Mobile Advertising: The Risk and the Reward

Long gone are the days of the 2.4 family sat around the TV during primetime. These days, people consume media on a more individual level, and as media consumption becomes more individual, so it becomes more personal.

Media consumption has diversified over the last 10-15 years, and with the advent of smartphones and tablets, technology has made it easier for people to live their online lives without being tied to a desktop computer. For users, mobile means freedom and flexibility. For advertisers, it means fragmentation.

As an advertiser, what are the potential pitfalls and risks of this booming channel, and how can you see the rewards?

Risk/reward

Adoption rates and time spent on devices have soared over the last few years and continue to do so, but while ad dollars going into mobile advertising are growing as desktop ad budgets flatline, there’s still a large degree of scepticism about its effectiveness.

Mobile devices are an extension of the user themselves, with instant access to social media channels, personalized news services and of course, their nearest and dearest friends and family.

For advertisers this represents a great opportunity, but also a difficult challenge. On one hand mobile gives advertisers a platform to reach an audience that is hugely engaged. On the other, if the ad is irrelevant, it’ll jarr more with the user because it doesn’t fit within their personalized experience. This degree of risk is what’s slowing big investment into the channel. But as is always the case with risk, the potential for reward is great.

Adding value to the personal experience

Some of the best ad campaigns, regardless of medium, are those that give an audience more of what they want, or a better way of doing it.

EA Games, the video game publisher behind the FIFA series, analyzed activity on the game’s Facebook page to find out their audience’s favorite content. They discovered that people loved sharing clips of their best goals, so designed a Facebook App enabling gamers to submit videos of their best goals, which EA’s team then curated before publishing a showreel at the end of each week. These videos have achieved 4,280,000 views in three months.

The concept of adding value to the user experience is crucial to making mobile advertising work. Mobile users want content, not advertising. But advertising that adds value is content in its own right. And that’s where advertisers need to be.

This off-beat video from Nerve.com puts an alternative spin on presenting an online dating service. Whether you’re interested in their product or not, the video is engaging enough to stand alone as valuable content. It’s a winner both ways, and that, combined with the suitability of the format, is what makes it a winner on mobile.

In short

For advertising on mobile to succeed, it needs to fit within the personal experience of the user. Advertisers have the opportunity to connect more powerfully with audiences than ever before, it’s the quality of the advertising and it’s ability to add value to this experience, that will define whether the opportunity is truly realized.