Digital Essays 2014: 2015 – The year of developing a comprehensive mobile strategy

Naveed Ahmad Resized

Brands today are interested in how partners can develop robust business intelligence that goes beyond CTR, says Naveed Ahmad.

In the past 18 months since entering the Middle East, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in the mindset of both agencies and brands in relation to mobile advertising. We are seeing a clear distinction of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. More specifically, those brands and agencies who have engaged in developing a mobile strategy and those who are still waiting for the ‘Year of Mobile’ to arrive.

The challenge for both groups remains trying to distinguish what differentiates each of these ad tech partners from another. The positive news for both brands and agencies is that they have their choice of flavours to choose from. Additionally, many agencies are utilising their in-house ad tech platforms via their agency trading desks.

I believe that 2015 will be a watershed year for mobile advertising as brands and agencies move from a piecemeal, mix-and-match approach, to developing comprehensive mobile advertising strategies. This approach will incorporate a partnership between the agencies and a select few ‘value-add’ partners including: data management platforms, demand side platforms and trading desk solutions.

Our agency partners are already demanding more than simple banner ad placements. They are drilling down and wanting to understand what type of mobile ad format would best achieve the campaign objectives. We are moving beyond rich media engagement to a combination of native ad solutions, video interstitials and innovative brand gamification units. More recently, we have had discussions with various partners regarding not just post click analytics, but creative analytics and A/B testing of ad units.

Brands are no longer interested in single campaign results in isolation, but rather how their mobile partners can support a consistent yet engaging messaging on mobile devices via a number of different approaches. More importantly, in how can we develop robust business intelligence that goes beyond CTR.

This is not going to come overnight. However, we believe that simply providing an ad tech solution to our partners is no longer viable. Our partners are requiring mobile strategists, innovators who they can work with and provide the most optimal solution for their clients.

Three strategies for agency partners moving into 2015

  1. Data-driven decision-making

Digital has unleashed an unprecedented number of data sets that, if leveraged successfully, can unlock a better understanding of how to create optimal ROI for a brand’s marketing spend. The challenge becomes the selection of data sets and subsequently optimising these sets to maximise performance. We believe, mobile ad tech companies will need to focus their investment around innovative approaches by which to best leverage these data sets derived from mobile applications. By focusing on this specific data source, mobile ad tech platforms can become specialists in developing insights and analytics to further improve brands’ ROI on mobile market spend. Finally, we believe the visualisation of this information will become as important as the raw data itself.

  1. Mobile-first messaging beyond creative execution

Another key trend we anticipate in 2015 is further innovation on how brand messaging is displayed on mobile devices. Brands have already started to move beyond standard mobile banner ads and are starting to experiment with engaging ‘mobile-first’ rich media creative. As we move forward, we believe successful agencies will work with their partners to provide a much deeper approach to mobile creative. This will not only include new formats such as interactive video, 3D rich media and brand gamification strategies, but will explore testing of which creative execution was the most effective. Agencies and their partners will combine a umber of different formats for one single campaign. This would involve video, native ads and rich media as a holistic strategy in line with their TV, out of home and print messaging. Creative analytics will become as important as measuring consumer engagement and post-click attribution.

  1. In-app retargeting

Finally, we believe that 2015 will be the year of mobile in-app retargeting. Many brands have revisited their initial mobile strategy, now establishing robust mobile store fronts that are developed to add value to their consumers. In 2015, brands will look to spend significant marketing dollars to try and ensure that their consumers continue to engage in their mobile app and not get lost in wide array of mobile apps already existing on typical consumer’s mobile device. The re-engagement of consumers will result in in-app retargeting. Moreover, as beacon technology, mobile payments and digitalisation of loyalty programmes increase in 2015, retargeting brand consumers on applications will gain significant traction.

As we move quickly into 2015, the mobile ad-tech ecosystem will begin to show clear signs of maturity as brands and agencies show their sophistication in mobile advertising.

(Naveed Ahmad is CEO at Addictive Mobility)