The brewer is poised to extend the tactic to other brands, signalling a wider shift from using traditional banner ads that dominate mobile advertising.
Heineken, like many advertisers, has pushed banners to smartphone users in the hope of driving impressions and lead generation. However, this mindset is giving way to an approach that treats mobile as a brand building channel capable of driving business metrics such as awareness and ultimately sales.
The shift stems from a campaign for Heineken’s tequila-flavoured Desperados beer in the US. Younger drinkers living in urban areas are targeted online at specific times to push nighttime drinking occasions but it was only once personalised native mobile ads were introduced that awareness increased dramatically.
“The campaign is now 100 per cent mobile focused and we only launched it earlier this year”, said senior media director Ron Amram on an Advertising Week panel yesterday (29 September). “Within three months, we went from zero awareness in that part of the US [where the ads were targeted] to 23 per cent.”
The mobile-first tactic suggests Heineken’s expectations from the channel are shifting markedly. While attribution from banner ads and mobile campaigns still remains a headache, the experiment shows native ads could lead to better engagement from brewer’s future investments in the channel.
Amram adds: “What we’re attributing [the increase in brand awareness] to is literally context and personalisation. Using the right media type in front of the right person at the right time when they are most receptive to it was, to be honest, the more magical part of it.”
Heineken has been building out its real-time marketing efforts around mobile for the last two years. In 2012, the brewer told Marketing Week that it planned to leverage its global tie-ups with Google and Facebook to create mobile-first campaigns capable of reaching large-scale audiences in real-time.