The Right Recipe for Adding Mobile to Your Media Mix

richard_sadowsky Richard Sadowsky was named Acting CEO of Voltari in December 2013 after a year serving as Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel. Previously Richard was a Partner at SNR Denton US LLP in New York City, where he specialized in corporate and securities law. This is his first contribution to The Makegood. Look for his post the fourth Wednesday of every month.

Mobile spending is up — but how do you know exactly what to spend?

According to eMarketer, mobile now accounts for more than 22% of all US digital ad spending, compared with less than 3% in 2010 and 11.9% in 2012. On a daily basis, we feel the trend too, as we field more engagement and focus on mobile marketing by agencies and marketers. In fact, as we look at the mix, most of us agree that mobile may soon overtake desktop ad marketing. Ever-increasing mobile consumption, improved campaign management infrastructure and data analytics systems that enable greater scale for marketers are driving the surge.

So, one has to ask: industry spend trends are great water cooler talk between buyers and sellers — but how does this affect my media plan?  How much of my digital budget should be dedicated to mobile?  So here are a few things to remember as you build the case for your mix and your allocation. First, some guidance on how to do the math and then, some things to keep in mind as far as strategy and approach.

The Starting Math for Budgeting Mobile

Start with a formula – when structuring the plan, be prepared to revise and optimize, as you learn. This is especially the case if mobile is a new or growing part of your mix, you can only know so much at the outset, and you’ve got to start somewhere. A good guide is the referral traffic to your site. If the percentage of traffic to your site that is mobile is 30%, that is an excellent starting point for determining the “initial” budget allocation. Take that percentage and divide it by 2, designating that portion to mobile (15%), with other portions going to display, email, social, video. Or, you might take your overall digital budget and multiply it by the percentage of your sales coming from physical locations. You get the idea. Have a method vs. a random number that reflects your channel mix today and proceed from there. You can build on that initial split. Once you’ve set the initial allocation you can start to evaluate performance?

Build Around Mobile Experiences and Optimize Consumer Behavior

Because consumers interact with your brand in the real-word – for example, through brick and mortar stores, live or theatrical entertainment, travel, with their mobile device in-hand – you should plan from a “mobile first” perspective. Thanks to greater cross-platform tracking and optimization options, it is now possible to lead the plan with mobile and optimize off consumer behavior. For example which messaging, offers, calls to action delivered via mobile are generating in-store traffic? How can we tune and strengthen what is working and eliminate what is not? Today’s systems allow us to make these determinations in a flash (and corrections on the fly), wasting very little time and budget in the process. Use mobile as your first lens to improve upon the overall plan and shift dollars as needed.

Leverage Everything We Learn

If we track and analyze what happens after the mobile impression, one media platform can learn from another, within your mix. Messaging, offers, visuals, calls to action as they perform or not across your overall plan enjoy the benefit collaboration among media types. So keep it integrated, measured and have a plan for optimization. This commitment to using the learning allows you to leverage your overall buy, making each media type work for the other. Using data properly across the mix strengthens your plan over time. A few examples include: mirroring calls to action on mobile into email titles or search marketing titles and descriptions; transporting visuals that engaged consumers on mobile into your broader display campaign; using key localization successes from mobile to geo-modify other media on your campaign. And more.

Don’t Forget Creative

Set yourself up to take advantage of the power of mobile targeting and the true personalization it allows, knowing that in addition to the spend, you’ll want to allow for creative iteration and those costs. It’s key to keep enough flexibility to allow for dynamic optimization, as localized, personalized executions, if properly analyzed yield a lot of learning that can be used. So, be sure to allow for this when budgeting with your team or your agency.

We all know that within any given plan, you can optimize bid, placement, message, and creative. But, it’s key to remember that you can and should also optimize spend. So, it’s vital to know going in that you can heavy up or lighten allocation, based on what you learn. Your first allocation is not set in stone, and that is the beauty of it. Taking a disciplined formulaic approach to the initial budgeting and then taking on a strategic approach to learning, optimization and re-allocation, will assure that you’ve got the most thoughtfully allocated, efficient and high performing plan possible. And, in an increasingly mobile-first consumer world, if you use a mobile lens to chart the course, you will be taking advantage of the growing mobile opportunity.