Native and video: how mobile advertising can start living up to its potential

RickIn this guest column, Rick Mulia insists many advertisers need to rethink their approach to mobile if it’s to start living up to its potential. The future, he says, is in native and video.

It’ll come as no surprise that mobile usage will increase in 2016.

But while recent data from Nielsen reported that Southeast Asia nations ranked among the highest globally when it comes to watching movies on a tablet and for dual screening, there is still lots of evidence that the mobile landscape is open for considerable growth and fundamental shifts in media consumption habits.

In fact, Cisco is forecasting more than 50 per cent growth in mobile data per device each year through to 2019.

Yet, despite many of us spending more time on our mobile than we do on our desktops, mobile ad spend still lags quite a way behind consumption.  Mobile advertising is not living up to the potential it’s been touted for.

So, how do advertisers make the most of mobile? The answer is to aim for the trifecta: a better experience for consumers, higher engagement for advertisers, and more revenue for publishers.

But you can’t achieve either of the last two without looking after the consumer first.

The problem is, straight out display ads are seen by many as too intrusive in the confined real estate of a mobile device. Instead, you need to allocate more resource to native advertising.

By that, I don’t mean the advertorial content that many publishers are now pushing out as sponsored content. I mean display-style ads that are embedded into content layouts – as part of your Facebook feed, for example.

This makes particular sense when you consider that globally mobile internet users are spending 89 per cent of their time in apps and just 11 percent on web browsers, according to Nielsen. The concept of a static display ad on a mobile web page is becoming prehistoric.

These native ads need to be personalised. They should be broken into discrete units (such as icon, headline, copy and video), which are all adapted to the user based on a plethora of targeting data. It means what the consumer sees is relevant to them, and engaging.

Video is a big part of this native future. To me, it’s the rockstar of mobile. It’s a format suited to the device and the mindset of the user. And technology is increasingly available to modularise the content based on the audience.

Mobiles can also help deliver video on other devices.

Imagine you are in a sports bar with 80 TVs and the 10 closest to you start showing ads that relate to you. The room might be full, but you are the one that the advertisers most want to reach.

Your mobile device relayed this data and advertisers bid to reach you. Next time you are viewing a content feed on your mobile, the next video in the sequence appears.

All of this is possible and, to an extent, is happening now. The key is ensuring that you focus on the consumer. The beauty of video is that it helps tell a story. Just how you develop creative that is suited to the individual, rather than the mass market, is the path to success.

Needless to say, the more personal your advertising the greater the headache in determining who sees what. It’s impossible to achieve following a manual process.

That’s why programmatic ad technology is so important. It can deliver that one-to-one approach, at scale, ensuring the relevant message is sent to each viewer and understanding what to show next based on observed behaviour.

There’s nothing new to this. Direct marketers talked about one-to-one marketing 20 years ago. Sales people have always focused on developing a pitch based on what they know about their prospective customer.

What’s changed is that these old-style practises are now being applied to mass media channels – delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time.

This is the year that more of us will see our own special messages. It will be the turning point for the industry as we aim for the trifecta: a better experience for consumers, higher engagement for advertisers, and more revenue for publishers.

Rick Mulia is the MD JAPC for Rubicon Project


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