If you’re doing any sort of acquisition right now as a marketer and you’re not doing mobile ads, you’re nuts. And when we think mobile advertising, we think Facebook. The platform has become the default for advertising, and the reason that it’s driving millions of dollars in revenue is the login ID. Facebook knows who the audience is and it also knows that it can target that audience at massive scale. That capability alone is a very powerful instrument in regard to brands and agencies trusting who they’re actually reaching. Nothing compares to knowing who your audience is.
But we already knew that Facebook’s targeting is incredible. The real questions are: What else is out there? And what’s on the horizon?
We rounded up industry experts to discuss successful strategies and what’s next for mobile advertising platforms. Here’s what they had to say.
Messenger is the elephant in the room.
Facebook has done a great job of moving from desktop to mobile, and its recent move to make Messenger a true platform is a big indicator of what the future may hold. With its acquisition of WhatsApp and launch of peer-to-peer payment, Facebook seems to be setting itself up to become “the WeChat of the West.” It’s only a matter of time before brands will be able to advertise via Messenger.
There’s more to advertising than Facebook.
The mobile industry for the past few years had been sort of the gutter of advertising with bottom of the barrel ad units. Facebook is happily pulling the industry back up from the hole it dug itself into: really low effective CPMs that ended up killing some businesses. For advertisers that work with Facebook, they have to make some real commitments. With higher CPMs, Facebook is saying, “Hey, we’re more valuable as a platform.”
When targeting parents, Facebook mobile is 2-3 times more effective on a cost per acquisition basis than desktop. There are many theories as to why: mobile is more simple, the platform is driven by that powerful push notification and because we have our phones one us at all times, that notification pulls us into the experience.
But there’s a whole world outside of Facebook advertising. The real excitement is around Atlas and tying it to retail point of purchase. If you connect online to offline, that attribution creates a much larger value proposition. You can fight for the online dollars, but the offline dollars are a hundred times larger. Soon, retailers will end up battling against Facebook for the ownership of that data.
Brands and publishers would be wise to deliver content to where people already are, rather than have them download a new app or drive them to their website. When it comes to the younger demographic, that place is chat platforms. They’re spending more and more time on private social networks, privy to the fact that the generation before them were too open. They want to share, but they want to share in a controlled fashion. Platforms can take on Facebook by having the valuable younger market; this demographic hasn’t yet made up its mind about financial institutions, auto brands, or CPG brands.
We want to reach audiences across the whole internet, not just on Facebook. Think about it: You don’t spend all your time just on Facebook. There are so many more opportunities out there.
It’s all about rewarding (not interrupting) the user experience.
If you want to get to the next level in a game, you’ll watch a video from beginning to end. We’re seeing a lot of games take on that freemium model and rewarding users for engaging with content. Some, like Kick, are taking it one step further by incentivizing young people (who have little disposable income but plenty of time on their hands) to answer a survey or watch a video by offering points redeemable for virtual items.
While videos are far more engaging for the user experience (though admittedly expensive to produce), users generally hate getting interrupted on their mobile devices. Brands are all about video, but consumers don’t necessarily have the patience or tolerance. It’s a fundamental issue with the advertising industry as a whole. We’ve trained a generation of people to hate advertising and not recognize it as serving a purpose. Advertising exists for a reason: it allows us to pay to produce the content consumers want.
When Facebook and Instagram first started producing ads, there was great backlash from users because they saw it as an evil advertising invasion. Snapchat was able to avoid this because it does a good job of creating a positive user experience with ads, using the product the way it was meant to be used.
It’s the consumer deck, not the device deck.
The key is the app experience. Retailers haven’t seemed to get that yet. Most consumers don’t want an app for each retailer (just think about how many retailers you shop at). When you’re attempting to navigate the user crossing the threshold without the app, consider the third party apps you know are already on the deck and how to get to those apps. Take it one step further: Imagine a world in which a consumer can go home with a device that has pre-installed content, in which you can power in content discovery based on previous consumer behavior.
Everything is a network in the future.
Things will start to get really interesting when brands realize they’re actually networks. Any retailer with a large footprint around the U.S. and WiFi in its retail space essentially has the ability to convert the company into its own ad network and sell ad space. We’ll see cars as a platform as well, with potential for ads via Waze or other navigational devices.
Where will mobile ads go in six months or so?
Mobile advertising exploded really fast in about three years and created a lot of companies that offer the same thing. This creates a lot of confusion for the advertiser about where to put money. Now we’re at a tipping point. Things are going to get more consolidated and the companies that are going to succeed are the ones that offer the better technology. Tech and performance are going to be the name of the game. There’s going to be a greater opportunity for app discovery outside of the store and traditional ad placements through carriers. We’ll soon see better mobile payments, engagement with ad units, and better overall advertising.
StrikeAd: Seho Lee, Director of Sales, East
Decisive: Andrea Dibben, Head of BD
ironSource: Chris Cunningham, Head of Mobile US
Kik: Anthony Green, Head of Agencies
LIN Mobile: Kevin Wassong, CEO
Moderator: Pano Anthos