Mobile Utility Or Mobile Entertainment? Marketers, Please Choose

mn_LK“Marketer’s Note” is a regular column informing marketers about the rapidly evolving, digital marketing technology ecosystem.

This week it is written by Lizzie Komar, Associate Analyst, AdExchanger Research.  

If you’re like me, you use your mobile device primarily for two things: service, as a means to manage the many demands of your day-to-day life, and entertainment, as a portal for distraction from aforementioned “many demands.” And it seems we’re relying on our mobile devices for service and entertainment more and more each month.

According to Citrix, 78% of mobile health app users now use fitness apps to track their fitness goals (service), up from 39% in 2014, and the amount of sports video content accessed over mobile (entertainment) has more than doubled from 21% in the third quarter of 2014 to 50% in the first quarter of 2015.

As a consumer, I’m perfectly happy with my mobile service and entertainment experiences, but as a research analyst who covers mobile advertising, I can’t help but notice how infrequently brands are a purposeful part of them. And I’m concerned it’s because most marketers haven’t fully considered the profound role a brand can play in a user’s life if it figures out how to capitalize on these times when a user needs service or entertainment. They’ve often gotten into mobile advertising or have built a mobile app just because they know they should, yet haven’t fully thought through how to present a user with an experience they can’t resist because it satisfies a real mobile need.

But some brands have done this well. BENGAY, for example, knew that its ethos as a brand best lent itself the service sphere of mobile experiences. The company decided to target prospective customers during their fitness routines by adding BENGAY-sponsored loyalty functionality to 28 different smartphone workout apps. When a user finished a run or workout session, BENGAY would provide a small reward, such as a free Amazon MP3 download, and words of encouragement. The campaign delivered BENGAY a 38% lift in purchase intent. By injecting the brand into the mobile service of users in a way that increased the “stickiness” of an app, BENGAY was able to make a real impression on users through a mobile device.

Samsung went the entertainment route. To promote the capability of Galaxy SIII smartphones that allows users to tap two phones together to share content instantly via NFC technology, the brand bought out-of-home media space where people were “most likely to have extra time on their hands.” The out-of-home ads included life-sized images of people holding a Galaxy SIII, with a direction for other SIII users to hold up their phone to the ad. When a user held up her phone, a free song, video or e-book was instantly downloaded to the device. The Galaxy SIII went on to outsell iPhones during the campaign period and resulted in 90,000 interactions with the posters and kiosks.

What I love about these campaigns is how much value they deliver to the user – by meeting a service or entertainment need, advertising becomes useful to customers, rather than an interruption. So, as you begin to ramp up your mobile advertising spend through 2015 and into 2016, think about how you can deliver ads that actually improve users’ existing mobile service and entertainment experiences, not interrupt or distract from them.

Follow Lizzie Komar (@LizzieKomar) and AdExchanger Research (AdExchangerRsch) on Twitter. 

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1 Comment

  1. Dan Kontrat

    At the end of the day, you’re speaking to the issue of relevance. The message has to be relevant. But it also has to be attract. People do judge books by their covers. A static banner of two colors and simple text? Nothing for me. An Abstract Banner from Airpush, on the other hand? It looks good so I won’t ignore it. That’s the secret here. Relevance and aesthetics. You can’t have one without the other.