DIGIDAY:MOBILE – The State of Mobile Targeting (and What’s to Come)

Panel – Mobile Targeting: Strategies for Reaching Teens, Moms, and More

Sarah Amitay, VP and Mobile Media Director at Mobext (moderator)

Mark Looi, VP of Mobile Strategies at Globys

Brandon Lucas, VP and GM at BET Mobile

Jen Yip, Product Marketing at Mobclix

Jorey Ramer, Founder of Jumptap

Ramer highlighted some of the ways that targeting customers through mobile networks is easier and more effective that through digital or desktop advertising.  Mobile content is by necessity more focused and less cluttered content (due to bandwidth and screen limitations.)  Behavioral information is more accurate (as users are generally accessing information from a single mobile source), and geographical information is easily available and consistently available through the GPS on mobile devices.  Looi referred to this last point, noting the opportunities and challenges of location-based targeting.  When is a message relevant and when is it just a nuisance?  Lucas is excited to see that mobile advertising is now a part of the integrated marketing dialogue.  Ramer attributed this to a critical mass of mobile users, which beats out many of the top websites in reach.

As mobile is now part of the “normal” advertising mix, Yip explained, marketers must understand the touch points with the consumer and the expectations of the consumers’ behavior.  What kind of engagement and dialogue do you want to have with the consumer?  While mobile metrics have reflected digital metrics of a decade ago (such as the ubiquitious click-through rate), mobile advertisers are now beginning to track engagement.  Looi highlighted the different kinds of campaigns for which mobile can be used and the different strategies that marketers would use.

Looi asked to what extent mobile behavior tracking is looking in the rear-view mirror.  In other words, as mobile technology and behavior evolves, behaviors may change and reliance on how these devices are used today may be risky.  He imagines a pyramid, with low-commitment engagement at its base.  Higher engagement activities build upon this.  In his model, downloading an app is the top of the pyramid.

Lucas noted that BET looks where its audience is today and where they believe they will be tomorrow.  In their case, smartphone growth is just hitting their segment.  He notes that smartphones are where brands are excited, as it’s where they can demonstrate their creativity.  That is the area in which they are most excited to spend their money.  Ramer returned to a common message of the day when he noted that as mobile device performance and bandwidth grows, activity will shift from apps to mobile web in order for reach to grow.

Amitay asked what excited or worried the panel most about the mobile ecosystem.  Looi is excited about the promise of geo-location, but is concerned about privacy concerns that may arise, especially around youth.  Lucas is excited by lower prices on smartphones (his example, a $99 Android phone) and worried about fragmentation.  BET had to determine whether they wanted to be on the iPad at launch and how to pursue new technologies like HTML5.  Yip foresees convergence in the future but wonders what kinds of services can be inserted into the value chain to help agencies deliver.  Ramer sees a “Walmart effect” as usage rises and device prices fall.  In addition to fragmentation, he also worries about how metrics develop in the space.

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