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Lifting the Veil on Mobile Web

IAB Mobile Symposium 1

There’s a bit of a disconnect when people think about mobile, and I understand why. What I heard a lot at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting was that brands wanted a different path to mobile. And they are looking for data points to prove that there are other ways to achieve KPIs and a percentage of demographic targets than just running a blanket mobile campaign on Google or Facebook.

One of my professional objectives this year is to lift the veil on mobile attribution, and on mobile web specifically. Some of this will be around solving pieces of mobile ID and some of it will be around better understanding user behavior on mobile, which in the past has sort of been this black box that few can access.

The Three Challenges of Mobile

  1. Telling a big story on a small screen
  2. Finding the right space to tell that story
  3. Understanding value as opposed to cost

At Kargo, we’re trying to be more intuitive about user behavior by democratizing how we think about mobile advertising, the same way that broadcasters had to figure this out when television became an advertising medium way back when.

As recently as 2015, people were apprehensive about shorter form assets on mobile even though user sessions on average were just two and a half minutes. Using third party research, we discovered that brands could be effective on mobile with a story under 10 seconds, and that those stories provided more recall and brand favorability than a pre-roll asset.

What is Mobile Web?

There is still confusion around how people define mobile environments. As an example, people often do not realize that a lot of time spent on social is actually being spent on mobile web. If you are on Facebook and see a link to a New York Times article, unless it’s a (Facebook) Instant Article, you are most likely launching into a mobile kit browser.

Because you are most likely reading content on the mobile web, instead of scrolling quickly, your session time can be twice as long. As a result of that slower velocity, ads stay on screen longer, and people are remembering them faster because their eyes are moving slowly through the content.

When engaging with an app, you are scrolling and swiping quickly through the content, so you are not processing the information as adeptly. Yet, in spite of this behavior, approximately 80% of mobile investment dollars go to apps. Brands gravitate to them because they are measurable and easy to invest in. But if you look at total app time, 84% of that is spent on the top five apps. That is a really disproportionate investment strategy.

Proactive research and learning around mobile web as a better alternative to apps is the kind of strategic direction we’ve taken to make sure that brands are not just thinking about reach, but are thinking about how to really engage with consumers.

What Should it Cost?

Another misconception is that programmatic buying on mobile should be cheap. Brands often don’t understand the tremendous value of running in more high impact formats, or appearing in a closed marketplace free of fake news or questionable content. Kargo only works with the top 70 media companies and 300 mobile websites related to them. The more that people understand the value of working with well-known and respected publications, the more they will understand the real cost of mobile.

Where is the Value?

I see more and more brands working directly with publishers because, at the client level, they are usually interested less in crunching margins than figuring out ways to do things better.

The current agency model does not allow them to be as creative as they would like because the client has historically — and a lot of people at the conference spoke pretty openly about this — put a ton of pressure on the agency to value cost over quality. As a result, that pressure translates into not working towards solutions that are going to benefit the client, but rather just to those that save costs in the short term.

Manifesting the Future

Kargo helps clients see which nuances of a particular ad approach are working best. This allows them to not only see those practices as it relates to our work, but also to see how it relates to running all of their media globally. This educational component gives modern thinking brands a way to be better marketers in total.

21st century publishers realize that they have been overlooked as the entity that can manifest content across different channels and monetize it in a way that helps brands sustain long-term business. A publisher can help brands understand where they should focus their efforts to best secure a better and more robust future.

This was our second time at the ALM, and we look at it as a great opportunity to have our leading clients, both on the publishing and brand sides, get together. What distinguishes the ALM from all other conferences is the opportunity to discuss not just what is happening now, but to discuss the future as well. It’s an invaluable experience to be able to roll up our sleeves and be the ones working to think, discuss and future-proof all of our businesses together.