Brands not being courageous enough in mobile marketing

By Rosie Baker | 6 March 2014
15 years in Australia for GQ Magazine.

NewsLifeMedia says it has a mobile first strategy and Bauer this week announced plans to step up its investment in mobile. But the News Corp unit said advertisers are still not being brave enough when it comes to mobile marketing.

Apps are a big focus for publishers looking to extend the reach of their magazines and for advertisers to extend the reach of advertising, but it has gone beyond just making content available on mobile platforms. Brands need to offer a functional service that adds value. Location-based tools are where publishers and brands should be playing, according to both Bauer and NewsLifeMedia.

Branded events are where mobile opportunities come into their own, according to Nicole Sheffield, NewsLifeMedia CEO. It is adding location-based mobile opportunities to its next Vogue Fashion Night Out so that brands can target shoppers attending the event with offers.

“Mobile ads are growing exponentially but it's still in a very desktop manner. The opportunity to look at functionality and service is what were focusing on. [Brands] have a level of trial and error, but often we get a brief and the ambition is huge but at the last minute they lose the courage and go back to a more traditional approach,” Sheffield told AdNews.

“We have a mobile first strategy, but not a mobile only strategy. Time spent on mobile varies by brand but it's about scanning content, communication and services rather than in-depth content. It's functional service elements that add value.”

Sheffield said there have been some great examples including the ads within its GQ 15th birthday iPad edition that ad video, click to purchase and other enhancements that add value, but it's in the minority. She also cites opportunities like an app that offers an ovulation counter that could link to NewsLifeMedia's Kidspot parenting brand.

“Those are the tools that are used on mobile and that advertisers can give. It's when advertising isn't just an ad, it's content the reader wants to use. That's where the opportunities are but it's still a watching brief and no one's landed on it yet,” she said.

Bauer's head of mobile Marcelo Silva, agrees that offering utility, combined with social and an immersive brand experience is what advertisers should be exploring. It is talking to advertisers about adopting location-based tools to complement its sports titles using location targeting.

“If we're serious about being closer to the consumer and being more relevant, it's silly not to take advantage of the behaviour patterns and mobile and tablet and catering to that. Australia is reaching that tipping point where smartphone use is about to eclipse desktop so all the advertisers and agencies want to be a part of that and provide the best opportunity to be relevant to their customers,” he said.

“The most exciting part is when you combine an immersive brand experience with geo-fencing. Then [mobile marketing] becomes really powerful. If advertisers can target a customer who is at a sports stadium and offer them a free drink or advice for parking, it's really utilising the core benefits of being mobile.”

The sentiment that advertisers aren't doing enough is backed up by the numbers. The latest Warc mobile report State of the Industry: Mobile marketing in Asia-Pacific, in association with the Festival of Media Asia Pacific and the Mobile Marketing Association, found that while nine in 10 marketers see mobile marketing as important, most are still not putting budgets into the channel. Most agencies (71%) say their clients have no formal mobile strategy.

Most marketers (78%) allocate less than 10% of marketing budgets to mobile.

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