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Mobile advertising: Welcome to the smartphone age

The growth of smartphone usage in the last few years has opened up another channel for marketers and brands to reach consumers.

According to to Nielsen’s Digital Consumer Report Q1 2014, americans spend an average of 34 hours a month on their smartphone. That is seven more hours than the 27 hours spent on their computers each month.

Also, this year smartphone penetration reached 70 percent of the United States’ mobile population.

Mexico has been experimenting a non less important growth.

E-marketer’s report “Mobile Mexico 2014: Consumers and Advertisers Meet in the Smartphone Market” published on February this year estimates 6.1 million people will be added to the country’s smartphone user population in 2014, reaching a total of 33.3 million.

That is more than one quarter of the country’s estimated 118.4 million inhabitants.

Advertisers and publishers have noticed this growing market by expanding their budget on mobile advertising, but Nielsen reports show that most participants are unsatisfied with their ability to measure the campaign’s effectiveness.

Advertisers say their two biggest obstacles to further mobile growth are calculating mobile return on investment (ROI) and lack of relevant success metrics for their mobile campaigns.

Because mobile advertising is still in such an early stage, the kind of ads displayed are similar to their online counterparts.
According to Nielsen’s report “The mobile Tipping Point: Best Practices for Accelerating Mobile Brand Advertising Growth”, mobile display and video are the two leading choices for both mobile web and mobile in-app advertising.

Of course mobile advertising isn’t exclusive to smartphones. Tablet usage is also fastly growing, but marketing strategies are mostly the same for both devices.

One exception is location targeting, also known as geotargeting, which is mostly used in smartphones.

Even though mobile usage is on the rise, mobile advertising campaigns aren’t at all independent from other mediums. Just 10% of the agencies surveyed by Nielsen answered they were employing mobile-only campaigns.

This shows that mobile advertising is often viewed as an integrated part of the marketer’s toolkit, and runs as part of multi-platform campaigns.

Specifically this makes up the main reason why marketers and publishers wish to use the same metrics for mobile advertising as other formats, but according to Nielsen only 22% of media sellers can provide the offline and mobile metrics that advertisers are looking for.

One option of measurement wanted by advertisers are the Gross Rating Points (GRP) which have been the standard metrics used to demonstrate audience reach in the TV medium, but publishers seem to measure audience reach with ad server impressions.

Another useful metric is the Return of Investment (ROI) which can be measured in clicktrough rates and brandlift. While publishers mostly use the first one, advertisers seek the second one.

The solution seems simple: Measure new medium campaigns with traditional metrics. Both, advertising and publishing companies who achieve this will be ahead of the game in the mobile advertising world. 

In a teamwork-like effort some digital publishing platforms, such as Publish88, use metrics that work for both the publisher and the advertisers.

By collecting data from each individual downloaded item by each individual user, advertisers can get to know the kind of audience reached by each publication, and get to see the impact on their brand first hand.

This data, along with other mobile tools, helps advertisers reach their desired audience by providing the information needed to create efficient campaigns.

Mobile advertising is already proving to be a good investment, useful and specific metrics will make it grow as efficiently and fast enough to keep up with the smartphone use penetration.