At the Mobile Entertainment Market (MEM) in Cannes recently, Jim Cook from MobiAD News had the chance to lead a discussion on how brands and publishers currently view the mobile advertising opportunity. Here’s what they had to say.
The session was titled “How Brands and Publishers See the Mobile Advertising Market”, and it gave an interesting perspective from a group of companies that are not frequently discussing this in public forums.
The panelists included:
|Prinz Pinakatt – Head of Interactive in Europe for Coca Cola. He is responsible for building capability across the region and rolling out pan-european digital brand campaigns.|
|James Davis – Head of Mobile Commercial Development for News Group Digital. Their key brands in the UK are the Sun (the UK’s largest newspaper) and News of the World (UK’s largest selling Sunday paper).|
|David Cushman – Digital Development Director at Bauer Consumer Media (Bauer purchased EMAP in early 2008), which has key magazine brands such as key FHM, Golf World, and Grazia. They also own YoSpace which does SeeMeTV, the UGC video mobile video service.|
Prinz– On one hand it’s a must have – for most promotions, we believe that SMS entry is key. However, beyond that, mobile advertising is very niche. We do it, we experiment with it, we try to learn, but it’s not mainstream yet.
We think that long term it will be a key part of our marketing mix, especially for consumer response, but frankly we haven’t really cracked it yet. It won’t be the big number one tool, but it will be another contact point for communicating with our customers.
James – We see customers fall into two categories. Those that want mobile as a DR tool, and they know what CTR and CPM they want. And then bigger brands that are more experimental, but they will still want to see results, maybe click through to some call to action. All advertisers seem to focus on ROI and so end results are very important.
Jim – What is your view about which ad formats will eventually dominate in mobile?
David – In general, I believe that when you have a new media, you need a new set of ad formats. Most people today are used to thinking about advertising as some sort of 2-dimensional image, based on habits from the traditional publishing and broadcast worlds. But the mobile phone is a networked and individually controlled device. I believe that long term the successful moblie ad formats will take advantage of these aspects, and won’t be simply display ads.
James – From my point of view, banner ads are the main ad format of today, and we find them very effective.
Jim – In addition to new ad formats, we are seeing some new ad models develop in the mobile space. What has been your experience with these?
Prinz – I’m not sure what will be the winner in the future, but I know that the industry is changing very fast, so we have to be nimble, and in fact we test almost everything that comes up.
For example, we recently tested Blyk (the mobile operator that is targeted at 18 to 24 year olds and is totally ad-funded. See more info here.) It worked quite well. The Blyk advertising model is all about connecting people, and Coke is a brand that globally stands for connection. And we found that people didn’t really view our ads as ads, it was more like additional content that they liked.
When we do testing these days, it’s mostly to see what works with consumers, it’s too early to learn much about the financials and ROI.
David – Another very interesting model that is developing relates to “user generated advertising”. It is what the social network “itsmy” is doing. The users create their own channels with their own content, and then they get to choose whether an advert is shown or not. If they choose to have an advert, they get to choose which advert to show.
This does two things. First it changes the relationship between the brand and the content. Instead of the brand deciding what it will be associated with, the user, the consumer decides whether they will be associated with the brand.
Second, it adds a strong element of trust to the brand, as it comes recommended by the user.
Jim – Today much of mobile advertising can be called “experimental”. Can I ask each of you to identify one or two critical things that will help it move from “experimental” to “mainstream”?
Prinz – I think the most important thing is to focus on providing a better consumer experience. This can cover many areas, including requiring fewer clicks to reach content, how long it takes to download, having easier to understand interfaces, and even having easier to understand pricing schemes.
James – For me there are two things. We need to get better demographics and targeting capabilities to make the ads more relevant. And we also need case studies of successful campaigns – including actual numbers – to demonstrate to brands that it works.
David – I agree with the points above, but let me add two more. One critical item will be a mechanism for effectively monetizing the ‘long tail’ of content. In other words, how do you let people make their own content and get paid for it.
And most importantly, as the long tail grows and adds to the content that is already published today, it will be very important for there to be a better means of content discovery on mobile.
The Mobile Entertainment Market was held in Cannes on 8 and 9 May, 2008. It is the annual event of the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF). For more information, visit the MEF site.
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