MITX Mobile Marketing Summit: The Rise of Social, Targeting and Ad Tech

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Fasten your seatbelts, the mobile revolution has already hit terminal mass, and marketers must quickly shift strategies to meet the newly mobile consumer. This month participants at MITX’s mobile marketing summit tackled mobile-centric topics including how to engage the mobile consumer and implement cross-channel campaign integration, identify relevant ad measurement metrics and advance mobile targeting, analytics and ROI.

A few members of the Moontoast team were lucky enough to attend, and the topics at MITX were so thought-provoking I’ve now heard hours of discussion around the office. As The Weather Company’s Cameron Clayton put it in his keynote, “If (marketers) don’t step up and start spending and testing and doing (mobile), consumers will change their brand preference in a heartbeat. The audience has already moved, so you have to move with them.”

Mobile and Social are Converging

When you woke up today, what was your first move beyond snoozing the alarm? If you’re like most Americans, you probably reached for your smartphone to check the weather or your social profile. In fact, Clayton stated that 30% of Americans start and end their day by checking Facebook on their phone, while 25% first check the weather. Moreover, people spend more of their mobile time on Facebook than for any other purpose. As Michael Bayle of ESPN Mobile confirmed, smartphone owners spend an average of ~28 billion minutes/week within the Facebook mobile app versus 28 billion minutes on the all mobile websites combined. We’re seeing a clear trend where mobile users are spending more of their time on social networks like Facebook, and more Facebook users are shifting to mobile.

Given these stats and the fact that marketers follow their customers, Facebook’s mobile ad growth from 0% of total ad revenue in January of 2012 to 30% by the end of Q1 2013 makes sense. And when you think about it, it also makes sense that the two areas are converging – both social and mobile serve the purpose of connecting individuals, and combining them further enhances these connections. The question then becomes not where to find your customers, but how to reach them?

Mobile Ad Success Requires Effective Targeting, Content and Ad Forms

Successful mobile advertising relies on overcoming two primary challenges: effectively targeting customers without the availability of internet cookies, and serving those customers rich media content that they want to engage with.

Ad Targeting

Once again, social media lies at the heart of the most effective mobile ad targeting. Using Facebook and third-party Facebook ad targeting providers, mobile marketers can target users by demographic, affinities, social information, device used, behavior and even CRM information. The standard Facebook targeting capabilities allow you to send mobile ads to a select group of potential or existing customers at scale – a rare combination in ad targeting. Moreover, advertisers can now combine information housed in CRM with their Facebook accounts to further refine or expand their reach, creating truly unparalleled targeting capabilities. If you can define your ideal customer, you can use Facebook to target them on mobile to achieve results like Nanigans, which sees their Page Post ads perform 20-50 times better than desktop ads on the right hand side. An additional benefit of mobile? There is no right hand side on your phone, so all ads appear in the center of the News Feed.

Ad forms and content

Even with the best targeting in the world, un-engaging content will get you nowhere, and with the rise of social and mobile, engaging content has become more important than ever. My experience with successful mobile advertising coincides with the view of panelist Edward Montes of Digilant, who spoke about the interesting shift in the definition of advertising from push-based to pull-based communication with consumers.

The best mobile ads require creating valuable content on the front-end and ad tech that makes the content more engaging on the back-end. Brands must understand what their customers want and provide that content to them – things like flash deals, insider contests, exclusive content and other bonuses that make them feel valued. Then, to bring this content to life, mobile marketers need ad tech to turn the ads into rich media units, allowing customers to browse catalogs, sign up for special offers, watch videos, or complete transactions within the mobile ad unit itself. On mobile, one can not succeed without the other. Even the best content will ruin the consumer experience if it takes them away from their current page, and even the most engaging ad format falls flat without a valuable offer.

‘The Audience has Already Moved, so You Have to Move With Them’

Cameron’s words were spot on, and this post only scratches the surface of how to unlock the full potential of mobile. By combining social and mobile with ad targeting, valuable copy and the best ad tech you can achieve significant ROI on your marketing and advertising efforts. Beyond that, you must also incorporate the right metrics and analytics, as well as understand the difference in consumer habits on smartphones vs. tablets and exactly what types of content speak to mobile consumers.

Next up, I’ll delve deeper into what it takes to succeed on mobile, but for now I’d like to ask, how has your company adapted to the mobile revolution? Do you focus more on content and ad form, targeting and data, or both? Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or in the comments below.

Marcus Whitney
Marcus Whitney is the CTO and Co-Founder of Moontoast, an innovative social rich media advertising solutions leader that delivers premium rich media experiences and social advertising ROI. Gartner Research has named Moontoast a "Cool Vendor" in Music and eCommerce. Prior to launching Moontoast, Mr. Whitney served as a partner and Director of Technology at Emma (www.myemma.com), a unique email marketing company. He and his team built Emma's email marketing platform from the ground up, enabling Emma to become a multi-million dollar business.

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