“It’s true that advertisers are spoiled for choice – they do have a lot of it – but the core problem is not that they have their pick, but that they don’t know how to choose because they’re picking their way through jargon,” Wise said. “That’s why we’re calling on advertisers to optimize for mobile specifically, because mobile is and should be very different than whatever they’re doing for display.”
In other words, the onus is on marketers to ask the right questions and start educating themselves about the mobile space, rather than just continuing to work with whoever they work with for display because it’s convenient or because they assume their vendor knows what it’s doing.
Advertisers also need to have a clearer idea of their own goals and KPIs at the outset before grabbing onto a passing mobile vendor and shooting off into an uncertain mobile future like Marty McFly on his skateboard in "Back To The Future."
“It’s easy to get lost in the jargon and think, ‘This sounds great,’ but it’s time for advertisers to take charge, understand their own requirements first and even get into the tech a little, too,” Wise said. “ How does a particular vendor connect the online digital consumer to the store? Are they using a unique ID like an email address or are they using device location? What kind of inventory do they have access to? Ask.”
It’s about due diligence, especially in key areas such as creative capabilities, targeting granularity, inventory access and global footprint, as well as a vendor’s pricing models and any additional services and add-ons, like measurement, attribution or cross-device.
“A more informed conversation on both sides will enable advertisers to home in on a vendor’s niche in the market,” Wise said.
When that happens, mobile budgets will follow, she said.
“Once an advertiser picks the right vendor that can optimize to their requirements, their campaigns will perform better and they’ll be able to justify the spend,” Wise said. “Before then, don’t throw things at a wall and hope. Do it strategically.”
Forrester is planning a follow-up report in Q3 that will delve more deeply into the maturity and trajectory of tech in the mobile ad space.