MMA Forum: Mobile social is on the rise

More than 80 million unique users access some type of social media on their mobile devices monthly. It’s a staggering statistic that makes reaching the right audience through that channel more important than ever, says Dejan Mirkovic, VP of corporate development and mobile marketing at airG, speaking at the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) annual Forum in New York City on June 11.

“If you take off text, voice and email, social is the number one activity on mobile devices, followed by weather, games, search and maps,” says Mirkovic. “It’s a very important component in people’s lives.”

The engagement numbers are also compelling, he says: Smartphone users spend between seven and 10 hours a month across all social properties, during which time 28% of them click on ads.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently valued the mobile advertising market at $5.3 billion in 2011, a 150% increase over the previous year.

“When posting the actual ad unit, if you do it properly, you can get really great engagement,” says Mirkovic, who noted that formulating a working strategy is a key driver for success in any channel, but especially when it comes to the mobile social experience.

In order to “do it properly,” relevancy — targeting the right consumers with the right message at the right time — needs to remain top of mind, he says.

Mirkovic pointed to recent work airG did for Oil of Olay as an example of keeping both audience and medium in mind. To reach its target demographic of young females with smartphones, the brand created a video that plays automatically when people visit the site, and prompts further interaction. The result was 1.5 million impressions, with 15% engagement — as opposed to the sub 1% engagement most brands see with banners.

Mobile social campaigns “allow you to extend your dollars,” Mirkovic says.

When planning a mobile social initiative and looking for a social partner, Mirkovic suggests marketers keep in mind a sort of running checklist of five primary items.

First, brands need to know their campaign goal. “Do you want to drive people to a retail location or are you just collecting data?” he says. “It sounds simple, but it’s a really good question to ask.”

Second, have a mobile ad strategy and determine what kind of ad unit best suits the campaign goal.

Third, find a relevant partner. “In social media today, so many companies have offerings,” Mirkovic says. “Pick your partner based on the strengths of their audience.”

This in turn leads to the fourth tip: Finding the right audience. “Ask your partner exactly what targeting data and customer insights they can provide you with,” Mirkovic advises.

Finally, it’s essential to measure results throughout. “Launch your campaign with more than one partner so you can have benchmarks to compare success,” Mirkovic says.

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