Fairfax: Not enough mobile in media plans

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 10 February 2015

Media agencies are not including enough mobile in media plans for clients, according to Fairfax, and the publisher is taking the issue into its own hands with the set-up of its in-house mobile creative unit.

The publisher has bolstered its mobile creative and production capabilities to work with advertisers in the hope of closing the gap between the audiences on the channel and the revenue it generates.

The Mobile Creative Unit is a full-service mobile and tablet advertising unit, with the ability to produce technically and creatively customised mobile advertising for its clients.

Previously the publisher had the ability to generate ideas for the creative, however now it has the capabilities to be a one-stop shop, with the ability to do everything from creative to production – but says it's not trying to steal the lunch of media and creative shops.

Fairfax Media product director of digital innovation services Adam Mather told AdNews that the aim of the move is to solve some wider industry issues surrounding mobile as a media channel.

“The ‘why now?’ is around trying to solve a couple of problems – one is that we’re noticing it’s common that mobile isn’t being included in a lot of media plans,” Mather said.

“It’s not being included for a few reasons, it’s a bit different and it’s a bit harder, it’s not necessarily being treated as an integral part of a campaign from the outset.”

Not including mobile in media plans, he said, is a missed opportunity for not only advertisers and brands but also publishers.

“It’s a really counterintuitive preposition,” he said. “It’s less of a problem in other markets. In the American markets, in the European markets, there seems to be a higher level of sophistication of integrated thinking about all of the devices and channels on which you can push your campaign out, but here it still seems to be treated as something of an afterthought.

“It’s hopefully a transitional period. There’s so much more for advertisers to tell great stories on mobile platforms. If we could really get that space singing there’d be a lot of creative upside for advertisers,” Mather said.

The mobile traffic for Fairfax's largest news brand, The Sydney Morning Herald, reached 1.2 million viewers, according to the latest release of emma crossplatform readership data, so there is a commercial interest from the publisher to grow its mobile advertiser base. Mather said that by the focussing on the mobile space, Fairfax hopes advertisers will start thinking more seriously about it.

“We know there’s money out there; we know that there are lots of clients who just need a little bit of extra encouragement to get into this space.

“The creation of this unit was part of the broader mobile strategy for Fairfax. It’s part of our diversification strategy, our multi-platform strategy. There’s definitely a big opportunity out there for us,” he said.

Native ad slots are at the top of Fairfax’s list, as well as high-impact, disruptive, rich-media formats.

“Fundamentally we’re trying to remove barriers to mobile advertising – particularly for rich media mobile advertising and then the broader context that is the rise and rise of mobile, the migration of audiences to mobile platforms and the lower yield those platforms currently entail from an ad revenue point of view.

“This is all part of the bigger strategic picture that we’re trying to solve.”

A version of this story originally appeared in the latest print edition of AdNews (February 6). Get your copy on iPad now, or in Print here.

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