Mobile marketing in Canada in 2014

Last December 4th took place a half day training session on mobile marketing. I performed this on behalf of IAB Canada. This article briefly summarises the highlights of that training.

Mobile marketing in context

Mobile marketing in Canada is not so different from overall digital marketing, as digital marketing can be from traditional marketing. What makes mobile marketing special and unique are a few things like screen size, the tactile screen, it’s geo-awareness, session time which is shorter and the context in which we’ll use a mobile device instead of a computer.

Let us first consider a few numbers to put things into perspective. 79% of all Canadians two years and over were regular desktop internet users in 2013. Non-users are of course our parents and grand-parents, so it will take a generation for the web to achieve the 98% reach radio and television have now enjoyed for many years. 78% of Canadians (2+) own a cell phone – however, where marketing is concerned, that number is not important. What we really want to know are numbers relevant to how we can reach people right? So who own a smartphone, giving them access to the mobile web through which we can communicate with them? 50% of Canadians (2+) do. Imagine how that percentage grows for those over 13, or those 18 and over. Finally, 24% of Canadians own a tablet. The growth rate of smartphones and tablets is outstandingly fast.

Ad spend on the mobile web is still relatively small, but it is where the desktop web was 10 years ago. Expect strong double digit growth in the next few years as it will surpass out of home and magazine ad spend. Mobile marketing is growing in importance.

Mobile is a complex universe which can cater to many different needs and objectives. We can do display advertising, video, paid search and directory ads (paid marketing); mobile website, app, newsletter or manage your social accounts (owned marketing); influence people to talk about you and what you do (earned marketing).

ti-paid & owned vs purchase funnel

Mobile marketing strategy

Don’t rush into mobile marketing simply because half of all Canadians are there! That’s a great reason to pay attention to it but as with every other marketing endeavor, you need a specific strategy and objective in place that is tailored for this mind set, this screen size and it needs to tie into your overall marketing communications strategy.

You undoubtedly measure your website’s and online campaigns’ performance through analytics and ad servers. How will you measure your mobile initiatives? The same tools can usually be used for that task.

Mobile marketing, as with any other communications strategy, requires a clear, measurable and realistic objective. Measurable means you have identified a success metric that’s relevant to your objective and a method for tracking it. It is wise to adopt an iterative approach to mobile: start with a mobile friendly page or site, then depending on what works best, evolve to serve consumer needs, but one step at a time.

Following your mobile site, which is ideal for discovery, you may consider a simple app which can answer a specific consumer need. Focus on a service or function that is likely to be reused over time to avoid having your app deleted after 30 days. Being software, apps require more detailed planning than a website does (which is simpler to adjust). An app is ideal for engagement with your target audience.

Your presence on the mobile web requires a communications plan just like your website does – it’s not because you built it that they will come… That communication must be done on mobile platforms among others.

Mobile Advertising Strategy

Just like the desktop web, the mobile web offers tons of ad pricing options (fixed, CPM, CPC, CPA, CPE, CPV, CPP…), format options (integrated or floating, interactive or not, video, text, etc…), platform options on which to buy and deliver your formats (content sites, service sites, search engines, social networks, email…) and targeting options (contextual, time bloc, sequential, geographic, key words, demographic, behavioral, profile, etc…). All these options are available without forgetting programmatic media buying and real time bidding.

Just like your overall strategy, you also here need a clear, realistic and measurable objective. You must be conscious that all ads delivered to mobile devices must lead to a mobile friendly page.

Several research tools exist to discover Canadian’s behavior on mobile platforms and your own: comScore MobiLens is the third party measurement service available in Canada, while analytics solutions and ad servers can most often also service your mobile performance needs.

When advertising through mobile devices, you must take advantage of their unique features. For example, there is precise geotargeting through GPS, social connections, access to the camera, gyroscope, accelerometer and the touch screen. Always ask yourself if one of these features can make your ad experience better (or not). IAB Canada maintains standardized technical specifications iabcanada.com.

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