In the coming weeks the IAB is expected to announce the results of its latest annual ad spend figures for 2014. As ever, I am expecting digital to be the driving force behind the growth of the ad industry, and in turn mobile will be the area that grows the most. Based on previous first-half figures from the IAB, where mobile was revealed to account for £1 in every £5 spent on digital, I am expecting mobile to cement its position in the digital mix when the annual figures are announced.
In what is now our third year contributing to Marketing Week’s annual Marketing Mix Expert Guide, this is a particularly pertinent time at which to look ahead. This is a time to decide where we, as an industry, want to be in 12 months’ time when the IAB is calculating 2015’s annual spend numbers.
Again, I expect to see mobile as a driving force, with mobile display continuing its rapid growth. However, what I am most hopeful for is a shift in the attitudes behind how that money is being invested by advertisers and agencies when it comes to
the media plan.
Smashing digital silos
There are not many industries like digital, where the pace of change is so exciting and the opinions on how it is developing are so varied. However, having only just come out of January, when predictions for the industry are in vogue, I want to put a slight twist on this look ahead, with a challenge to marketers and their media plans in 2015. I want marketers to identify one silo in their company’s marketing department. Then, I want them to smash it.
There are, no doubt, many potential silos for readers to consider. No brand, or indeed agency, is immune from silo syndrome, in which barriers develop among marketing’s many parts. It does not matter how big or small the separation you are facing is.
If you identify one key area for change and adopt new collaborative processes and tools, I am confident that you can create greater value through unity.
As my expertise is in mobile, I want to focus on brands’ digital strategies and the new opportunities at hand for those organisations that are making mobile mandatory across the marketing spectrum.
In 2015, I want to see more marketers recognising changing consumer behaviours and evolving their marketing efforts to reflect these shifts. That is not to say becoming mobile-only businesses, but instead to become mobile-first by placing it at the centre of an integrated communications strategy.
Evolving mobile media
One key area where real impact in 2015 will be had is in cross-screen advertising. As consumers become ever-more accustomed to using many devices at different touchpoints across the day and increasingly in tandem with each other, brands will ask how they can become more strategic with mobile to align advertising and messaging as audiences move across devices.
Mobile gives lots of data signals to advertisers – each time a consumer opens an app there can be anything from five to 30 different bits of data received, from the device being used to the native language installed.
Savvy brands are already looking at how best to leverage that data to deploy a joined-up cross-screen advertising strategy.
As well as cross-screen, mobile video is also providing opportunities to break down digital silos in 2015.
With its ability to reach consumers at unique times and in unique places, mobile gives brands the opportunity to provide engaging, interactive features in addition to their actual video content. TV advertising has proved that video can be a powerful way to tell a story. With mobile, however, an advertiser can go one step further and have consumers physically interact with their ad to take immediate action.
There are still many brands that are simply approaching mobile video advertising with ads that have largely been repurposed from online or TV channels. With new levels of interactivity being enabled by continually evolving technology developments, the chance to approach mobile video in creative new ways and grab that attention has never been greater.
Beyond digital silos
As more brands become mobile-first, with the majority of their customers using mobile devices as a first point of engagement, we are seeing more organisations take a mobile-first approach to their marketing. Mobile is no longer seen as just an extension of desktop and the most successful brands are now integrating mobile with more traditional media outlets.
Consequently, we will begin to see many more mainstream brands use traditional marketing techniques but with an injection of mobile’s momentum and immediacy. The things that we see on TV, in print or outdoors often spark the biggest debates online, with consumers snapping pics on their mobiles or sharing messages socially.
What mobile can do for brands now is speed up the process of message delivery, awareness and reaction to a message. As mobile breathes new life into traditional forms of marketing, the challenge will be for the whole marketing spectrum to consider how best they use consumer connectivity to connect their strategies.
So to those looking to break down the silos in 2015 and improve integration across all marketing channels, I wish you good luck. The key will be to start small, with something that is very actionable and benefits both your customer and your myriad of other communication channels.
If, as an industry, we achieve these things, future IAB ad spend figures will start to tell an even more dramatic story.