Millennial Media’s Mollie Spilman: ‘Native advertising is misunderstood on mobile’

MWC 2014: Native advertising is “still misunderstood on mobile”, according to Mollie Spilman, executive vice president of global sales and operations at mobile ad network Millennial Media.

Former Yahoo CMO advises marketers to consider the context mobile native ads are served in rather than just creative.

The former Yahoo chief marketing officer told Marketing Week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that despite the rise of the native advertising practice on desktop sites, many CMOs still underestimate the power of mobile for their brand campaigns.

She added: “CMOs still say the screen is so small for great creative, whereas TVs are getting bigger and bigger and I like being able to watch my ad on this big plasma screen. I think that philosophy is going to change as marketers get more experience in this and see what can be done on mobile devices.”

Spilman says marketers need to understand a native format on mobile is not just a type of creative but could also include proximity to a dealership for an automobile manufacturer, for example, or making use of the handset’s camera and voice recognition capabilities for users to interact with the ad. She also referenced Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed who has previously said the future of marketing is a combination of mobile and social.

She added: “If you take the Dove Real Beauty sketches campaign, that was a digital video made viral by mobile and social. That impact could not have been achieved on TV alone…Has every other brand embraced mobile to the degree they should? No.”

Building measurement capabilities is key to driving up brand use of mobile, Spilman said, although she admitted there are not currently the same cross-industry standards in mobile as there are in other media sectors such as TV, which may be holding back growth.

“Mobile is harder than other sectors because there are different operating systems to deal with, different handsets, app stores, data plans and so on. But it is improving as trade bodies, marketers, agencies and companies like us are coordinating to better measure the effect of mobile,” she said.

Millennial Media itself releases an annual report looking back at mobile device trends. In 2013 Android devices accounted for 54 per cent of the ad impressions served on its network, while iOS devices made up 38 per cent of impressions.

Other highlights from the report were predictions that impressions served to wearable devices are set to grow by 947 per cent in 2014 and household appliances by 469 per cent.

Millennial Media this morning (25 February) announced the expansion of its media exchange into 20 additional countries as well as updates to its targeting options to reflect specific interests and demographics.

A number of companies including Weve in the UK and Twitter in the US following its acquisition of MoPub last year have recently started competing with the likes of Millennial and Google in the mobile ad network space. Spilman said rather than seeing these new entrants as a threat, Millennial would look to partner where appropriate on a publisher level.

Read more of our Mobile World Congress 2014 coverage here



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