Looking Forward and Back

So, in the last 8 years how much has really changed in your life?

Well, first of all if you had a baby who was born in 2005, that tiny little person is now in second grade and challenging your patience and your parenting skills daily. If you were just walking down the aisle, you are one year beyond your seven year itch. Congratulations if you won the bets others placed at your wedding! If you were just going to medical school, you are exhausted but finished and now facing years of loan payback. 

I was awestruck when I saw this picture on NBC's blog. I've blown it up so you can see it better despite its resolution challenges. I know that research supports the onslaught of the concentration of mobile technology use in the world, but this picture spoke a thousand words to me.

Did you know:
  • More than half of U.S. mobile ad spending is local.
  • Google’s gross annual revenue from mobile advertising is over US$2.5 billion per year. 
  • Consumer reaction to mobile ads The MMA and Lightspeed Research (October 2010), in UK, France and Germany, 45 percent of consumers (especially younger people) noticed mobile advertising and of these, 29 percent responded to it. Of those that responded to the ads, the following went on to make a purchase: Germany 49 percent; UK 47 percent; and France 22 percent.Time sensitive special offers or discounts (especially coupons) were most likely to lead to purchase.
  • People were most likely to purchase  content such as apps, music and games.
  • NBC News writes of its picture comparison of St. Peter's Square,
     "What a difference eight years makes."

Why your business needs a mobile-friendly site

Of those viewers in the US who react to seeing a mobile ad:
42 percent click on the mobile ad; 
35 percent visit the advertiser’s site; 
32 percent search for more information on their phone; 
49 percent make a purchase and 
27 percent call the business.
71 percent of smartphone users that see TV, press or online ad, do a mobile search for more information. (Source: US Consumer Mobile Movement survey April 2011)

Yet, surprisingly, despite  these conclusive findings, 79 percent of large online advertisers still do not have a mobile optimized site. (Source: Google/Kelsey 2010)

Want more proof that you should include mobile technology and an optimized mobile strategy in your marketing plans?

U.S. mobile ad spending will grow from US$790 million in 2010 to $4 billion in 2015. Local ad spend will grow from US $404 million to $2.8 billion.
• This makes locally targeted mobile ads 51 percent of overall U.S. mobile ad spending, growing to 70 percent by 2015.
• Mobile local advertising includes ads that target users in specific locations or contain location-specific calls to action. (Source: BIA/Kelsey June 2011)
Mobile local search volume is expected to surpass desktop local search for the first time in 2015, but advertisers will continue to invest more in desktop local search.
• In 2011 mobile users performed 19.7 billion local search queries compared with desktop users 54.9 billion local search queries. In 2015 there will be 85.9 billion mobile local search queries, compared with 84.0 billion queries. In 2011 mobile local search revenues were US$400 million, rising to $3.2 billion in 2016. During the same period, desktop local search revenues will grow from $5.7 billion to $10.2 billion.
 “While mobile local search volume will exceed its desktop equivalent, ad dollars will remain lower, because advertisers aren’t yet keeping pace with the growth of mobile local ad inventory, but we expect that to evolve.” (Source: BIA/Kelsey April 2012)
US expenditure on mobile advertising and marketing is estimated to be US$416 million in 2009; $743 million in 2010 and will be $1,102 in 2011. In 2010 mobile ad formats were dominated by messaging ($327 million), but display ($202 million) and search ($185 million) will catch up in 2012. Video lags at ($28 million). (Source: emarketer.com (October 2010)

These are some of the most credible sources in the industry! Apart from that, numbers don't lie. Expectation has been realized and if you haven't witnessed it first hand, scroll up again and look at that picture. Mobile technology is a venue where your brand can make an impression on global or local markets of all shapes and sizes. Seize the moment. Don't wait another eight years to enter the future now.

Algorithms Don't Feel, People Do

Reprinted from the Harvard Business Review Blog

As a 30-year advertising practitioner, and a Chief Creative Officer of North America's now largest digital agency, I'm truly amazed at the sophistication of the technologies and platforms for delivering ads to virtually every device, from the smallest hand held screen to Walgreen's massive canvas in Times Square.
Vast amounts of Silicon Valley capital have accelerated our ability to deliver behaviorally targeted messages and videos that follow you from destination to destination and device to device. Publishers have even begun offering "in app" custom ad units specifically designed to match consumers' touchscreen desires. As an industry, we have an amazing set of providers and tools at our disposal that connects the consumer with the brand.

But as any smart advertising person will tell you, the creative message itself plays at least half the role in determining the effectiveness of any advertising component. It's the creative that will always tell an intriguing story, involve and hopefully, leave you inspired to act. This balance between medium and message has largely been lost, as we seem more seduced by the algorithms — the containers and software solutions for delivering messages to devices — than the evolution or effectiveness of them.

We are still very much in the ideas business. Despite how much more sophisticated the algorithms get at search, contextual and behavioral ad serving, advertising still has to move you. And that comes down to the kind of creative that makes you feel an emotion... not just "think" or push you into "lower funnel" activation as many marketers are so anxious to do.

This means drawing you in, getting you involved, and making you react emotionally, which is just as important on a hand-held device as it is in a 30-second TV spot. Creatively, this has been the challenge for the web banner, the video pre-roll, and even the next in-app-native touch-screen rich-media ad. These units may drive our impression-based ad-supported model, but they've yet to adequately prove the ability to make the consumer feel.

This emotional requisite often referred to as the "The Big Ideal" or "Higher Order Benefit" was once the holy grail of real advertising currency. These days, it seems emotional ideas have been replaced by sophisticated algorithms that can deliver near-real-time metrics and drive dynamic optimization of creative ad messages. These algorithms allow us to churn out countless versions of copy and banner executions for one campaign — changing layouts on the fly and cramming the call to action into an ad from beginning to end — in many cases before we've even gotten the consumer's attention.

Is this the future of advertising we are destined to produce? Turning the craft of brand storytelling into algorithm-driven copy factories?

The task we face as advertising practitioners is how to combine our efforts with media brethren to create seamless brand experiences and cascade them through new technologies and media platforms. In doing so, we serve a more involved, emotional system of messages on behalf of brands to the right people over time.
We have the technology. We have the talent. We have the ability to redefine the story to make one feel. We just need to remember that the medium isn't the message and no matter how seduced we are by the science of advertising, we must remember that algorithms don't feel, people do.

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