but generally, first half of 2016 is when smartphone attention and the accompanying advertising budget overtook desktop and tablet.

Fortunately, my panelists – all mobile veterans – were not the type who only wanted to pat the industry on the back. The content of the conversation we had highlighted both the opportunities, as well as the challenges, facing the digital advertising industry when it comes to harnessing mobile. Indeed, with lots of brands now investing in mobile advertising, the sector is growing fast across Asia, but it’s not quite as easy as it may look.

Perhaps the primary theme to emerge from the discussion was the importance of investing more budget in mobile creative. The panel felt the situation was improving – slowly – but there were signs that brands were starting to think more about the unique qualities of mobility in order to make the consumer experience on mobile better.

Traditionally, the largest part of marketing budgets have been ringfenced for bigger screens, but improving relevance to consumers through better creative formats on mobile will drive more engagement. Thankfully for Blis, more location data is playing its part here. As we harness more machine-learning tools to make sense of bigger location data sets, we can start to make ads much more relevant to the physical places that consumers are inhabiting in both real-time and the future.

Consumers are also becoming increasingly comfortable with sharing their location data. Why? Because sharing location increases the value and usefulness we get out of using our favourite apps. Consumers are far more likely to keep and use an app that uses location data to send them personalised and relevant brand messages than they are to keep an app that every now and then gives me a deal for a store located on the other end of town. Which would you prefer?

The key is the value we receive from giving out our data; if we get something in return for sharing information, chances are we won’t even think twice about giving these apps access. The panel hoped that publishers will step up a level in making this value exchange better and more transparent for consumers in 2017.

The discussion moved on to look at how best we use data and technology to identify how mobile ads are performing, in other words viewability metrics and attribution. How are technological developments and innovation helping the industry to achieve this goal? Well that conversation was so deep that it deserves a blog post all of its own! And given that Blis has just announced a partnership on viewability with MOAT, we will come back to this very shortly.

85 percent of mobile advertising budgets are spent with two big companies. The panel felt there are big commercial risks in only focusing on these platforms and it is key for brands to understand the benefits of looking beyond so-called “walled gardens”.

Retaining control of data, being able to communicate with all end-users, not just uses if these two big services, and the continued innovation that companies like Blis are working on every day. Some of this new innovation will become clear in Q1 as Blis works towards Futures.

And then there were just screens. After years of digital marketers talking about television, desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphones, we have come to a turning point. Are we not now at a stage of not needing to talk about different channels? Isn’t a television, just a really big screen and a smartphone a small one, with desktop and tablets in between?

There are obvious creative considerations to adjust a campaign to be appropriate for different size screens, but that’s all we’re talking about now — differently sized screens. There is no desktop, mobile, laptop, television and tablet — just differently sized windows through which consumers are peering into their digital worlds.

Evidently this claim struck a chord with attendees because when one of the panellists, when asked what was the one thing about mobile in the industry that he’d change in 2017, he replied “getting rid of mobile departments in agencies”! In other words, stop silo’ing mobile and make it cross-department.

Mobility is not about formatting video for a small screen. Mobility is about understanding where users are, where they are going and what they want to accomplish. Mobile is all about devices but mobility is all about peoples’ lives.

So the panel all agreed that the real opportunity is in contextual relevancy. We have a huge amount of data today but this is both a blessing and a curse. It can lead to assumptions about consumers that are based only on cookie data – sets of behaviours that we attribute personalities and characteristic from. But it doesn’t provide the “why” – the understanding of what is motivating consumers.

Technology underpins everything that the digital ad industry does. It’s how we generate an understanding of people and how we understand and optimise the effectiveness of client campaigns. The panel strongly felt that the industry must tie all of this together with a simple goal: make technology deliver a competitive advantage to clients every day.

Is mobile marketing at last set to fulfil its true potential? If marketers and developers can make small-screen advertising relevant and engaging, then the answer is a resounding YES!

Mobile is driving real outcomes and results for advertisers. What we’re seeing now and certainly into next year is that the mobile device is going to be the hub for more and more aspects of our lives. We’re at an exciting point in the evolution of mobile – where real, sophisticated campaigns are resonating positively with consumers at scale. The next 18 months will provide smart, fast-moving marketers with an opportunity to engage with, and take advantage of the mobile ecosystem, while their competition plays catch-up.

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Andrew Darling is Communications Director at Blis. He is responsible for Blis’ global communications and PR activities, as well as marketing operations in APAC. Andrew is a seasoned tech marketing and communications expert, Chair of the IAB SG Mobile Committee and former Telecoms, Media and Technology journalist.
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Partner Spotlight: Q&A with RSi’s Ansa


Partner Spotlight: Q&A with RSi’s Ansa

Question 1: How long have you been at RSi and what is your role?
For the past three years, I have been responsible for creating and scaling Ansa, a web-based solution from RSi – Retail Solutions, Inc., that has enabled over 75 of the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies to build, measure and maximize the performance of their shopper marketing campaigns running in support of the nation’s leading retailers. I am responsible for all aspects of business development, partner and agency relationships and the overall revenue growth of Ansa.

Question 2: How does RSi help solve marketer challenges?
Shopper marketers’ biggest challenge is to connect their online campaigns to in-store results. RSi’s Ansa solution provides the intelligence they need, based on daily, store-level POS-data from the largest US retailers in order to plan, target, and measure the impact of their shopper marketing campaigns. Retail Solutions Inc. has partnered with the leading ad networks in Shopper Marketing, such as Blis, to make Ansa’s automated analytics available for the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies. To measure and maximize their digital ad campaigns, all they need to do is ask for Ansa inside their next campaign.

Question 3: What benefits does the partnership with Blis bring to buyers as well as the adtech ecosystem?
With RSi’s Ansa solution, building, dynamically optimizing, and reviewing attribution measures for every digital ad campaign has never been so simple. Here is how it works:
1. STORE-LEVEL TARGETING: automatically get from Ansa your store targeting data as store addresses, lat/longs or by Ansa Digital ZIPs to identify stores with the greatest sales potential prior to launching hyper-local media.
2. IN-FLIGHT OPTIMIZATION: see in real-time how sales are trending in your targeted stores vs. a 52-week historical average, and get access to dynamic optimization lists that can guide budget reallocation.
3. MEASUREMENT & INSIGHTS: get access via the online portal to end of campaign analysis just days after the media campaign is over. Visualizations give you a standardized set of analytics, such as sales lift, incremental dollars and units, confidence level, weekly lift, characteristics of high performing stores, etc. Prove and improve your media to help you fine-tune strategies for your future campaigns.

Question 4: What are use cases for the Blis + RSi partnership? (Please provide a few examples from different verticals).
If you are a shopper marketer, maximizing your budgets, understanding performance of your marketing tactics and generating key learnings from those marketing tactics are tasks that are essential to your business.

Running a digital marketing campaign with Blis, and Ansa’s daily, store-level sales intelligence helps make that extremely for the CPG community and shopper marketers specifically.

For existing products, Blis campaigns using Ansa targeting can reach a targeting efficiency of 2:1 vs. campaigns that do not use Ansa store-level targeting thereby ensuring that every dollar is spent driving sales to your most important retailer locations.

Blis campaigns optimized with Ansa typically identify and heavy up investment around 16% of stores that are trending significantly ahead of the average store during a campaign and identify and decrease investment around 14% of stores that are trending significantly behind the average store, therefore ensuring that your budget is being optimized surrounding stores that are over-performing during a given campaign.

After each Blis campaign, Ansa automatically generates measurement of Featured Item Lift and Halo Item Lift at both the total event and week levels. Results are completed 5 business days after the end of each campaign and allow you to learn quickly and improve continuously, all at an amazingly affordable price.

Question 5: What shopper marketing measurement trends do you predict for 2018?
Optimization in-flight based on store sales trends during campaign. Optimizing on engagement, intent and / or clicks may be ok for some campaigns but more and more frequently shopper marketers are tasked with driving sales at their most important retailers. And understanding how their marketing tactics performed 5-6 weeks after a campaign has finished is just not fast enough anymore in today’s fast paced world and puts media providers at a severe disadvantage. By utilizing automated reporting that allows Ansa partners like Blis to understand and optimize their media in-flight based on daily, store-level POS sales data you now empower your media partner to act on supporting the stores that are driving your product sales which can ultimately provide a powerful boost to a shopper marketing campaign.

Question 6: If there was one piece of content you think every marketer should read, what is it?
(Other than this blog post of course!)

Think with Google and Facebook IQ are two fantastic sources of resources. Articles, trends, case studies, POVs, insights, etc… pretty much everything you need to read to keep you up-to-speed in this very fast-paced environment.

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Meet, Greet and Keep: How Mobile Can Help Brands Throughout the Sales Funnel


Meet, Greet and Keep: How Mobile Can Help Brands...

Our mobile devices give us more than just a way to call or text friends and family: Today, they are our maps, books, radios, and miniature shopping malls. We turn to them for news, entertainment and answers. And from dawn till dusk, we keep them at our sides like our most faithful companions.

So it’s no wonder mobile devices have become integral to an advertiser’s ability to reach their ideal audiences at every stage of the sales funnel. Here’s how brands can employ effective mobile advertising strategies to acquire, engage and retain customers.

Win Over New Customers

One of the best ways for advertisers to identify new audiences is to see where they shop. But without access to a competitor’s first-party purchase data or information about their website traffic, how can advertisers find this out?

Mobile devices provide the answer. By revealing where consumers go, mobile location data can tell brands which consumers spend their time browsing similar products at a competitor’s store. Let’s say Target wants to reach out to consumers who usually shop at Walmart. They can use location data to identify—then target—those who frequently visit the competitor yet still live near a Target store.

But brands need to be careful before jumping to conclusions about consumers. Real-time location data provides important insights, but they can be strengthened when paired with historical location data.

For example, just because someone visits a high-end boutique like Chanel, it doesn’t mean that person has the budget to shop there—they could just be browsing. How can an upscale fashion brand find out which of those Chanel visitors are actually potential shoppers? Here, historical location data can help. It can reveal, for instance, which of those visitors go to private airports a few times a month or regularly visit Giorgio Armani or Versace stores. Chances are, these consumers will be a better bet for the fashion brand seeking to acquire new customers.

Keep Them Interested

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? For most of us, it’s look at our phones to turn off our alarms before checking the weather and scrolling through our Twitter feeds. And throughout the day, we continue to stare down into the faces of our mobile devices: checking the news on the train, sending an email between meetings, or watching videos from our living room sofas.

In order to engage consumers on the devices we use day in and day out, advertisers will need to serve ads that make sense for the consumer depending on where they are during the day. To do this, advertisers must first ask the question: What do consumers want to see on their mobile devices and when? Consumers spend a third of their time online watching videos, for instance, but they aren’t going to watch a 30-second video ad while walking down the street.

To boost engagement, brands can use knowledge about a consumer’s historical and real-time whereabouts to reach out at the time and place that will produce the greatest level of engagement. To effectively grab the attention of a consumer that’s out and about, a banner ad may work best. Later that evening, when the consumer is at home using a tablet or laptop, a longer video on a larger screen may work well.

Inspire Loyalty

How can brands make sure they retain the new and existing customers they’ve worked so hard to gain? They must first recognize and show appreciation for their most loyal customers.

Most advertisers identify loyal customers by looking at newsletter subscriptions and online purchase histories, but they may be missing other valuable customers who prefer to shop in stores. By identifying devices that frequently visit a brand’s store location, advertisers can make sure they are recognizing—and thanking—all their biggest fans. When an existing customer comes into a store a certain number of times, for example, advertisers can deliver a thank-you message—perhaps offering the loyal customer a generous coupon to redeem in-store.

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Retailers’ Golden Ticket to Reviving Brick and Mortar Stores


Retailers’ Golden Ticket to Reviving Brick and Mortar Stores

Interested in understanding how to connect mobile experiences to physical stores? Or how mobile can be the extension of a retailer’s store? Maybe you’ve wondered about the new Cost-Per-Visit metric? Look no further. Blis’ location data experts will be answering these questions on a weekly basis over the next few months in our ‘Retail Series’ which aims to equip retail marketers with the right insights and top tips to stay ahead of the game.

Following its decision to buy e-commerce company last year, Walmart recently agreed to acquire Bonobos, a retailer with a strong online presence and generous shipping policies. If these moves weren’t sign enough that the physical and digital retail worlds are merging, Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is the ultimate wake-up call.

Retailers everywhere are realizing that while brick and mortar stores are still critical, they’ll need a strong digital strategy to keep them filled with happy customers. Mobile devices are retailers’ golden ticket to connecting with consumers and reviving in-store shopping.

Understanding Consumers though Mobile

Whether they are going to work or going shopping, consumers carry their phones with them wherever they go. As a result, mobile devices provide retailers with a constant stream of valuable consumer insights. GPS and Wi-Fi data can tell retailers, for instance, whether a consumer is at a desktop at work, connected to Wi-Fi at home, or walking past a retailer’s store.

Beyond real-time location data, retailers can use historical location data to understand a consumer’s habits. For example, some consumers might visit a luxury jewelry brand on Fifth Avenue just to browse, even if they have no intention (or monetary means!) of buying. Thus, for that specific retailer, in-store visits may not indicate ideal customers. Instead, that luxury retailer can look at historical location data to identify their ideal consumers: perhaps individuals who frequently stay at the Four Seasons Hotel or regularly check in to exclusive country clubs.

But retailers shouldn’t rely on mobile data alone. By layering mobile insights with other valuable sources of data, advertisers can gain a holistic picture of their perfect audiences. Data collected from laptops, for instance, can reveal browsing histories and online shopping patterns; however, consumers won’t be opening up their laptops while shopping in stores. The trick is for retailers to match the data across devices to unique mobile device IDs. Only then will they gain a more holistic understanding of consumers and will be able to target or retarget them with products they are likely to go buy.

Driving Foot Traffic Creatively

Once they’ve gotten a clear and thorough understanding of their ideal audiences, how can retailers use mobile devices to drive foot traffic? Proximity targeting—delivering ads to consumers when they come within a certain distance of a store location—is a common approach. Retailers can maximize the power of proximity targeting by crafting unique and imaginative creatives.

For instance, advertisers can deliver ads to shoppers already in the area to tell them about an in-store sale, or offer them a coupon they can only redeem in person. Retailers can also deliver ads that feature a handy map telling consumers how to find their store.

Sometimes, targeting consumers when they are walking by a store may be a little too late. A QSR wanting to boost its 10 am breakfast crowd, for instance, may want to target consumers when they wake up around 7a and begin planning their day. Otherwise, the consumer has most likely already made their breakfast choice.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for retailers looking to connect with consumers and drive in-store sales, a strong mobile strategy is key. As the digital and physical worlds continue to blend, retailers must harness the insights and capabilities of mobile to reach their unique brand objectives.

Tune in next week to read all about how mobile is fast becoming the extension of a retailer’s store.

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