Mobile advertising growing, needs new approaches: Google: Page 2 of 2
By Edwin Yapp September 18, 2013
When asked why a lot of large advertisers do not yet have mobile-optimised websites, Sajith says they do understand that mobile is important but don’t necessarily know where to start.
He says some think that an iPhone or Android app is the same thing as a mobile strategy, while others are intimidated by what they see as new technology, and are unsure of how to respond.
“Whether we’re talking to big or small businesses, our advice is the same: The first step in your mobile strategy is to get a mobile website,” he points out. “People hate zooming, pinching and navigating through sites that weren’t made for their phones.”
But despite the impressive growth figures of smartphones in the region and the fact that consumers might notice advertising on sites, some industry pundits have noted that monetising them seems to be the problem as 'noticing advertising' does not equate to 'call to action.'
Quizzed as to whether he agrees with this comment, Sajith says he does not concur with such views, saying that when it comes to the call to action, mobile has greatly expanded the advertisers’ repertoire.
Smartphones, he argues, have features such as built-in cameras, microphones, speakers and GPS (Global Positioning System) that can be used to help consumers do things that they never dreamed were possible with traditional advertising.
“A smartphone’s touchscreen invites users to touch and play with mobile ads. Its call function allows your customers to get in touch with you via voice,” he notes.
On the issue of whether of mobile advertising is annoying to viewers on smartphones and/ or whether they may appear irrelevant to them, Sajith says one way for advertisers to think about this is to move from ‘mobiles’ to ‘moments,’ or to stop thinking in terms of device, and start thinking in terms of context.
“We’ve found that for many businesses ‘mobile’ is really a quick shorthand for what really matters, which is reaching people in the right context,” Sajith says. “A device is a part of that, but enterprises really need to think about what context their customers are looking at."
Sajith says that some of the questions that should be asked are: Where will they be? At their desk, or on a street corner wondering where they should eat? And if so, when? At lunchtime, or in the evening after they get home from work?
“What prompts them to search? Is it an offline advertisement or is it just a growl in their stomach? It’s all about showing your customer the right advertisement at the right time, and not just about what screen they’ll be on,” Sajith says.
Besides these contextual issues, another challenge dogging mobile advertising is the fact that while such advertisements help customers meet some basic objectives, such as a call to install a particular company's or organisation's mobile app, it does not lead to direct response to advertising nor increase brand awareness.
Advertisers, some have argued, are an impatient lot and want immediate impact of the return-on-investment (ROI) on mobile ads.
To this, Sajith says working out the value of mobile is something that’s challenging everyone across the industry, whether it’s media, creative agencies, brands or business owners.
Saying that this situation is driven by consumer behaviour, he believes that advertisers are having difficulty because consumers use mobile differently than they use the desktop, and changing the way that they engage with brands all the way along the purchase journey.
“People’s purchases across different products and services change when they enjoy access to multiple screens,” Sajith argues. “For example, research that begins on mobile ends on desktop or with off-line purchases in-store, but there aren’t many tools that help advertisers understand what role mobile plays, or to measure its impact.”
'Think mobile first' culture
When asked what were some of the steps enterprises could take to gear themselves up to be more mobile, Sajith suggests that enterprises must ‘think mobile’ across every customer touchpoint, beginning with ensuring that they build a mobile website.
Noting that there is no one size fits all approach, Sajith believes that fancy apps are nice to have, but they aren’t necessary for everyone.
“It really can be as simple as a mobile optimised website with store hours and locations prominently displayed,” he says. “Another company might want to drive calls to its call centre or retail outlet with mobile search marketing. Or one can get more creative, driving sales with offers tailored to a user’s proximity to your store."
He also suggests that enterprises prepare for multiscreening – a process by which people do different things with their mobiles almost simultaneously, such as browsing via a smartphone while watching TV.
“For example, when we asked people how often they search from mobile after being exposed to offline ads, we found that seven in 10 reported doing searches prompted by other types of ads.
“[This represents] a big opportunity for any business doing ads in print, on TV, or even outdoor, to get all their campaigns working together," he says.