I work a lot in the mobile space and there is currently a boom happening in South Africa – brands are scrambling to go mobile. This is excellent as far as making brands accessible to many more South Africans without desktop internet access (which represents a huge number). As service providers we need to play a diplomatic role in how we use this technology and make sure we provide strategy and services in a responsible way.
So when a client referred to an article on Mobile advertising doubling by 2012, specifically about the negative sentiment of the commenters, it highlighted a much bigger problem. Mobile marketing is in danger of not being properly utilized because of irresponsible email and sms campaigns that on the whole are regarded as spam.
I believe the comments on this article highlight consumer sentiment of how personal a mobile device is to someone. Unfortunately we are all bombarded by SPAM so much on our email accounts that people tend to respond very negatively to the idea of the same thing happening on their mobile phones.
However I believe the negative commenter’s on this blog post didn’t really get the post, thinking they are simply going to get twice as many spam SMS’s in 2012.
The article is less about SMS campaigns and more about including display ads in mobile content. If the user is browsing a mobi site, or using an app on the phone, unobtrusive and relevant ads are displayed. It’s a different ball game to SMS campaigns.
The screenshot above shows an inline advert in the free Shazam app for iPhone. The relevance here is intention and engagement. If I am using the Shazam app, it is safe to say I am trying to find the name of a song (I am looking for new music) and generally in a musical mood. So in this instance of a Shazam search, the ad displayed is relevant to me – the ad displayed was for music. Hell, in this case the ad served is even for a local artist. It would be a huge stretch to classify this kind of mobile advertising as spam.
Mobile ads are also pretty darn smart too. The more we know about the person seeing the ad, the more relevant and engaging the ad can be. Mobile ads can target location, relevant content the user is searching for or looking at and can use the accelerometer (if the mobile device has one). By using all the information available at the time the ad is being served and displaying the ads unobtrusively, we enter a world where ads are not pissing anyone off AND awareness is brought to people that might find the content of the advert useful. When this happens you end up with people seeing the ad who has a high intention and have a much higher chance of actually wanting to engage with the content of the ad. Much like Google Ads when you do a Google search.
I believe (strongly) strategy is definitely not about spray and pray SMS campaigns that get sent to 1 000 000 people and pissing off 999 000 of them (possibly more), and only being relevant to a small percentage damaging your brand to the rest.
Strategy IS about the ‘idea’ along with engaging content that is emotional/authentic/humorous, that is presented to people at a time when they want to engage. If you can tick all those boxes, people will want to engage with your ad, and they will do so on their terms and both brand and consumer have a rich reciprocal conversation.
There are a lot of exciting times ahead in the mobile space. If anything we should be seeing less SMS spam (if only because of the CPA coming into effect) and more engaging content that is adding utility for consumers.