“Time and tide wait for no man,” goes the expression. Today, that old saw applies well to what’s going on in mobile advertising. While users have dramatically shifted to mobile, advertisers are having trouble making the switch — and that tide will not wait.
That conclusion was at the heart of a recent report by Mary Meeker, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. Her just released annual “Internet Trends Report” has this main takeaway: mobile advertising lags consumer use of mobile devices by a disconcertingly wide margin.
It’s a gap that must be bridged, if brands and advertisers are going to make headway in the future. With consumers leaving desktop and turning to smartphone and tablet, it is only a matter of time — and that time is now — until marketers make the move to mobile. That, or they’ll be suffering the consequences of immeasurable lost opportunity.
Meeker’s report indicates that customers in the U.S. spent 20 percent of their time consuming media on mobile devices in 2013. Contrast that with the paltry amount of budgets advertisers allocated for mobile: 4 percent.
It’s a death knell for print, though too few seem to realize it. While consumers spent just 5 percent of their time consuming print media, advertisers still plunked down 19 percent of their ad budgets on that advertising. To be sure, old habits die hard.
It’s not just inertia, however. Making these switches — in a fast-changing marketplace — is not easy. To be fair, standards for gauging the effectiveness of print and desktop effectiveness are proven and reliable. That’s why they still hold appeal. But once the bumps in the road for mobile are leveled out, the market should see a substantial move to the mobile space.
The bumps in the road include everything from design issues (i.e. producing mobile-ready landing pages that scale) to addressing tracking issues (i.e. getting hard data and what moves mobile users) to dealing with transparency and fraud problems. Efficacious measurement and attribution tools and standards will go a long way toward allaying the hesitation of marketers.
Marketers will get help from some of the big boys in the room. For instance, Google’s introduction of “Enhanced Campaigns,” was designed to push advertisers into mobile investment. As a result of the effort, Marin Software has estimated that 50 percent of clicks on paid search ads will come from mobile devices by the end of next year.
In addition, EMarketer estimates that in 2013 mobile search ads drove 19 percent of Google’s ad revenue and predicts — a number it predicts will rise to 30 percent by 2015.
Google has also introduced estimated cross-device conversions to assist advertisers in capturing data about conversions that begin on one device but are completed on another. Its in-store conversion tracking research has already led to integration of call conversions into Google’s AdWords platform.
Facebook is also working diligently to crack the mobile code. Its ad formats in the news feed have shown promise — so much so that there are now many brands eager to pay big bucks for the exposure.
Measurement will be key, as it is for any platform. While Nielsen is top dog in measurement tools that fit in line with traditional media buying metrics, it is also developing tools for mobile data acquisition and analysis. Facebook adopted Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings for its Premium Video Ads pilot. Other companies, including OpenX, Adap.tv, and FreeWheel are devising methods for streamlining the buying process for native and video mobile advertising at scale.