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The holidays are nearing, and even though we all know that they’ll be here sooner than later, many of us will procrastinate and wait until the last minute before we burst into a frantic last minute shopping drive.
Fortunately, rushing to buy gifts at the last minute isn’t as difficult as it used to be thanks to the smartphone.
With one in hand, it’s possible to remain relatively sane while zig-zagging around town looking for the most elusive of gifts — the day before it’s needed.
Given the rapid rise in smartphone penetration, it’s no surprise that quite a few people use their mobile devices as a shopping assistant during the holiday season.
In fact, Google predicts that this year mobile devices will be a life-saver for a significant minority of searchers. “Based on historical growth rates,” Google sees 44% of searches for last minute gifts and store location queries coming from mobile devices this holiday season.
According to Google, there are high-value searches as “65% of high end device users report that they have used their device to find a business, and then made a purchase at that business in person“.
What’s more: the effect could be immediate. The search giant suggests that last minute holiday searches may often be driven by consumers who “have missed the deadline for free shipping and are motivated to locate and shop at brick and mortar locations”.
The implication for retailers: if you don’t have a mobile strategy this holiday season, you’re at a huge disadvantage.
Of course, Google hopes that mobile strategies will increasingly call for investment in Google Mobile Ads, but as beneficial as mobile marketing may be, mobile strategy is about more than just marketing.
Savvy retailers hoping to capitalize on opportunities in the coming months would be wise to consider the importance of offering a mobile-optimized website (or native app) that makes it easy for potential customers to identify store locations and to determine which products are available (read: in stock) at those locations.
After all, a mobile consumer looking for specific products doesn’t just want to know where your stores are; she wants to know, at a minimum, which stores have those products and how much they cost.
Today, offering anything less than this is a losing proposition even with the most robust mobile marketing campaign.
There are some really interesting views here, especially given we are now seeing the emergence of the Demand Side Platform (DSP) providers coming into the market making ‘ad buys’ easier for media buyers.
Embarking on a mobile ad buy is diving into a dark, deep sea crammed full of startups you’ve likely never heard of: Celtra, Mojiva, Medialets, inMobi, just to name a few. It’s brimming with a lot of little companies — and a couple of big stakeholders like Apple and Google — scrambling to build the infrastructure to make advertising work in a medium that some have said will be bigger than TV.
Ad Age’s latest report digs into how marketers can use mobile tools to get promotions into consumers’ hands at the point of purchase.
Someday maybe, but right now mobile is behind — about $59 billion behind TV, in fact. Despite all the excitement around smartphones, there still aren’t the standard tools mobile advertising will need to even hope to reach the $60 billion in ad spending TV pulled in last year, according to Kantar Media. This year, mobile ad spending in messaging, display ads, video and search is expected to top $1 billion in the U.S. for the very first time, according eMarketer.
“There are challenges at scale,” said Brandon Berger, chief digital officer for Ogilvy Worldwide. “Buying $30 million worth of mobile media is going to be daunting.”
There are 234 million Americans older than 13 using mobile devices at ComScore’s last count. Those consumers, of course, are all using different devices: some carry tablets, others iPhones, Android phones and non-internet feature phones. Add in that advertisers and their agencies don’t have standard means to create or measure mobile ads across a number of apps, sites or devices, it sure will be tough for the category to go from $1 billion to even $10 billion.
“The real pain point [in mobile advertising] is removing the friction in spending the way that brands want to spend,” said Eric Litman, chairman-CEO for Medialets, a mobile rich-media company. Marketers report that device fragmentation and lack of standardized metrics and ad formats are among mobile advertising’s biggest challenges, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s recent survey of 300 U.S. marketers that use mobile advertising.
To date, pervasive systems in serving, measuring and creating mobile displays ads, especially souped up rich media-ads, are largely missing. There are companies offering these services, which have helped online display and rich-media advertising scale up to $8 billion in U.S. spending in recent years, but there are still too many. While Medialets provides the technology and tracking for rich mobile ads with lots of bells and whistles, but so does Crisp, Celtra, Apple’s iAd and Google’s Admob. The problem: too many isolated solutions that work for specific ad networks, apps or devices, not enough connective tissue to make it possible to make one ad, with one means for measurement, that can run in multiple places.
“Consolidation hasn’t yet happened yet,” said Martin Lange, global head of mobile for OgilvyOne. “With mobile, it’s a lot of startups knocking on our door and whether they have 150 or 10 people they’ve all got something valid.”
“I’ve probably had four or five meetings today with vendors and startups that are trying to address all of the scaling and operational challenges that we have,” said Paul Gelb, Razorfish mobile practice lead.
There’s also no go-to third-party source to find the big audiences in apps or mobile websites, like a ComScore or Nielsen for mobile. (Both companies are in the process of building products to measure mobile.) And there are no all-encompassing ad-servers that work on all mobile properties or ad networks so agencies can keep track of campaigns in one standard way.
Google, which owns DoubleClick for advertisers (a standard online for tags that let agencies know whether all ads contracted actually ran and if consumers clicked on them), is extending that service to measure mobile campaigns. But that’s still different from tracking with Apple’s iAd. Apple does accept third-party tracking, but only to count ads served, not for the clicks or interaction rates, which are both widespread metrics online.
Add in the fact that ad creative can’t always port from the major mobile ad networks to publishers’ individual mobile sites and apps. Apple’s super-slick iAds can’t be used on other networks or in publishers’ apps, even though the advertiser sometimes has to pay to have those ads produced. If advertisers want to build rich media ads on the three biggest networks Google, Apple and Millennial — the best places to buy mobile ads at scale today — they have to build different ads for each.
“If you’re an advertiser and you’re looking to run a rich-media campaign like iAd on just [Apple] devices, you’re already cutting out half the market,” said Tom Limongello, VP-marketing for yet another mobile rich-media company, Crisp Wireless.
“With these creative challenges, advertisers with smaller budgets are forced to pick only one network or publisher. Conversely, big mobile ad buys spread across many apps or networks are tough to measure in one holistic picture, said Razorfish’s Mr. Gelb.
These challenges are, to some degree, history repeating itself. Just years ago, the infrastructure that now powers online banner ads sprung up from a fragmented field. From a wide pool, some companies were purchased, others perished and a manageable stable of providers now remain to run the pipes that make online ads an increasingly bigger business. In following that formula, however, mobile may suffer.
“We’re a little bit held prisoner; a lot of people saw what happened online and are trying to race to the winner’s circle and are making claims that they have the right solutions for mobile,” said David Gwozdz, CEO of mobile ad-server and network Mojiva. That’s because entrepreneurs are very aware of the potential for extremely lucrative sales of ad tech companies — in 2007, for example, Google bought DoubleClick for $3 billion in cash.
With increasingly more attention, mobile advertising’s infrastructural challenges will likely be worked out in time. Trade groups like the IAB and Mobile Marketing Association are circling the wagons to set standards in ad sizes, placement and functionality with the help of major mobile ad networks and publishers such as The Weather Channel and CNN. However, Apple, which owned nearly 19% of the U.S. mobile display market last year, according to research firm IDC, is not active in setting industry standards, said Michael Becker, MMA’s managing director for North America.
All that said, the explosive growth in smart phonesales and lessons learned from internet ads will likely hasten things along. “What took 10 years to really refine on desktop, mobile is pulling together in a year,” Mahi de Silva, CEO of another mobile-ad company, Admarvel.
The accessing of the internet from mobile is growing rapidly and one area that is growing in equal importance is the area of device identification. Being able to provide information back to any number of sources on what device a user is using to access the mobile internet, apps etc. will be a driving force in the future of engaging users with the services they want instead of vice versa….
7.1m Brits now access the internet via their mobile phone, and that’s actually quite a lot! And, not only are these users generally more affluent, but they are also avid consumers of digital marketing.
The advent of truly mobile internet, and the incredible speed of adoption by the population as a whole, is causing a re-evaluation of web marketing.
Mobile web is the greatest revolution since the invention and adoption of the PC. That might seem like a bold statement to make, but the platform has changed.
Using the internet does not necessarily mean being stuck under a desk sitting at home or in the office. You don’t need to pull a laptop out of a carry case to use it, and you can even choose the size that most suits your needs.
The impact these devices are having, and the tide of change that is following in wake of their adoption is fundamental.
So what does this mean for digital marketers? How will mobile web change email marketing in the near future? What are the challenges this opportunity has created? And how do we ride this wave and grasp the opportunities that are being laid before us?
Game changing technology
It’s the device that’s done it; the truly mobile computer. The only issue is some devices still hold onto that archaic title “phone”.
The challenge with mobile internet has been that to make the most of the medium you need to easily interact with the device. This is what’s made the latest generation of mobile devices so different.
Even with the smaller screens, the superb resolution and usable touch screen makes the internet truly mobile. The apps and software work together with this new technology to make the whole mobile web experience simple and satisfying. This has allowed people new to the concept, to quickly adapt and benefit from the new platform, thereby fuelling high adoption rates.
Look at any of the research available on mobile internet and they are all pointing in one direction. Mobile internet is growing and it’s growing fast.
Game changed for email?
Email has gone mobile. According to the Econsultancy Mobile Statistics Compendium, email is used by 75.4% of British iPhone owners, making it the most popular internet activity on the phone. The same study stated that mobile adoption patterns mirror the early days of the internet, when email dominated usage.
Wait a minute… wasn’t email supposed to be dead (or on its last legs anyway)? Or could it be that mobile internet has taken one of the most powerful online channels to date, and given it legs.
Email is now on the move. You follow the recipient around their daily lives; you engage with them when they are doing lots of other things. They could be watching TV, at a restaurant, with friends.
The mobile experience changes the way users interact with your email as well your website. Arguably, interacting with a PC could be quite a lonely experience. With mobile internet, sharing now includes simply handing your phone to your friends.
Mobile email looks slightly different too! It not only demands great graphics, but it wants to be super usable on the small screen. One of the best ways to do this is to code the email to fit the screen it is being used on.
From the data I have seen so far and opinion on the web, people seem to use mobile as “one” of the ways that they will be viewing the email, so this needs to be considered when developing the template. Is it possible to develop a template that is going to satisfy both a traditional desktop client as well as the mobile browser? That’s going to be worth quite a bit of testing!
Another new consideration is the actionable copy (links). Are they touch screen friendly? Or is the recipient forced to expand the screen to click on the link? The same is going to go for putting links close together, as you don’t want to send butter fingers off to the wrong place.
Although the web has gone mobile, it seems like more people fail to complete a transaction on mobile, than they do on a PC. The figures also seem to suggest a substantial amount of people intend to use more mobile ecommerce in the future. This means basket abandonment emails will be even more important to mobile conversions than it is for normal static web.
Game changed for e-commerce and conversion rate optimisation
“The Mobile Shopping Framework Study” is one in a series of white papers from Yahoo that provides an overview of the mobile landscape. In the report, half of consumers claim they purchase an item after researching on their mobile, and 90% of mobile owners access the web from the retail store floor.
So now price comparison shopping could consist of walking round the shops, handling the products, comparing prices online, and making the buying decision. In fact, the Yahoo mobile study revealed “Almost half of all mobile in-store activity involved transmitting a picture of a product to personal contacts for comment”.
The adoption of mobile web is gaining pace, and the e-commerce platform will be moving out of the home and into the pocket. One of the key challenges now facing the digital marketer is optimising the conversion process for users of mobile web.
As was mentioned before, mobile users fail to complete the transaction more often than other web users and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
It’s almost as though there is now a third way of doing things, it seems to fit in the middle between the full blown website optimised for the modern PC screen, resolution settings and controls, and the cut down versions developed to cater for the previous generation of mobile devices.
So, will you need three versions of your website? I don’t think so…
The mobile platform for internet is going to become a core part of the way people interact with e-commerce, so people must be able to do things when they want to do them.
This means the web will need to be designed for the mobile. It’s surely not unrealistic to expect some businesses to achieve 50% of web sales via mobile. If the consumer wants to order their daily shopping while watching the telly, or sitting on the train, then that’s what they are going to do.
So, whichever website allows them to achieve this simply, with the best user experience, will most likely get the business.
User experience and conversion rate optimisation will become even more vital for achieving good results from mobile internet. Mobile device and software developers have given consumers the means to use the web whenever convenient.
The e-commerce winners will be those that make it easy to shop, whether the customer is behind a desk or on the move.