Content, not display ads to rule on Mobiles

23 Nov,2015

 

By A Correspondent

 

As more mobile consumers across Asia-Pacific embrace practices like multi-screening and video watching, marketers expect an eventual shift away from display advertising towards innovative content.

 

Annual research conducted by Warc in association with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) – State of the Industry: Mobile Marketing in Asia survey – found that while 70% of marketers currently use display advertising, only 44% plan to use it in five years’ time. Content, in contrast, is set to speed ahead during this period and take the pole position, with adoption rising from 33% today to 49% expected in 2020.

 

This corresponds with the marketers’ perception of video’s rising significance in mobile platforms. The study found that watching video was now considered by 51% of respondents as an important mobile consumer behaviour, up 15 percentage points compared to 2014 and 23 percentage points from 2013. Multi-screening, meanwhile, continues to be seen as the most significant consumer trend for the second year running, with 68% indicating its importance.

 

Rising consumer expectations present emerging challenges

Given mobile consumers’ increasing sophistication, more marketers now see content and consumer concerns over privacy as critical challenges, at 31% and 33% respectively – about the same proportion as those who are concerned about budgets (32%) and reliable metrics for measuring success (33%). The latter two concerns were ranked higher than the former in previous years, with budgets being the chief concern in 2013.

 

“Confidence in the channel’s importance continues to rise and the investments speak for themselves,” said Edward Pank, Managing Director at Warc Asia Pacific. “The ongoing challenge now is that today’s consumers expect much more of their mobile content and experience. So in order to keep up, marketers need to hone their skills further and innovate strategically.”

 

While more attention is being paid to consumer-focused issues, the biggest barrier to the growth of mobile marketing in Asia-Pacific remains the skills gap and lack of understanding within the industry, as identified by 40% of the respondents. Although this proportion is slightly lower than last year (45%), the consistency indicates a sustained struggle to deploy the appropriate advanced capabilities to engage consumers through mobile in such a fast-moving landscape. This is despite the fact that the number of marketers assigning over 10% of their budgets to mobile has risen from one in five (20%) in 2013 to one in three (34%) now.

 

Conducted between March and May 2015, the study involved 287 respondents from 17 countries in Asia Pacific. This is the third iteration of research designed to gauge the attitudes of clientside advertisers and marketing services agencies towards mobile marketing.

 

In the study, Singapore was named the most innovative market in mobile, with 41% of respondents highlighting it as such. Appropriately, the 2015 study’s findings were released at the 2015 MMA Forum in Singapore, taking place at the Grand Hyatt today. The definitive industry event brings together technology pioneers, business leaders and experts to discuss new capabilities in the mobile toolbox – programmatic, location, video – and new ways to acquire and reach consumers.

 

“The increasing focus on the consumers and what they want – which is compelling, refreshing content on the go – is important because mobile’s distinct advantage lies in its immediacy and proximity to the consumers. It puts power in the consumers’ hand wherever they go, giving them the choice to be social, to share, capture, augment, and purchase – all at the touch of a button,” said Rohit Dadwal, Managing Director, MMA Asia-Pacific. “The findings from this third study with Warc signal that brands and marketers must continue riding on the momentum of mobile by sustaining an integrated approach and challenging creative boundaries.”

 

The previous iterations of the survey showed that despite rising awareness of the power and potential of mobile, brands and marketers had been grappling with rapid technological changes, budget considerations, and measurement of outcomes, struggling to develop cohesive mobile strategies. While these challenges remain to varying extent, the latest study indicates that more attention is being paid to consumer-focused innovation.

 

Among the study’s other findings:

  • Mobile wallet and location-based marketing set to play key role going forward

o While only two in five (40%) plan to use mobile wallet technology this year, this adoption rate is expected to rise strongly to 64% in 2020.

o Location-based marketing is shown to be well entrenched in mobile marketing strategy in the region, with a significant majority of marketers (84%) planning to use the technology this year and 85% in 2020.

  • Programmatic buying of ads is gathering pace

o Programmatic adoption appears to be improving: 79% of respondents have some familiarity with the buying mechanism, a sharp increase from 48% last year

o The importance of real-time buying is also well-recognised, with 62% expecting it to be ‘very’ important to their marketing strategy in 2020

  • More attention is being given to mobile strategy

o Half of brand owners (54%) state that they do have a formal mobile strategy, up from 44% last year

o Just under a quarter (24%) of the agencies surveyed said that the majority of their clients had a formal mobile marketing strategy this year, up from 20% in 2014

  • Mobile is well integrated with other marketing initiatives

o Overall, 88% of mobile marketing strategies in Asia-Pacific are connected to wider marketing activities. 40% of respondents use mobile to measure interest and/or engagement in ad campaigns across other media

o 84% of respondents currently find social media to be a good complement to mobile marketing, with online search following closely at 60%, a 12 percentage points increase from 2014. Traditional media – print, outdoor, radio – seem to have lost out as a result

  • The top mobile innovators

o Travel, Transport and Tourism was recognised as the most innovative product category for mobile marketing in Asia-Pacific for the second year running

o Unilever, recognised for its scale across the region, is also regarded as the most innovative brand in Asia-Pacific, a risk taker in the mobile world. Samsung, which had been at the top in 2013 and 2014, came fourth this year, lagging behind Apple. CocaCola, meanwhile, took the second position, with favourable comments on its engaging mobile content.

 

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