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Mobile marketing is huge. But how are marketers supposed to make it work?

November 28, 2016 | By Tim Bourgeois, Partner—East Coast Catalyst @ChiefDigOfficer

In the wake of this year’s U.S. presidential election, it’s admittedly difficult to place a whole lot of confidence in data of any kind (regardless of which side of the political isle you reside). Fortunately for us digital marketers,  one or two percentage points don’t often have monumental effects on our campaigns. More often than not, we pursue initiatives knowing that online is still an emerging channel, and—warts and all—is still more effective than its offline counterparts, even considering its weakness when it comes to reporting and performance data. Indeed, no matter the not insignificant margins-of-error we digital marketers know to be real and plan for, we also know that online channels provide us with superior insights and performance causality as compared to their offline brethren.

mmakantar1And it’s with these realities top-of-mind that we delve into this issue of Industry Research, where we examine the 2016 Global Mobile Trends Report, produced by Kantar Millward Brown and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). These organizations undertook the research, which encompassed MMA’s Global Smarties and Cannes Mobile Lions finalists, to identify mobile marketing trends, and understand the business impact of a winning mobile campaign.

Marketers of every stripe know that mobile-related activity on the internet exceeded desktop sometime around 2014, and has been on an upward trajectory ever since. Yet, though mobile has been a hot topic for several years, marketers continue to struggle to make it work successfully. And with good reason: The ecosystem is evolving at warp speed, so there are no absolute best practices to follow. The Kantar-MMA study provides tips and tricks for how to make the channel work for you. Here’s what you need to know.

Mobile Delivers on Branding Initiatives

Takeaway: Be open to using mobile platforms in new ways to renew your brand’s relevance among your target

Marketers flocked to the digital channel initially for its amazing tracking and conversion abilities. As the channel has evolved, stratification naturally occurred. Today, digital segments — organic search, paid search, display, email, etc. – have been defined and categorized for different jobs. And mobile, for the foreseeable future at least, is emerging as an effective branding tool.

Marketers Have Shifted Mobile Efforts from Sales to Equity & Engagement

Takeaway: Top performers consider deepening consumer engagement as important a mobile campaign objective as increasing sales

The study illustrates case studies from Samsung and Sony Pictures to show the impact that mobile techniques can deliver on mobile efforts aimed at getting consumers involved. Samsung used a campaign to get iPhone users to experience the Galaxy S6. Sony relied on mobile advertising to engage consumers about an upcoming movie (Goosebumps), which eventually landed in the #1 spot during opening weekend.

Mobile-First Campaigns Out-Perform Mobile Bolt-Ons

Takeaway: Mobile forms a creative cornerstone and can be bolstered by other channels

To say ‘great mobile campaigns put mobile as the cornerstone’ may seem redundant, obvious, or both. But mobile ads only accounted for about ⅓ of the U.S. marketplace last year. While mobile is growing faster than desktop (50%+ annually, versus ~5%), desktop will continue to be the majority digital advertising channel for at least a few more years.

So for all of the focus on mobile by Google and the other digital titans, mobile advertising is still adolescent and a needs to mature aggressively in order to evolve into a digital marketing best practice. In the meantime, sophisticated marketers who develop a genuine understanding f the channel will reap benefits until others catch up.

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BourgeoisTim Bourgeois (@ChiefDigOfficer) is a partner at East Coast Catalyst, a Boston-based digital consulting companyspecializing in strategic roadmaps, digital marketing audits, and online marketing optimization programs.

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