‘Tapping’ Into an Opportunity


Global marketing and communications giant WPP’s CEO makes a good point: traditional ad budgets have been spent on print (newspapers and magazines) and TV commercials but what about ‘mobile’ advertising? It accounts for just 12-16% of spend and when you consider how much time people spend on their smartphones or tablets and compare that to how much time is spent watching TV or reading a paper or magazine  –  it has to be questioned whether the ad world missing a trick?

Yes, says Sir Martin Sorrell, but don’t feel bad; the technology until now has not been a particularly supportive friend either. Rich media data has been limited to HTML coding because Flash is often not supported; in addition there are hundreds of smartphone handsets that differ in screen size and capabilities, not to mention differing rates of wireless access. Even if the advertisers were able to circumnavigate these issues, they were met with consumer resistance and ad-blocking technologies. But Sorrell insists: “It is a multi-billion dollar opportunity that is still untapped.”

So will mobile marketing’s success always be linked to, and hampered by, technology’s capabilities? Yes and no. If anything, advertisers need to stop thinking in print or video terms – even though people read magazines and newspapers and watch TV on their tablets and phones, doesn’t mean they will be receptive to ads that follow traditional formats on this ‘new’ medium. Advertisers need to be more creative. It’s no wonder that Sorrell mentioned to Beet.TV that he believes it will be the small, agile, creative digital agencies that crack mobile advertising.

Magna Global, the intelligence and strategy consultancy for ad agencies, noted that mobile ad spend grew in 2016 by 48% to reach US$80bn (representing 16% of total ad spend) but that it was unlikely to reach more than 36% of total ad spend by 2020 unless mobile advertising becomes a more attractive proposition in its own right.

So what is mobile advertising? It encompasses everything from banner images and short videos, to pop-ups and SMS messages directly to the phone. It’s little wonder then that consumers can feel bombarded. Savvy marketers have been making small but significant steps to work with the consumer; such as using iBeacons to transmit offers via SMS to shopper’s phones based on their shopping history or relevant banner ads for those shopping online based on their browser history. Not only are the ads ‘making themselves useful’ to the customer, they are tapping into the wealth of data generated by the population’s online habits. Consumers can be targeted in a way that has never been possible before – and that fact alone is the strongest argument there is for an increased ad spend on mobile. Now is the time for advertisers to get creative.

For impactful creative that makes your ad spend count, get in touch with Amnet to plan your online campaigns.