Another major difference between mobile computing and the more traditional kind is the use of apps. In mid-2011, for the first time consumers began spending more time on mobile apps, which is great for makers of apps, but another challenge for advertisers. Though there’s some encouraging data about app-vertising, it’s still so new that, unless they’re dealing with Facebook, Twitter or Zynga, marketers, though there are third parties, including Appssavvy, that also place ads on apps.
However, the web-based model of advertising is quickly going out the window. Stefan Weitz, Senior Director at Bing, says that he believes that 40% of searches will be done via apps by 2015.
Marketers and publishers can debate how relevant the click-through-rate is for desktop advertising, but at least it’s something of a standard. In mobile, there’s no comparable metric. Clark Fredrickson, VP of communications for eMarketer, says one issue is that mobile publishers make the plausible case that mobile marketing drives in-store purchases. “That’s obviously problematic” says Fredrickson, who notes that proving a mobile ad prompted a purchase is much more difficult on mobile than on desktop, where there’s often a clickstream leading to a final online purchase.
Finally, there’s the amorphous nature of “mobile” once again. Smartphone or tablet? Android or iOS? iPhone 4S or iPhone 5? iPad or iPad Mini? “You have to make sure landing pages they’re optimized for each” says Fredrickson.
Complicating matters further, consumers exhibit very different mindsets on tablets vs. smartphones. “Tablets are becoming content-consumption devices,” says Greg Stuart, CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association. “A phone tends to be more about task orientation, like ‘I need to find a restaurant now.’”
That’s why Jeff Lanctot, global chief media officer of digital agency Razorfish, advocates a multi-screen strategy rather than one that addresses “mobile” per se.
Unfortunately, most a lot of marketers don’t see it that way, instead viewing mobile as a small subset of a bigger category that is itself laden with frustratingly small sub-sets. “There are still too many marketers who are managing mobile in a silo,” Lanctot says. “But Microsoft’s unifying the UI across all screens sends a message to marketers that breaking down the mobile silos makes sense.”