Mobile sets agenda

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Mobile sets agenda
Mobile sets agenda
For some brands, it makes sense already to execute mobile Web display campaigns and search, as well as device-specific, in-app placements with iPhone, An-droid and Blackberry (and Windows Mobile, WebOS for HP, and Nokia's Symbian, for that matter). Yet, there remains disagreement. 

Gold, for his part, says State Farm does a lot of mobile search, in addition to the iAd partnership. Karsten Weide, research VP, digital media and entertainment at IDC, a market intelligence firm, says that currently, “there is more money in messaging-based advertising than in mobile Web advertising.” Opt-in CRM texting programs, which are used by most big brands, are “kind of a secret industry,” he says. However, “most marketers don't really look at messaging,” because it's just not that sexy. With innovative mobile ad units, like Medialets shakeable ads for smartphones, for one example, marketers sometimes have trouble seeing the forest for the trees, says Weide. 

But not everyone is buying into everything. Adidas' decision to sever its relationship with iAd — taking its widely reported $10 million budget with it did not lead to an immediate in-app execution elsewhere. Chris Murphy, head of digital marketing for Adidas America, says “you'll see in-app ads from us in 2011.” In terms of the kinds of ads Adidas has used, Murphy says it's a mix of brand awareness and impression/interaction-based efforts, plus click-to-call, click-to-download, click-to-send SMS, and click-to-shop ads on the mobile Web. Adidas “just launched a campaign with Millennial Media,” and it is currently working with Carat, iProspect's Range and Isobar, says Murphy, adding that Carat is its main media agency. 

“Mobile media has, on average, outperformed more traditional digital media environments, providing us with higher interaction rates,” Murphy says. “That's not to say we reach more people — meaning impressions — but those who do see our ads participate with them at a higher level versus other environments.” 

For Adidas, which has a younger target demographic, “smartphones still don't have mass adoption” with that audience, Murphy says, adding that he expects that to change in the near future.

Jumptap's Johar says that rich media, app sponsorships and video are all available on the mobile Web, but creative allowances with an app “are much greater” at the moment. “That's just a function of 3G speed and browser functionality,” says Johar, a reality that is likely to change soon.

The app partisans, according to Laszlo, believe apps are a better fit for smaller size devices, such as phones, because it's easier for consumers to use and navigate. That group believes app usage will come to “eclipse the use of the browser,” says Laszlo. The flip side of the argument is that smartphone browsers are getting more sophisticated almost daily, and in the not too distant future, things that require a dedicated app “will be perfectly possible within the Safari or Chrome browser,” says Laszlo. “With apps, it's always going to be a multi-platform world, developing apps across different devices, and that adds time and cost. From an efficiency and reach perspective, there's a lot to recommend the mobile Web, and I don't think it's going away any time soon.”

Pricing and metrics

Just about the only price point set in stone with respect to mobile advertising is SMS, which costs between 7 cents and 9 cents per message sent, according to Weide. With network buys, prices vary in the same way they do online, with premium placements commanding a higher cost-per-thousand (CPM) price than non-premium buys. While CPM is generally the standard pricing tool, some networks also offer cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-action (CPA) or a flat fee for services. “In general, for a performance marketplace, it's all on a CPC basis, and it's a bidding environment, where advertisers can bid on the keyword, the category, the handset and the carrier,” says Johar. “Things like considered purchases — the automotive and financial services — have higher keyword prices than things that are more impulsive buys.” For CPM buys, Johar says the more targeting parameters you choose, the higher the cost.

Most networks supply advertisers with back-end analytics to evaluate the success of a campaign. Millennial Media's McKelvey says the firm looks at traditional measures including interaction rates and click-through rates and also integrates third-party reporting tools, such as Atlas, DoubleClick DART, Eyeblaster, EyeWonder and PointRoll. As with most marketing campaigns, she cautions marketers to ensure that key performance indicators align with campaign objectives for the best analysis.

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