IAB Mobile Council discusses Opportunities & Challenges in Mobile Advertising

Posted by IAB Australia On June 24, 2014

IAB Australia’s Mobile Advertising Council was launched back in 2011 to evaluate the needs of the Australian mobile advertising industry; establish a program of work for mobile advertising; produce, fund and promote mobile research studies; and produce and promote mobile standards and guidelines. Since the formation of the council the local mobile ad industry has seen phenomenal growth and now represents over 1 in 5 digital display dollars in Australia. Currently 17 different organisations are involved in the Mobile Advertising Council representing a wide range of media buyers and sellers.

We asked our current council members to share their thoughts on the Mobile Advertising environment and more. We’re happy to share their thoughts below.

Graham Christie | Big Mobile | What do you think are the key challenges to improving the mobile ad market in Australia?

I think mobile is like a teenager given growth hormone to transform their body and catapult them into adulthood, but with the development of their mind left as secondary. Mobile maturing at such an accelerated rate has polarised marketers behaviours in Australia.

So the challenge? One word – we must become more DISCERNING.

Discerning of quality audiences; the long tail of mobile users offers vast reach but it gets really murky the further down into the depths media buys go, and brands suffer.

Discerning on placement; marketers need good viewability and the ability to stand-out, and these opportunities exist at scale.

Discerning in investment; with mobile attracting 21%+ of all display dollars, every business needs people who know the difference between price and ROI, remembering Advertising is media that is bought versus Marketing being a solution that is invested in.

Discerning in governance; demanding transparency and certainty around brand safe environments, and reporting that empowers them to make changes that can be tracked and accounted for.

Discerning on ideation and creativity; poor communication equals no communication, and people deserve to be engaged and entertained as much – perhaps more, on mobile as they do on any other medium. Let’s mature our thinking, and become more discerning.

Andrew Eckford | Google | In your opinion what is the most interesting development in the mobile ad market at the moment?

One costly mistake many Australian marketers are making today is to confuse the question of ‘what sales did I get on mobile?’ with ‘what sales did I get through mobile?’

Mobile is responsible for many more sales than those ultimately transacted on the device. For example, 61% of Aussie smartphone users have searched for products while already in a store, and 22% have changed their mind about a purchase after using their phone. People search for products, see brand ads, read reviews, locate stores, check availability and call businesses directly from web browsers on their mobile phones.

The upshot is that if a marketer bases their channel decisions on where sales are finalised, they will drastically undervalue the importance of mobile, and miss a key opportunity.

The good news is we are getting better at calculating the contribution of mobile. Google recently launched ‘Estimated Cross-Device Conversions’ in AdWords. It gives marketers the ability to attribute sales made on one device, to marketing served on another. This means we have a better understanding of how activity on mobile leads to sales on other devices.

What’s next? It would be great if we could value the impact of mobile on non-digital channels, like calls to call centres and visits to branches. All of this adds up to better attribution of advertising dollars, and to giving mobile the recognition it deserves.

Rick Gleave | Pandora Internet Radio | What do you think are the key challenges to improving the mobile ad market in Australia?

Generating strong data, establishing integrated partnerships and generating & delivering relevant content are key to improving the platform and establishing a cohesive, dynamic communication environment.

  • Measurement – particularly within mobile applications. All parties are looking for clear metrics that will demonstrate the value of advertising through the mobile market. A standardised measurement platform needs to be developed and recognised across the board that measures more than website visits. Ad buyers need clarity around real ROI – as do sellers who want to be able to demonstrate this to their client base and prospects. We need to continue to push to standardize measurement between the online and offline worlds.
  • Partnership – Companies need to better align with their partners if they are to make an impact on consumers and businesses through mobile advertising. Industry support across buyers, sellers, planners all the way through to agencies needs to be balanced in order to improve the productivity and effectiveness of advertising in this sector.
  • Relevance – As an industry, we have the advantage to be able to use data to target to an individual level to ensure a more personal and relevant experience for both the brand and the listener. Pandora’s ad model is based on complementing the listener’s experience, and uses data similar to the way we select music. Not only do we not serve an ad when we know that a listener is not looking, we also cap how many ads are played consecutively in any given hour, which will further ensure that a brand’s message is reaching the right audience at the right time.

Australian audiences have migrated in significant numbers to handheld or CE devices and it is our job to respect this shift in consumer demand and give them the same respect and UX as we give traditional media consumers.

Matt Glenister | Carsales |Why are you involved in the IAB Mobile Ad Council?

I was asked to be involved with the IAB Mobile Ad Council recently and this was a task I was happy to undertake and contribute to but was more interested to find out the workings of the IAB, its members and how they influence the direction of the channels it participates in.

Since attending meetings and conference calls I’ve understood that there is a great deal of work to be done in the Australian market, and globally, to improve the performance, usability and ultimately profitability of mobile platforms. With so many moving parts in the industry, from mobile tech companies, advertising agencies, creative agencies and consumers, it’s a mammoth task to guide the program into a direction everyone can contribute and win. I’m hoping I can help achieve that with the like-minded industry leaders on the IAB Mobile Ad Council and add to the already great work the IAB has done.

Stewart Heys | Fairfax Media | What do you think are the key challenges to improving the mobile ad market in Australia?

There are two key challenges for the mobile market in Australia: advertising creative and proving the efficacy of this exciting medium. And both can be improved through education.

Mobile is a unique digital platform. We need to deliver creative executions that play to mobile’s strengths, such as location, time of day and the user’s frame of mind. If we can engage mobile audiences with appropriate creative, then the opportunities in the short to mid-term will be significant.

Audiences are moving to mobile in large numbers and we need to get smarter about how we deliver advertising messages to them. Mobile cannot be viewed as an extension of desktop or as a ‘bolt-on’ to a digital campaign. It won’t work.

In addition, we need a better understanding of mobile’s place within the marketing mix and purchase decision-making process to assist marketers to allocate their advertising investment. The key is better analytics and research, particularly for campaign reporting and audience insights.

If we are asking advertisers to invest more in a relatively new channel, we need to demonstrate more effectively why it is beneficial, what its strengths are in comparison to other channels and where and when it should be used.

And if we can achieve a combination of great creative and analytics, the results will speak for themselves.

Nicholas Halas | Telstra | Why are you involved in the IAB Mobile Ad Council?

Staying ahead of the curve in media is not easy. Doubly so in mobile, where user engagement, technology platforms and software interface all interact and are all in flux.

That’s why the role the IAB Mobile Ad council is more important than ever for Telstra.

At Telstra we drive ourselves to deliver brilliant connected experiences with all of our platforms, mobile by virtue is deeply ingrained within our business; but it’s also deeply ingrained in all of us as consumers.

The IAB Mobile Ad Council is a forum where the key issues of advertising – programmatic trading, managing multiplatform deployments, results reporting and opening new creative options are confronted in a mobile centric context.

As the media landscape becomes even more blurred it’s vital that council continues to provide cross publisher perspectives which ensure we’re delivering insight, accountability and regulation to the rest of the market.

Venessa Hunt | Yahoo |The mobile ad market has had incredible growth over the last 2 years, can this continue?

In short, it has to.

The rapid shift of readers, users and consumers over to mobile devices is happening faster than we, as an industry, can catch up. Now 53% of all digital consumption is coming from a mobile device and yet only one in five dollars are being spent on mobile advertising. Digital media companies have found themselves in a similar situation to the traditional print media companies ten years ago, only the user behaviour change is faster.

We need to start thinking smarter about mobile, and show the value of the 1 to 1 connection that mobile brings. It has a connection like no other media, and far more personal than ever before. People consume mobile media in different ways to desktop, so it’s important to understand that behaviour. We also need to deliver advertising experiences that are meaningful and relevant to them, where and when they chose to interact with our content, site or mobile experience.

Understanding that there are things that have held mobile spending back, such as lack of consistent targeting, tracking and benchmarking, however solutions have started to surface, the market education has been done, and now it’s time to catch up to the user.

We have seen triple digit growth of what was historically a small base, so while the percentage increase will calm down, the associated revenue will maintain strong YOY growth.

Richard Knott |INMOBI| The mobile ad market has had incredible growth over the last 2 years, can this continue?

The expectation when mobile advertising arrived in the mid-noughties, was huge. After years of jokes about the tardiness of the ‘year of mobile’, it finally arrived in 2012. From there, we have had two years of stellar growth. However, we’ve barely begun.

The main cause of the expectation around mobile was the potential benefits of something so new, personal and locatable. When the original product offered turned out to just be a static 300×50 display ad on a WAP site, the ensuing sigh of disappointment held the industry back for years. Now, these promised benefits have finally been made accessible by technology and we’re finally seeing the boom.

There are still many products and opportunities that are not mainstream in Australia yet. With apps all but ‘winning’ the war with m.sites, the Australian publishers which have traditionally favoured m.sites, now have a whole new world of opportunity to conquer. Excluding Halfbrick, Australia is greatly under-represented in the global app content market. We could see a seismic shift as Australia develops its own form of exported content.

Concurrently, there is a host of game-changing ad product, waiting to become as mainstream in Australia as it is overseas. Interstitials, native, intuitive creative, Location-pattern behavioural, and others, are all arriving. Not only can this incredible growth continue, the opportunity is there to further spike.

Annabel Lucas-Martinez | MCN | What do you think are the key challenges to improving the mobile ad market in Australia?

It is evident that the Australian mobile market has developed more recently in the past two years. Smartphone adoption at critical mass and the boom of tablets has seen growing consumer interest, forcing marketers to focus their attention on the channel of opportunity.

Complementing the usage growth is the development of ad formats, brand communication, access to data and multiscreen solutions. Research is taking deeper dives and we are now more equipped to better understand consumer’s mobile behaviour than ever before. So why are the marketing dollars still not consummate to the eyeballs?

As the channel and engagement opportunities become more sophisticated, so are the requirements for industry benchmarks and standardised measurement. This is an ongoing challenge for the mobile industry – not only here in Australia but globally. Comparing mobile to online CTR’s is seen as the easiest way to qualify the overall success of a mobile campaign; a quick fix perhaps, but clearly not the correct solution.

Another challenge is the expectation that mobile advertising should be delivering immediate and tangible results. However most advertising campaigns only receive a small percentage of a client’s overall marketing dollars. Together as an industry we need to help set realistic expectations for achieving results in mobile advertising.

One of the IAB Mobile Council’s objectives is to develop insights such as AU standards and case studies to help clients and agencies have the right planning and accountability tools. This will enable the industry to create stronger rationales for mobile marketing and in turn an increased confidence in not only the channel but in advertising revenue.

Carl Poplett | mi9 | The mobile ad market has had incredible growth over the last 2 years, can this continue?

The short answer is Yes. The Australian media landscape has only begun properly embracing mobile advertising in the last two years. In that period we have seen significant growth in key measurement data such as ad dollars spent, percentage of marketing budget allocated to mobile, intent to increase spend in mobile, etc.

This is all good stuff and the final piece in the puzzle is that brands, retailers, publishers, service providers and even governments are now realising that if they don’t have a robust mobile strategy they run the risk of no longer being relevant in the minds and lives of everyday Australian consumers.

For a large number of businesses the amount of web traffic coming via smartphones and tablets has now reached a tipping point and this will continue to grow. With that comes the obvious opportunity for the mobile ad market to continue experiencing sustainable growth, but we can only rely on the humble banner to deliver so much. For the market to really step up and enjoy the yields its fixed web brother has savoured for so long we need to ensure marketers see mobile as an integral part of their marketing strategy and not just that line item that’s tack on to the end of a campaign brief at the eleventh hour.

I believe this fundamental shift in attitude has begun and that’s resulting in richer creative, greater interaction and above all “measurable engagement” with the person at the end of the line… the customer.

Rob Williams | Airwave (part of the Omnicom Media Group) | Why are you involved in the MAC Mobile Ad Council?

I have always seen huge potential in mobile advertising and firmly believe we will all reap its full value even though all the ‘year of mobile’ predictions are still yet to come true. I have always believed that mobile would completely change the way we communicate with potential customers, yet through my six years of working within media agencies I don’t feel we as an industry really understand mobile, though we are getting there.

Although I am relatively new, being part of the IAB Mobile advertising council allows me to sit down with likeminded people who are all driven to increase the awareness of mobile as a media channel, plan out best practices and apply industry standards all of which are hoping shape the industry.
There are obviously issues and challenges we all have to overcome as a group but the fact we are all motivated and have a wealth of experience between us all I believe we can start to make mobile mandatory.

Here at Airwave we are all tasked to drive mobile through clever thinking and education. The MAC helps me come armed with information I need for me to do this.

Sian Withers | OMD| What are your thoughts on Native & Mobile?

Native ad solutions (in my opinion) are the future for advertising on mobile. Mobile advertising got off to a rocky start as creative on mobile was often a replication of desktop creative, messaging and formats were often generic with little thought being given to the consumer experience – especially as this is advertising being delivered on a personal device.

The publishers having real success in mobile are the ones that adopted Native from the start e.g. Facebook and Twitter. They both have native mobile formats that offer the consumer a seamless experience within the environment they are being served and from a results perspective they outperform banner creative every time.

IAB Australia

IAB Australia is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia. As one of over 43 IAB offices globally and with a rapidly growing membership, the role of the IAB is to support sustainable and diverse investment in digital advertising across all platforms in Australia.