Mobile Advertising Conference Summary

Borrell Associates hosted a local Mobile Advertising conference in Dallas (September 27-29). Presented are key takeaways from that conference that attempt to answer today’s questions and envision what is on the horizon.

Current mobile overview

Jack Philbin, Vice Chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association and co-founder and president of Chicago-based Vibes Media, highlights the mobile landscape:

  • Mobile Apps: A very small percentage of people download and use them. This is limited by the number of Americans (23%) currently using smartphones.
  • Mobile web: About 25% to 30% of people in the United States are currently surfing the mobile web on their phone.
  • Mobile text: 70% of people currently use text messaging – it is viewed as the workhorse of the industry.

The best way to start a conversation is via text,” Philbin states. “You can actually embed the links to launch people into a mobile website and link people to that mobile app or download that mobile app.” All these different channels must be integrated to make an effective mobile strategy.

Mobile offers

“Your cell phone is much closer to your wallet than your PC,” Jim Buckley, Director of Digital Business Development, Valpak (which offers coupon delivery through various media). He highlights the attractiveness of mobile and notes that there are differences in consumers' coupon redemptive behavior as related to print, online and mobile coupons. Buckley states that the direct mail industry reports a 1% print redemption rate and a 10% to 13% for online coupons. With mobile coupons, Buckley notes the rate can reach north of 20%. Further, Valpak's redemption on the iPad is 6% to 8% higher than other mobile devices.

SMS is touted along with the right organizational structure

Don’t over look SMS maintains Clark Gilbert, President and CEO of Utah-based Deseret Media. “Not only is mobile growing, but the older SMS technology is also not to be discounted. It is standard and accessible across every device. Look at the forecast that Borrell has in this category (SMS) in local especially — it's bigger than e-mail, it's bigger than browser-based portal. It's simple, it's easy, there's no load time,” Gilbert states.

He also adds, “In the mobile sphere, you need the right organizational structure and people with ‘digital DNA’.”

Hints for a successful mobile campaign – now and in the future

Jeffrey Litvack, Manager of Global Product Development, The Associated Press, suggests that there are three keys to a successful mobile campaign:

  • High-visibility placement: He said that in general, top ads work better than bottom ads.
  • Mobile page: After the ad is clicked, advertisers cannot just serve up a web page. It must be a mobile-specific page.
  •  Easy next step: Advertisers must have “click to call,” a “click to map,” and/or a “click to action,” where coupons can be delivered directly through text message.

Litvack indicates that mobile will soon embrace geo-aware ads (e.g., consumers search ads based on their location or ads pushed to consumers mobile when they are near a particular store/location).

Using experts in the sales process

Matt Jones, Vice President of Mobile Strategy and Operations for Gannett states its organization is ramping up its mobile sales efforts. It is not totally satisfied without mobile specialists who are able to go out on pitches with an expertise in the mobile arena. So the company uses print, digital and mobile sales reps. meani