Advertising Technology

It’s Not Just about More Spending—It’s about the Insights

Richard_Stalzer A closer look at how marketers really regard data, targeting and insights

One of the things we think about a lot is whether all of us fully appreciate the strength and options of mobile ad marketing today. After all, it is more possible than ever before to model and target audiences, develop personalized and localized campaigns, and keep on learning so that you can do more and more of what’s working. You can target and convert your audience at scale. And, you can discover new, expanded audiences that are inclined toward your brand, product or service. Not tomorrow, not as an aspiration, but you can do this right now.

Yet, we still hear that the measure of success is traffic, click through rates, and conversion volume. So, day-to-day, it sometimes seems that marketers are not taking full advantage of the opportunity, tapping into everything that is available. So we make it our business to expose today’s marketers, and those managing their buys, to what’s possible and take advantage of it. We know we have only just scratched the surface.

This is why I was pleased to review the update and most recent findings in Ovum’s “Marketer Perceptions of Mobile Advertising 2013”—in which it was clear that not only is mobile spending on the rise, which we all know—but marketers know they should want more. The standard or the expectation finally is higher. This is the second survey-based study that Ovum has produced for the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Centre of Excellence (Mobile Center), building on the original survey in 2011. Both surveys were conducted among marketers at 300 US companies active in mobile advertising. These are brands that so many of us on the publisher or ad tech supply side call clients. So, we all should be interested and take note. This is great news for agencies and their ad tech partners, looking to enjoy a more strategic relationship with their clients.

Mobile Spend is Just the First Part of the Story

As an industry, we of course keep our eyes on the mobile spending rise overall, as mobile business races to keep pace with consumer mobile usage. Research source eMarketer says we can expect a $2 billion increase in mobile search spending in 2014, and a $1 billion increase in mobile banner spending.

But, the Ovum report provides a few more specific data points, more to indicate we are moving in the right direction… on what marketer budgets are actually looking like when it comes to mobile. First, good news: the number is bigger. In the 2013 survey, 16% of respondents had annual mobile advertising budgets of between $301,000 and $500,000, while another 16% had an annual budget of over $500,000.

And, music to most of our ears—the toe-dipping, testing or piloting of mobile seems to be sorting itself out into greater commitments. The report shows that the number or companies with budgets of under $50,000 has fallen over the last two years, from 55% 2011 to 23% in 2013. Yes, of course, the so-called test is a good idea, if all parties treat it as a foundational pilot, in which you seek to learn as much as possible about your target and figure out the most effective combination of factors for driving performance… and then do more of it.

But, Marketers Want—and Can Have—More

The most key finding, for me, in the Ovum survey is that “marketers desire a wide range of targeting insights.” The survey confirmed how important marketers see mobile’s ability to enhance campaigns with targeting capabilities, to be. Eighty-three per cent of respondents said mobile targeting was important or very important. This suggests a clear interest in the more advanced options available—which reassures us that marketers understand at least the brink or basics of the opportunity.

Marketers in the survey desired a wide range of targeting insights but with a slightly stronger preference for detailed demographic information, while location based targeting as a whole received good levels of support. This bodes well for all marketers taking more advanced approaches to modeling, targeting and then using data insights to build upon their performance and scale success stories.

A system that models audiences based on a range of attributes—so that the marketer can personalize and localize campaigns—deals with time of day, location, content and device. This provides incredible precision, which marketers should value. As we ask ourselves whether the value resonates, it’s great to review the Ovum’s take on how marketers see localization.

The survey indicated that although brands may place greater priority on general vs. specific location insights, they view device support for precise location/navigation as a top priority. They are right to suggest in this survey that though marketers today might find general location targeting insights enough to effectively market, devices should nonetheless have the ability to support precise location/navigating features that can be leveraged going forward, presumably, because that is where we are going.

Targeting Attributes

We’ve seen it in all segments of our industry—enthusiasm and consumer usage are ahead of monetization. The mobile vs. desktop trending should be no surprise.

But, you see, the mobile space is in a unique position. The science, the tech and the overall capability are so much further along than the watchers and the uninitiated have realized. So, we rely on marketers opening up to the possibility and embracing a higher standard to take the opportunity for a ride. It’s wonderful news that marketers want more, that they are not content as a whole to rely on outdated KPIs—and that they want a more robust targeting and insights option. With this kind of standard and expectation, agencies, ad tech and brands are able to connect strategically and collaborate around insights, and an industry thrives.

Richard Stalzer is the CEO of Voltari, a company that develops predictive analytical solutions for the mobile space. Look for his piece on The Makegood each month.