At Neo@Ogilvy’s Mobile Day, Panelists Talk Targeting Challenges

mobile-challengeMobile advertisers must get better at understanding their customers or risk repeating the mistakes made in traditional display advertising, according to panelists at Neo@Ogilvy’s client event, Mobile Day, which took place yesterday in New York City.

“The challenge for many brands is that the user experience breaks down when consumers go from one device to another,” commented Are Traasdahl, CEO of cross-device marketing firm TapAd. “Advertising technology is organized around screens and not the consumer, which is frustrating…consumers expect a continued user experience.”

Martin Lange, executive marketing director of digital strategy at Ogilvy & Mather, agreed. The marketing space is “evolving in that we don’t have just one consumer, but lots of different facets of the consumer and the industry has to move from just being on a mobile device to knowing whom they’re talking to,” Lange said.

Brands are beginning to embrace mobile advertising in interesting ways, Lange added. There’s “a lot of promise” in the ways that marketers are using contextual data and various data sources to efficiently target consumers in the right context. At the same time, according to Lange, marketers are at risk of missing the mark with mobile advertising.

“We’re resorting to models that we used in the past, which is traditional advertising buy,” he said. “As we’re buying display ads…we’re replicating the same model on mobile and we’re about to kill that channel just as we’ve killed desktop advertising and email. Email open rates and click-thru-rates are marginal compared to what they used to be, because we’ve been throwing disruptive messages at people and hoping that someone will respond to them. I just have a fear that the mobile industry is going down the same slippery slope.”

As consumers get accustomed to an “immersive experience” with their mobile devices, it is up to brands to find meaningful ways to engage them, noted John Fredette, manager of global media and sponsorship marketing at IBM.

Mobile advertising, Fredette commented, “had better be contextual and it better make sense because people get irritated just by the fact of it.”

In addition, while marketers often get caught up looking for the “newest shiny toy,” the “real story” should always be about understanding the customer, added Michael Weaver, VP of advertising strategy at mobile marketing company HipCricket.

“It can’t be ‘let’s throw a media campaign at people and measure clicks,’” he noted. “It’s about understanding the consumer’s behavior throughout the lifecycle of the multiple devices that they’re using.”

Despite the challenges behind mobile advertising, more advertisers are willing to dedicate a growing portion of their budget to it, according to eMarketer. US digital ad spend is forecast to hit $42.3 billion this year, up from $36.8 billion last year, according to the research firm’s latest estimates. Mobile ad spend is expected to reach $8.5 billion in a 95% increase from 2012 and will account for 20.1% of all digital ad spending and 5.0% of total media ad spend.

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