Why Apps Aren’t The Killer App For Mobile Marketing

Nate Elliott

It was more than 10 years ago that I listened to my first sermon about the growing importance of mobile as a marketing channel. It was late 2000 or early 2001; I was working at DoubleClick at the time, and my boss left the company to join a mobile startup, claiming we should’ve already had a mobile ad offering in place because it wouldn’t be long before smartphones replaced PCs entirely.

Suffice it to say I’m still waiting anxiously for a chance to throw away my computer -- and likewise, marketers are still waiting for mobile to become a genuinely important marketing channel. It’s not that they’re pessimistic: In fact, the marketers in our surveys rank mobile just a hair behind social media in terms of channels they think will grow in effectiveness over the coming years. But anticipation has never quite equaled reality -- and so most interactive marketers across the US and Europe continue to bide their time, waiting for a mobile marketing opportunity that’ll match the hype.

And that’s where mobile apps appear to come in. Few interactive marketing opportunities are more hyped than mobile apps, but in our search for a mobile marketing channel that really works we’ve lost sight of one crucial point: Marketers’ target audiences don’t care nearly as much about branded applications as the marketers themselves do. In fact:

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Apple Is Tracking Us! Oh No! Who Cares, Really?

Julie Ask

Apple has been storing our location. (See article) Sounds bad, but really, is it? My colleague Joe Stanhope forwarded the article to me with the line, “kinda scary.” Is it? Our credit cards track where we are and what we spend. The carriers know where we are all the time — they aren’t storing the information as far as we know, but they could be. Our cars can be tracked. We buy plane tickets and make flight reservations online. What’s a bit different is that many different entities have our information, but not necessarily one.

Your phone will know everything about you going forward. My phone already knows where I go (ok, and Apple is recording), who I call, what sports teams I follow, what games I play, where I bank, how often I visit Starbucks, where I shop, what books I’m reading (Kindle), what music I listen to . . . and the list goes on. What else is my phone going to know about me? It’s going to know:

  • What I eat because I want help tracking calories
  • How often I run because I track my workouts
  • What I watch on TV because my phone is my remote control
  • Who I fly . . . because I use mobile boarding passes
  • How healthy I am b/c it will track my cholesterol
  • Who my friends are from phone, texting, and Facebook
  • Where I’m eating b/c it tracks my Yelp searches and OpenTable bookings
  • Whether I’m traveling on foot or by car b/c it tracks my speed
  • How fast I drive . . .
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The Data Digest: Consumer Interest In Mobile Marketing

Reineke Reitsma

Mobile marketing spend is forecast to hit around 750 million by the end of 2011 and more than 1,250 million by 2014. However, the number of consumers exposed to mobile advertising is still low. In fact, Forrester Technographics surveys shows that two-thirds of online mobile consumers don't remember being exposed to any mobile ads. Of those who had been exposed, the majority (52%) didn't take any actions. For those who did respond, calling a local business or storing a number as a new contact were the most popular activities.

But just because many consumers haven't engaged with mobile marketing yet doesn't mean they don't want to. In fact, 13% of online mobile consumers say that they would like to receive coupons to be used while shopping and 10% would like to be able to look up product information. About one-fifth of online mobile consumers are open to receiving SMS messages from companies in return for promotions, discounts, or free downloads(and this number jumps to more than one-third of Gen Yers).

But to be successful at their mobile efforts, companies need to determine which type of engagement will work best with their target audience and what key objectives resonate most. For example, are you trying to drive awareness, foot traffic, or campaign involvement? Understanding these objectives will help determine whether your organization should engage consumers through an SMS campaign offering a reward or whether it should try to intercept consumers while they are searching.

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United Airlines - Crawling Forward Into The Era Of Modern Mobile With A Unique Approach

Julie Ask

About four or five months ago, I was on a United flight bound to the east coast from San Francisco. For reasons I don't remember, I had booked the ticket on Orbitz (I usually book directly so my records, receipts, etc. are all in my profile). Am boarded. Am sitting in a middle seat. Sigh. "Ping" goes my phone. I receive an alert that our flight has been delayed 20 minutes. I open my bag and pull out a salad. The two gentlemen in between whom I am squeezed look at me oddly and exchange glances as they expect the doors to close and the plane to back away from the gate. Salad finished. "Ping" goes my phone again. There is a maintenance issue with the plane. The "equipment" is being changed and we are being moved one gate over. I begin packing up my things, remove my seat belt and give the guy on the aisle my look that says, "are you moving or what?" He says to me, "where are you going?" I say, "equipment + gate change." He says, "how do you know?" I say, "SMS alert from Orbitz." He says, "What is an Orbitz?" More puzzled looks are exhanged. (Do I really want to explain a text alert in the year 2010 to someone who doesn't know what Orbitz is?) Several minutes later there is an announcement from the flight attendant with the same information, and everyone gets up to move. Now my fellow passengers are more intrigued. A third party is more efficiently delivering information to United's passengers than United is to their agents or customers directly.

I don't know how many times I've seen this poster in a United Airlines jetway and wondered, "Is this recent? or 20 years old? Do a lot of doctors fly? Is that why they advertise pagers?"

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QR Codes - How Will You Drive Awareness? A Local Case Study

Julie Ask

I was walking through DuPont Circle in Washinton DC last week. I stumbled upon Axis Salon. I was so intrigued by the glass storefront that I had to hang up the phone and stare. The salon front was COVERED in QR codes!!!

Storefront

Close-up of shop name:

Instructions to download: (they recommend 3GVision's i-nigma)

They should be telling consumers more about what phones are compatible, probably. There should probably be more instructions, but at least they OFFER instructions.

Scan the code ... link to a Web site with a coupon.

It's pretty basic, but very effective. They must have a lot of people asking. It's certainly driving buzz - I mentioned it to a couple of people I met in DC, and they knew about it. Partial instructions available. Lack of compatibility with most phones ... maybe an issue, but those who don't know about 2D codes are probably also less likely to ask. Fun.

 

The Marketing Of Mobile Services

Julie Ask

So, driving to work this morning, and I hear Chase advertising its remote check desposit service for the iPhone on the radio. This article has a good set of screen shots and description of the user's experience. Hard to imagine even 5 years ago a couple advertising a mobile service or application. How far we've come. Even three years ago, it was mostly Apple.

One of the top reasons companies give for building iPhone applications and mobile services is marketing -- the connection of innovation and technology to their brand. Chase was giving both instructions to existing iPhone owners to download as well as new customers. A very convenient mobile service being used to draw in new banking customers. It is using the availability of an interesting new feature -- and not simply "free checking" or "low interest rates on mortgages" -- to advertise Chase. It is using the availability of free services -- free mobile services.

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The Immediacy That Mobile Delivers - ESPN's World Cup Coverage On Mobile

Julie Ask

What works well in mobile? Broadly speaking - Convenience. We define the benefits of mobile services as:

1) Content, whereby the user assesses value to the immediacy of having it now.

2) Simplicity.

3) Context (e.g., location).

Here's a great chart from Ground Truth with its analysis of unique visitors viewing soccer content during key moments of the World Cup. ESPN designs a great application, but this service really resonates on immediacy.

See our Yahoo! Fantasy Football report for an in-depth case study on the value of mobile-only and multichannel customers.

Mobile Internet - How It Has Grown

Julie Ask

AdMob just released its May 2010 Metrics report.

One of the significant shifts in consumer mobile behavior identifed by Forrester in the past two years has been the increase in use of the Internet on mobile phones. The growth has been staggering -- consumers don't typically shift their behavior this quickly. One of the reasons has been growth in the number of smartphones we own and use. Great user experiences delivered by great user interfaces on phones and fast networks have been part of that smartphone upgrade as well. The AdMob data shows that smartphones generate 46% of its ad requests.

Download the report for a deep dive. Look for the growth in the number of countries where individuals are using their cell phones to access the Internet. We've also seen a new category emerge - "Mobile Internet Devices." See its breakdown of iPad ad requests. The US generates 58%, with Japan second at 5%.

 

Here are a few highlights:

The reports also includes a refresh of much of the network data that we have shared in our feature sections over the last several months. Other highlights from the report include:

  • 92 countries generated more than 10 million monthly requests, up from 27 in May 2008.

  • Traffic from North America, Asia, Western Europe, Latin America and Oceania all increased by a factor of at least 6x from May 2008 to May 2010.

  • Smartphones accounted for 46 percent of traffic, feature phones for 42 percent of traffic and Mobile Internet Devices for 12 percent of traffic in May 2010.

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iAd -- Is $60M A Big Deal?

Julie Ask

Most of the news this morning at WWDC was around iPhone 4 and iOS 4. Will leave the new device and platform play to my colleague Charles Golvin. I can't wait to get one of the new phones . . . very slick as it looks like a mini iPad in a modified format.

iAd . . . $60M committed for the second half of 2010. Initial advertisers include: AT&T, Best Buy, Campbell Soup Company, Chanel, Citi, DirecTV, GEICO, GE, JCPenney, Liberty Mutual Group, Nissan, Sears, State Farm, Target, Turner Broadcasting System, Unilever, and The Walt Disney Studios.

Pretty impressive. How do they get to $60M? Rumor is that the minimum buy-in is $1M, but it goes up from there. They claim to have 50% of mobile ad market share according to a J.P. Morgan study. I think it is a bold claim unless this is purely the media spend and doesn't include creative. Our number is comparable -- but without creative. Advertisers can count on the buzz surrounding iAd's launch on July 1. That alone may justify the initial buy. These initial advertisers are a smart bunch. A few million dollars isn't much to any one of them, but these are sizeable buys for mobile.

I think there are a lot of interesting questions to be answered. Many will be "wait and see," but here's my wishlist:

- What do I get for $1M+ in mobile advertising? Am I buying creative, development, ads, and analytics?

- How much targeting do I get?

- Is it performance-based? Or CPMs?

- What will work well on the i OS4 devices? Branding? Or, will the ads leverage context -- the context of how, where, and when I use these devices? Will the ads drive me to online purchases or into a nearby store to make a purchase?

- How much control do I get over where my ads are placed?

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How Do I Get My Customers To Download My Mobile Application? -- ESPN Case Study

Julie Ask

I get this question a lot from clients, and I saw a good example today so . . . I thought I'd share. How should we promote our services? Should we use TV? Online? Banner ads on cell phones? What is most effective? The high-level answer is "yes." Most of our clients are pursuing using their existing media -- whether it is ATMs in the case of Bank of America, the Web site for Walgreens, or TV ads by ESPN. Many are also using banner ads on the devices with which their devices are compatible. For example, they buy iPhone ads because the audience is right, and they can connect into the App Store on the application page.

 

Was watching ESPN this morning and saw a commercial advertising mobile TV in preparation for the World Cup.

What they did right and what I liked:

1) Used their existing media (TV) to promote mobile services. They also used an "event" (= World Cup) as a catalyst to promote their mobile TV service. With the World Cup being played in South Africa, there will be games at night, during the work day, and at many other times when people are unable to sit in front of their TVs.

2) The ad on TV gave the viewer context. "When would I use this application?" "Where would I use this application?" The TV ad shows the person switching on mobile video when he gets out of bed, is in the bathroom brushing his teeth, parking his car, and at work. They also demonstrate the quality of the application with zoomed-in views of the video service.

Watching Video While Brushing Teeth

Watching TV at Work

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