In 2011 about one-third of our clients’ communications plans included a mobile component. Today just about every single client’s plan includes mobile. But effectiveness hasn’t been the big driver in most of that growth. For most clients mobile is still in its infancy and growth is being driven by experimentation.
Despite the fact that more mobile devices have shipped than PCs and that almost a quarter of all US adults have a tablet (and most of them have an iPad), we’re just learning how to use mobile devices for advertising purposes.
The mobile advertising industry is still small. Only 1 percent of US advertising is spent on mobile. In fact when you compare time spent vs. budget allocation, the mobile advertising industry has a long, long way to go.
Not only are we not spending a lot of money on mobile, we’re not paying a lot for mobile advertising inventory. If I were a publisher, I’m not sure which I would think was worse.
As of today the paid portion of the paid-owned-earned media ecosystem for mobile isn’t working very well. But the owned portion is doing much better.
Lots of our clients have had success with owned mobile media. They’ve built apps that promote product launches, making shopping in-store easier or consuming content better. Owned mobile media has enabled brands to connect better with their customers by acting as the bridge that connects what happens online with what happens in-store.
Paid mobile is just tiny ads. Owned mobile media is an experience and often a revenue-generating experience.
Despite the success of our owned mobile experiences, mobile hasn’t been a core part of any campaign. The core idea hasn’t lived on mobile. Mobile has just been an extension. Until now.
Recently we launched an Instagram campaign that encourage users to attach a #phrase to pictures. It’s an idea that leverages a behavior that already exists among mobile users, especially young mobile users who like to upload and tag photos. The hashtag makes it easy to search content. It also makes it easy for brands to pull the data into lots of other digital applications throughout the digital ecosystem.
At The Media Kitchen we’re very bullish on mobile. We’ve created a special curriculum for our staff to make sure every one of our Chefs is fluent in mobile media. We don’t believe mobile should be relegated to a department; everyone needs to be mobilized.
Those tiny ads will become very important with better targeting, and a client’s owned mobile media will be the biggest opportunity. Owned mobile will be the gold rush. Regardless, we believe that mobile is the future.