How To Navigate The Chaotic Mobile Ad Tech Landscape

Jennifer Wise

Smartphone adoption is surging. Your customers’ eyes are glued to their mobile screens. You want to get your brand in front of them. It’s time for mobile advertising.

Sadly, executing on a mobile ad campaign isn’t as easy as deciding you need one. Not only do you have to fight for budget, and craft a mobile-first not mini-desktop campaign, but you also need to pick the right partner to deliver on your mobile advertising needs.  And while there is surely no shortage on vendors to select from, there is a lack of clarity into who actually does what.

To navigate this chaotic landscape, we surveyed mobile ad tech vendors and asked nitty-gritty questions about their heritage, creative, targeting, and add-on capabilities. What did we find? Marketers are right to be confused.

Why is this?

  • Each vendor’s value proposition isn’t clear. Less than one-third of the 35 vendors we surveyed are pure-breads in any one ad tech category, and they offer anything from in-house creative services to contextual targeting to strong attribution chops.  The result? Many jacks-of-all-trades that muddle the mobile ad tech landscape.
  • Each marketer’s expectations aren’t clear, either. We’re not just blaming the mobile ad tech vendors for this. Vendors are creating combinations of capabilities that they think marketers want – but aren’t getting much guidance.
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Huawei Experiments With Mobile Ads On A Taxi-Hailing App: A Great Start With Room For Improvement

Xiaofeng Wang

Taxi-hailing apps are gaining momentum globally, and China is a very important battlefield for both international players like Uber and local players like Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache. While the battle for market share and consumer loyalty is ongoing, monetization has also appeared on the agenda of these taxi-hailing apps. Pioneer marketers have started to experiment with mobile advertising on Didi, and Huawei is one of them.

On December 17, 2014, Huawei sponsored Didi’s lucky money in its first attempt to place mobile ads on Didi for its newest smartphone, the Huawei Honor 6 Plus. Huawei has embedded the product name, ad copy, and images in Didi lucky money and aims to reach the more than 100 million Didi users and their friends on WeChat. Huawei has created four opportunities for ad exposure:

1. Banner ad on the menu page of the Didi app

2. Full-page ad when the user clicks into the banner ad

3. Sponsorship of Didi lucky money shared in WeChat

4. Full-page ad embedded in Didi lucky money

This ad campaign has certainly created buzz and attracted attention. However, Huawei could improve its implementation by:

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Social Marketing Boosts The World’s No. 3 Smartphone Giant, Xiaomi

Xiaofeng Wang

China’s Xiaomi became the world's third-largest smartphone maker by market share for the first time in the third quarter of this year; it trails only Samsung and Apple and has surpassed its Chinese competitor Lenovo. As a somewhat new brand founded in 2010, Xiaomi’s achievement is impressive. Among the many factors contributing to Xiaomi's rising success, social marketing is, without doubt, a prominent one.

Xiaomi’s recipe for success contains three social ingredients:

  • Adopt various social platforms and tactics to engage with fans. Xiaomi has successfully integrated social into its marketing RaDaR and turned 11 million social media followers into super-loyal “Mi Fans.” It uses Weibo to attract new users (reach); its branded online community to provide detailed product and service information (depth) and to generate brand loyalty (relationship); and WeChat for customer service (relationship).
  • Extend the social frenzy offline. Xiaomi is a digital disruptor, but its social marketing success isn’t limited to the online world. Xiaomi values the power of its fans on social media and extends it offline. It named its annual new product launch event after its fans – the Mi Fan Festival. Xiaomi also holds gatherings for its fans in more than 100 cities in China and organizes events, such as the MiBand Run, to enhance the relationship between its fans and the brand.
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How The CMO And CIO Will Determine The Future Of Business In 2015

Cliff Condon
Forrester has just published 45 sets of 2015 predictions for every role we write about, from customer insights to application development to security and risk. In my role as Chief Research Officer, one thing is now clear to me: the two roles that matter most for 2015 are the CIO and the CMO (see our infographic below) -- their relationship and joint strategy to boost the business will determine the future of any corporation.
 
CMOs historically focused narrowly on marketing and promotion. That’s not enough in the age of the customer. The CMO of 2015 must own the most important driver of business success -- the customer experience -- and represent the customer’s perspective in corporate strategy. Andy Childs at Paychex is a great example -- he owns not only traditional marketing but strategic planning and M&A.
 
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Want More Social Marketing Budget? Stop Measuring Social Engagement

Nate Elliott

Every week I get calls from Forrester clients asking how they can measure engagement on Facebook and Twitter. And every time, I tell these marketers the same thing: You must stop measuring social engagement.

I understand that it’s hard to measure social success: Marketers tell us measurement is their single biggest social challenge. And I know that tracking engagement feels like an easy option. But the simple fact is, engagement is not a useful social marketing success metric.

We’ve spoken with scores of social vendors who measure engagement, and none has proven if — or how strongly — engagement correlates to business success metrics like loyalty or sales. Even Facebook itself says engagement doesn’t prove success: In its marketing collateral, Facebook warns that engagement metrics are “not a reliable indicator” of whether social marketing improved your business.

Some say that engagement matters because when people like or share your posts, they reach a broader audience. And your social posts’ reach will go up slightly if people engage. But engagement can’t overcome declining organic reach. Brands’ Facebook reach is already low, and heading lower still. And data from Socialbakers shows that even the Facebook posts that receive the highest level of engagement still get 99% of their reach from paid, not organic, impressions.

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Digital Media Buying Gets The "Programmatic" Makeover

If you are, like me,  deeply involved with digital advertising, one of the industry mantras of the last few years was anything with a taste of “PROGRAMMATIC.”

Yes, you can say it with me now: “PRO·GRAM·MAT·IC.” Ahhhh. 

In reality, I think that we are only starting now to truly see programmatic methods and techniques adopted by ad sellers and buyers. Finally, in 2014 we have seen marketing leaders driving their digital media buying practices forward by combining rich customer data with algorithmically driven buying platforms to make digital advertising dollars more effective in reaching target audiences. And, while there is a long road ahead of us before the robots become self-aware, there are some key trends shaping the industry that point to a more sophisticated future for media buying:

1)      Budget increases - Major brands and massive holding companies have huge goals for programmatic spending. With P&G striving to buy 70% to 75% of digital ads programmatically by the end of the year, Google striving for 60% of digital marketing budget on programmatic, and what seems like an arms race amongst the holding companies to see who can spend more programmatically, the future of software-driven media buying looks bright.   

2)      Growth in TV-land - As marketing leaders have started to up the ante for programmatic, sellers have taken notice, specifically across video and TV. The buzz about programmatic TV is taking hold, and we are seeing a new generation of ad tech commit to solving that problem for advertisers.

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Mobile (And Mobile Natives!) Will Be A Catalyst For Organizational And Cultural Changes

Thomas Husson

Marketing teams are expanding their use of mobile across functional, geographic, and brand boundaries, and the mobile vendor ecosystem is still fragmented and increasingly convoluted. The result? Marketing leaders are unsure about how to organize and support their growing mobile initiatives — they’re not even certain what responsibilities and talents they should allocate to mobile.

While CMOs are the primary leaders of mobile strategy among C-Suite executives, there’s rarely one clear mobile leader simply because mobile is not solely the domain of marketers. A third of marketers we interviewed still lack CMO support. While executives consider mobile as strategic, only 35% of marketers we surveyed consider they have the budget they need to support their initiatives. More often than not, we have found that marketing leaders lack mobile skills and ways to coordinate mobile across the company.

To help marketing leaders figure out the impact of mobile on their organizations, we have just updated our “Organize For Mobile Marketing Success” report.

Looking down the road, the widespread adoption of mobile technologies will deliver unprecedented levels of change for marketing leaders and their teams as:

  • Agile approaches to marketing will become standard. To embrace the velocity and agility required to reap the benefits of the mobile world, marketing leaders will need to transform their teams’ organization and processes. Mobile’s data granularity and velocity will drive the need to constantly iterate marketing campaigns and tactics.
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How Mature Is Your Social Marketing?

Kim Celestre

Social marketing is reaching maturity. It is moving past the awkward adolescent stage and is trying to become a responsible adult. But similar to similar to those awkward adolescent years, a social marketing program can take one step forward and one step back. Marketing leaders tell us that developing their social marketing capabilities is frustrating because they make progress in some areas and fall short on some others. And even best-in-class social marketing programs are not immune to development challenges. For example, an award-winning social marketing initiative may regress because the social marketing team fails to get more resources to grow their program(s) and/or their customers' social behaviors are changing. This is why you must assess your social marketing capabilities on a regular basis and make it part of your planning process. As soon as you become complacent, you lose your edge.

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Facebook Has Finally Killed Organic Reach. What Should Marketers Do Next?

Nate Elliott

After years of pushing brands’ reach lower with one hand (and opening marketers’ wallets with the other) Facebook has finally announced the end of organic social marketing on its site.

In a Friday night blog post the social giant warned brands that “Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content [promotional page posts] in their News Feeds,” and admitted that brands that post promotional content “will see a significant decrease in distribution.”

It’s not as if marketers could count on much organic reach or engagement anyway. Ogilvy reported that in February 2014 large brands’ Facebook posts reached just 2% of their fans (a number that was falling by .5% per month). And earlier this year a Forrester study showed that on average, only .07% of top brands’ Facebook fans interact with each of their posts. But Facebook’s latest announcement will certainly make matters worse.

What should marketers do now? Today we published a report called “Social Relationship Strategies That Work” that details several options. Two of the most important things brands can do are:

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Secure Your 2015 Social Marketing Budget Now

Kim Celestre

The 2015 budgeting season is underway, and my colleague and Research Associate Mike Carpenter has provided some excellent guidance on how to secure the resources you will need to run your 2015 social marketing programs:

Say the words social media marketing in a budget meeting and C-suiters immediately flip on their ROI blinders. Many marketers assume that executives will just “get” social, but lack of organizational buy-in continues to limit funding for social marketing programs. Thankfully there is a way to secure your budget just in time for 2015: speak in a language executives understand by building a business case for social.

In our report Get Approval To Fund Your Social Marketing Initiative, we detail the full cycle for getting an ample social marketing budget, including the steps to building a solid business case. Here are four data sources listed in the report to help you inform your case and win the funding you need:

 

 

1. Previous Campaigns

Arguing with history is tough, so flaunt your successful campaigns to fund new ones! Showing wins from previous social campaigns trumps mere speculation by providing confident directional data. By the same token, avoid highlighting campaigns that did not impact business objectives.  Budget holders will be unlikely to dole out the dough if they can not see social's connection with real business outcomes.

2. Competitive Benchmarks

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