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Why Getting Mobile Right is NOT Easy



Marketers are always being urged to “get mobile right,” and of course it’s just common sense, given mobile devices’ rise to utter dominance. But getting mobile right is easier said than done. After all, we’re only ten years into the Smartphone Era that began with the first iPhones in 2007. It’s wrong to assume that businesses can easily process the challenges and opportunities that come with new information and communications technology that puts them — and the consumer — a tap or two away from a universe of shopping and marketing opportunities that would have been unimaginable a scant decade-and-a-half ago. Any sweeping technological change that takes virtually complete charge of how we all live needs time to sink in and get right. It took nearly 30 years to go from the first commercial dial-up internet service to the introduction of iOS and Android mobile wireless operating systems. The takeaway is that if you’re still not sure how to get mobile right, it doesn’t mean you’re dreadfully behind the curve. 


The advertising industry has been especially concerned about how to get mobile right. There’s still widespread uncertainty and anxiety over how to determine whether a particular digital ad really works. In the most recent issue of the Advertising Research Foundation’s Journal of Advertising Research, two comScore executives examine the state of ad measurement in an article titled “Are You Using the Right Mobile Advertising Metrics?”


The authors, Gian M. Fulgoni, cofounder and CEO of comScore, and Andrew Lipman, the company’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Insights, write that relying on how frequently consumers click on a digital ad is an example of “murky mobile metrics.” Among other insights, they argue that audience reach should be a key metric for mobile, especially as it compares to ads viewed on desktops. They cite comScore’s own research to quantify the extent and efficacy of that reach. Among their findings:


Measured by viewing time, mobile claims 75% of Facebook’s audience, 69% of YouTube’s, and 99% for Instagram.


In a comScore study of 14 advertising campaigns in 2016, mobile ads had a nearly 10-point advantage over desktop ads in reaching the brands’ target audiences.


Campaigns that devoted more than 10% of their impressions to mobile had a 10-point advantage over campaigns that invested in television alone.


Another article in the same edition of the Journal, by Kristin Stewart, an assistant professor of marketing at California State University, San Marcos, and Isabella Cunningham, professor of Communication at the University of Texas, Austin, also treats the momentum toward mobile advertising as a given, driven by mobile’s reach.


“As the frequency of consumers’ interaction with…platforms changes…so should the distribution of advertising dollars. Platforms’ allocation typically has lagged behind platform usage.”


Again, that lag time is understandable amid dizzying and comprehensive change in how consumers and brands access each other. Getting it right requires signposts and proven best practices that are still being developed. But some things never change. In advertising, the enduring imperative is to hone messages that work, regardless of platform or medium. And so the constant challenge and opportunity presented by sweeping change goes on.


With the need for mobile learning in mind, MFour is offering a GreenBook webinar on how brands can maximize their campaigns’ effectiveness on social media before the campaign begins — by using an innovative new method called Social Ad Testing. Powered by new technology and an app-based survey panel, it tests ads in the natural environments in which they’ll need to succeed: the actual social media news feeds of the brand’s target audience. The webinar, “Mobile Ad Testing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube Feeds,” begins Thursday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. Eastern, hosted by a trio of operations and solutions experts from MFour. To sign up (and get a leg up on getting mobile advertising right), just click here.