In a world that’s increasingly mobile in terms of time spent and also ad dollar allocation, a key take-away from the IAB Nexgen Marketing Conference, overall, is that there is still quite a learning curve on how to get mobile marketing and advertising right. Marketers must consider consumer expectations on their mobile devices, technical requirements, and targeting considerations in the evolving data/ public policy landscape. They must also evaluate the seemingly endless introduction of shiny new ad formats which can require a shift on the creative agency front and evaluation of new types of partners. From upper funnel awareness campaigns to true performance campaigns using text/editorial, images, video and even AR formats, there is no shortage of available tactics to explore and adopt. The mobile-focused topics featured at IAB NexGen shone a light on some emerging areas, providing news the audience could use while answering the questions on many attendee’s minds. Some insights into the conversations follow:
Mobile App and Mobile Web Advertising – Mobile-first creative that puts the consumer first will win
The packed room for this session showed the strong interest in learning more about how to strike the right balance between mobile web and mobile app advertising. While the speakers from AccuWeather, Ogury and Zynga were coming at mobile from different vantage points, one thing they all agreed on is that it’s not an either/or discussion when it comes to mobile web and mobile app. What IS important, however, is that marketers understand the differences in terms of consumer expectations and usage of app vs. web, and to consider their ad campaigns/creative accordingly. For instance, apps have more of an element of interaction where consumers could be more receptive to more targeted messages. Higher frequency of app visits and time spent vs. mobile web may warrant additional creative in the mobile app rotation. Social media, along with IAB Tech Lab Dynamic Ad specifications, have brought in a new era of asset-based creative which means a new way of thinking about how ads are created to be as relevant as possible to the viewer. And, of course, respecting the mobile consumer with light weight ads that load quickly and don’t drain battery life is of paramount importance.
Savvy marketers and their agencies are realizing that mobile-first/mobile optimized creative can have a dramatic impact on engagement and effectiveness.
Augmented Reality – The time for brands to get ready is now
In IAB’s new AR for Marketing Playbook, Augmented Reality (AR) is defined an experience that utilizes a camera to change or enhance the user’s view of the real world. This experience can be app-based or web-based, though app-based is more common today. With 1 billion expected users by 2020, and an expected $2.6 billion in ad spend by 2022, consumers are clearly showing an appetite for the unique type of experiences AR offers, creating new opportunities for brands to tell their stories in a fresh, engaging, and creative growing format. While all this is promising, this is still a nascent area when it comes to marketing and advertising.
Accenture Interactive, Activision Blizzard Esports, Intel Studios and RYOT spoke at a session titled “The Rise of Immersive Storytelling through AR” that was moderated by Verizon Media. All agreed that the time for brands to get ready for AR is now! However, there is still a learning curve to be had by both marketers and consumers so experimentation is key to see what works best based on your objectives. Starting niche and testing is a suggested approach for those new to the space. In terms of measurement, most metrics common to more traditional digital executions can be tracked in AR. But because AR provides new dimensions of interactivity in the context of a user’s real-world space, new AR metrics may evolve in the future to help marketers understand how consumers are interacting with brands. The panel ended with a watch out in this space related to gathering identifiable data for certain types of AR executions and some suggestions for repurposing 3D assets for scale (e.g., create your plan upfront designed to repurpose assets for web AR, direct mail, etc.)
Content to Commerce: Social Selling & Affiliate Marketing in a Mobile First World
The rise of the direct brand economy has been met with a heightened awareness around the ability and application of social selling and affiliate marketing and more traditional brands are taking notice. Brands are increasingly leveraging this channel to deepen relationships with customers and broaden sales potential. Most leading publishers are getting into the affiliate space as are leading on-line shopping platforms such as Amazon, Wal-Mart and more. For many marketers, however, there are questions to be answered: What exactly is affiliate marketing? How is it different vs. Influencer marketing? How does it work? What are its benefits and challenges? How do I get started? How do I assess its ROI?
The panelists from BuzzFeed, Wavemaker and Mizzen + Main addressed some of these questions. Generally speaking, all agreed that affiliate marketing is storytelling with a performance slant, e.g., a goal of conversion or traffic to a site. This differs from Influencer marketing which is more of an upper funnel tactic, although increasingly the lines are getting blurred with influencers ability to now add direct selling links on some social media platforms. An important note is that social selling/affiliate marketing is rooted in data. From the selection of an affiliate or influencer partner to the distribution of content, and from audience targeting to the tracking of conversion, having the right mechanisms in place for data is key. Marrying this data to the creative itself can be a key to success.
IAB is kicking off an Affiliate Marketing Working Group to develop a playbook with definitions and best practices. Interested IAB members are invited to participate. Email [email protected] for more information.