"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Mahi de Silva, CEO at Opera Mediaworks.
For the better part of the last 50 years, brands’ ad spending focused on the living room, which included TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, as the primary way to reach various audiences. It worked because the living room represented a comfort zone where families converged around the latest news, popular trends and entertainment provided by traditional media.
Today, the living room model has been upended. Audiences of all ages have moved to digital, and nomadic media consumers often have multiple connected devices on hand. Although some remain skeptical, consumers, especially millennials, are increasingly adopting mobile as their new comfort zone. At the same time, innovation is enabling the re-creation of the living room media experience on the go.
Dozens of new mobile features and capabilities are launched daily, but a few technologies specifically help brands better engage with their audiences.
Engagement In The New ‘Living Room’
In many ways, TVs have been supplanted by mobile screens, which have evolved dramatically from basic monochromatic text-only screens to picture-quality retina displays. For brands, screen design serves as the first gating factor to mobile campaigns. If a screen can only display static graphics, for example, a brand would only execute image-based ads. But with today’s high-resolution and touch-screen capabilities, brands have limitless creative and interactive latitude, especially with video. Advertisers can now serve stunning mobile video ads and present dynamic, targeted calls to action within the content to increase engagement and conversions. This can all happen while consumers are in transit or taking a coffee break, and ad platforms can determine in real time whether a consumer’s device or connection type is better suited to video, interactive or static ads.
Device cameras also fuel new ways of capturing the emotional aspect of brand-focused advertising. Now that mobile devices offer increasingly sophisticated point-and-shoot capabilities, such as zoom, slow motion and time lapse, and better editing features, including filters and cropping, users have more tools than ever to capture memories of themselves and others in a very personal way.
While 30-second TV commercials can create powerful brand awareness, the interactivity offered by mobile-device cameras truly pushes the user media experience to a whole new level. Photos aren’t just displayed in albums and frames in the living room anymore. They’re now an essential part of the media experience.
Finally, mobile GPS enables a whole new wave of geolocation-based advertising. The living room is now wherever the consumer is. Location-targeted ads show nearby deals, while product recommendations are offered based on the weather. Hard-wired living room phones were once regularly used to call for time of day and temperature, but now mobile devices take that information into account and distribute content accordingly.
Spotlight On Better Creative
These technologies drive a renewed focus on creative innovation. Ever since the IAB added five Mobile Rising Stars to its standard ad portfolio, the industry has blossomed, from interactive rich-media display units to voice-activated ads and stunning mobile videos (see this gallery for some of the best).
From a performance perspective, mobile creative innovation delivers impressive results. An analysis of performance for TV, desktop video and mobile video for the same brand campaign showed better engagement on mobile across all categories, from brand recall to purchase intent. A separate study also found that video could improve mobile ad engagement rates by 35%.
The proliferation of devices, combined with consumers’ increasingly mobile lifestyles, has disrupted the traditional media model centered around the living room. New paradigms, such as companion experiences between the TV and a smartphone or tablet, turn static reach and frequency campaigns into highly interactive brand experiences that drive measurable results. Brands have had to adapt to this new reality and live up to their audiences’ evolving expectations. Fortunately, we have reached a point where both the people and technology behind mobile are keeping pace and setting new milestones for innovation.