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Five lessons about advertising in a mobile era

Fall is traditionally the time when companies and agencies start to summarise the activities conducted in the passing year and think about the future.

There is not better time to think about the upcoming trends and how we can use them to make the campaigns that not only effectively target customers, but also stand out and make the difference.

We need to remember that it is difficult to point to an area where changes that we are witnessing are more dynamic and where keeping up with trends effectively is more demanding than in marketing.

The division into traditional and digital marketing, which has so far given rise to certain misguided questions, unnecessary discussions and problems at the organizational and strategic level, is now finally becoming history. Although the fundamental principles of marketing remain unchanged, the progress of technology is obviously forcing us to modify our priorities and methods. On what subjects are discussions on the future of marketing currently focusing? What are the key lessons that marketers can draw from these discussions? Let us attempt to identify them.

1. Mobile comes first

Mobile devices clearly stand out among the other content reception channels, including digital channels. The use of these devices is definitely marked by the highest growth. Mobile has changed the way we discover, experience and share. It is the fastest adoption of communication technology: TV took over a decade to reach 50 million viewers; smartphones reached 1 billion in 5 years. The mobile internet market is predicted to add 1.75 billion new users over the next 8 years, reaching a milestone of 5 billion mobile internet users in 2025, according to the GSMA’s 2018 mobile economy report. Therefore, we must look at the mobile channel as a separate content distribution format, rather than an element of digital marketing. The mobile channel plays a crucial role already at the stage of creating an advertisement. If something works on a small screen, it works on a big one as well. Unfortunately, this principle does not work the other way round. Therefore, in order to realize the enormous potential of mobile marketing, it has to serve as the starting point for developing creatives.

2. Focus on results

Advertising metrics and advertising results are not the same – although they are sometimes regarded as synonymous or used collectively in discussions among experts. Mobile channel advertising is characterized by very fast reception and high degree of attention on the viewer’s part. Consequently, the key metrics, such as the length or the number of views, can only serve as rough indicators of how effective advertising is. Instead, one should focus on the actual business result, such as sales or brand image. This is the only way to compare the effectiveness of different channels and formats in a reliable way. We believe that it is vital for millions of our partners who use Facebook or Instagram to grow their business feel they can trust our platform. That’s why we work with the industry, are as transparent as we can about our systems, and ensure they have access to reliable and meaningful metrics.

3. Keeping up with consumers

Consumers have lived in a mobile reality for a long time already. Younger consumers browse content faster than their seniors and the researches show that on mobile we browse content 41% faster than on desktop. As a result, it is especially difficult to measure the number or duration of views. Marketing is lagging behind, mired in discussions on planning and comparing formats, instead of focusing on the most important thing – reaching super-fast, highly aware consumers who expect marketing to reflect their reality. Today’s consumers are increasingly quick to decide whether something is worth their attention. In order to reach them effectively, developing creatives has to match the interests of the target group and the specific channel used for advertising as much as possible. And we can see that Stories are growing as a channel to communicate with the consumers – every day over 400 million people use Stories on Instagram, more than 300 million people on Facebook and Messenger. In September 2018 we have launched Facebook Stories Ads because we have heard from the people that more than 63% of them made a decision about purchasing a particular product after seeing a Story related to it.

4. Performance marketing is gaining importance in every industry

The subject of performance marketing, which is a type of marketing that leads to an actual, measurable result, such as the decision to purchase a given product, is gaining importance, becoming part of advertising strategies in all sectors. Basically, it means that the key effectiveness metrics of marketing and its clearly measurable impact are optimised in real time. The key goal is to match the right product to the right person at scale to boost demand and sales – or simplier, you need to help your products find people and create purchase intent. We can see a growing popularity of tools boosting incremental growth, like Dynamic Ads that enable to promote the entire catalog of products or services automatically, without having to configure each product individually.

5. A permanent beta phase

The progress of technology and the potential of digital marketing, which has not been fully explored yet, mean that we need to think ahead when building capabilities and organisational structures. Developing perfect solutions or methods is impossible, because human behaviour and customs constantly evolve in response to the progress of technology. Therefore, flexibility and the ability to adapt to these shifting conditions are of key importance. The pursuit of perfection has to be replaced with an attitude based on constant testing, a “permanent beta phase”, both in designing the products and in marketing. Strictly speaking, it is almost reckless for a business to put all their mobile campaign hopes on one single campaign version – and ignore the immense potential for optimization that comes with creative A/B and also C-testing. A strong creative idea can and should be brought to life in different mobile formats. Successful brands like Nike, Bud Light or Apple have shown us the way: they have all embraced mobile creativity as a living, flexible process. New ideas are played against one another in different formats and with different stories, and the results are closely examined. And it’s worth it: the insights gained help improve both ongoing and future campaigns. So be bold and test!