Multi-Faceted 'Context' Remains Key In Mobile Ads For PHD's Wolinetz

wolinetzIn her role as Managing Director of Connected Platforms at media agency PHD, Andrea Wolinetz helps manage client opportunities that are digital but don’t necessarily fit a silo such as “mobile” or “social.” She offers Foursquare as a prime example of this conundrum in the agency: “Should you call your mobile specialist because it’s a location-based application? Are you supposed to call your social specialist because it’s a social-based engagement once you’re in it? Or are you supposed to call your search specialist because all of the platforms in which you would buy, in terms of paid opportunities on Foursquare, require good understanding of bid-based marketing, modelling and keywords?”

Wolinetz spoke to AdExchanger last week about what she’s seeing from her cross-digital-channel agency “seat.”

AdExchanger: Speaking of "connected platforms," is connected TV beginning to provide some scalable opportunities to your clients?

ANDREA WOLINETZ: It’s starting to. In the past 18 months, we have seen the "second screen" moving to the "first screen," if you will.  What I mean is, there’s all this talk about mobile video, mobile viewing opportunities and “second screens,” and yet what I think is interesting about connected platforms is that it’s taking native mobile behaviours and bringing them to a much larger screen.

As for scalability, I don’t know if it’s scalable yet, but we certainly see it starting to move in that direction.

Regarding “second-screen” viewing, do you see this playing out as an important part of campaigns going forward?

There is no question that consumers are adapting to second- and even third-screen habits. From where we're sitting, it definitely presents a huge opportunity, especially as we think about how it can align with investment in TV, which leads to “scatter” dollars through mobile; what Twitter is doing with TV has a lot more to do with a mobile "second-screen" opportunity than a desktop "second-screen" opportunity.

As they relate to mobile advertising in particular, what trends are you seeing today?

We are starting to reach a real maturity in the mobile advertising marketplace. Mobile video is definitely becoming more of a common medium, and tablet and smartphone streaming is starting to pick up some steam as well. We're also seeing some really interesting behaviors in terms of point-of-sale and shopping apps.

There’s something very unique in terms of reaching consumers when they’re in that mindset through their mobile device, too — both when they’re browsing and when they're purchasing on the phone.

A brand awareness opportunity versus a direct response opportunity — do both exist in mobile environments?

Absolutely. I think that “context, context, context” is key when it comes to mobile.

So there’s context in the sense of mobility — when I’m commuting to work, or when I’m in a store looking for certain pieces of information, or if I’m getting directions to meet a friend of mine. Context and immediacy suggest a direct-response mobile ad.

Yet, does my mobile phone mean that it’s a mobile device if I’m sitting on my couch watching TV and playing three hours of a game? In that context, the ad is very much about branding as much as it is a DR opportunity. And that’s what’s so unique about mobile; we talk about context all the time in more traditional display, but in mobile  it becomes even more important to understand the whens and the wheres of the consumer using the device, in order to understand how to to target them.

Do you think some of the consumer privacy restrictions in mobile today are a gating factor for clients spending more through mobile? Is the lack of targeting holding back mobile ad spend?

It’s definitely still a challenge, and privacy issues are always a concern for us when working on behalf of our clients. We want to make sure we work in the safest and most appropriate ways to reach out to consumers.

But when we think about effective mobile targeting today, again, context plays a huge role. And there are things we can do in terms of location or profile registration that can help us do some wider, privacy-sensitive targeting that can help determine the most effective places for our clients.

So, as it relates to programmatic buying in mobile, it would seem that context is even more important than audience in mobile?

I am a firm believer there's an extra value in context, always. One afternoon, I was shopping for shoes for myself and put a pair of shoes in an online shopping cart, and then abandoned it because I got distracted. A couple of hours later, I was shopping for graduation gifts for my little brother and while on a male -geared site I was served  an ad by that department store for the shoes that I had abandoned. I only noticed it because it was so jarring. It was the opposite of what I was thinking.

So, context is always key for me. It gets lost somewhat in the programmatic conversation.  But it's even more important in mobile because it is a device that we use in a multitude of mindsets and locations.

Finally, what are the misconceptions clients have about mobile advertising today?

The biggest one for us is that mobile ads are just like digital, but on a smaller screen. Beyond that, we all need to be thinking about not just smaller real estate, but the technologies that are displaying ads and how consumers are using devices.

For example, we know that the load times for some of the huge applications or ads that people want to run in mobile can cause problems; you only have fractions of a second to get people to pay attention.

Also, think about how consumers are using devices. They are using fingers and thumbs, not the mouse; landing page experiences need to be taken into account. There are a lot of nuances within understanding successful mobile ads and the user’s device.

But again, the biggest misconception that I hear is that you can extend digital into mobile by shrinking down the ads.

 

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