Mobile advertising spend continues to grow, but it is still punching well below its weight.

A year ago the IAB published their definitive 2015 report on advertising expenditures and usage trends in the US market across all media channels. The report clearly demonstrated the huge $25 Billion gap that exists between time spent on mobile devices, and mobile media’s share of total advertising budgets in the USA.

What’s the mobile gap?

Talking specifically to the Canadian market, IAB projected that mobile media ad expenditures will increase by up to 55% in 2016 to reach a total of $3.21 Billion for the year. Over the same period, total Canadian media expenditures were projected to grow at only 3% over 2015.

With print and radio losing significant ground, and TV and digital growth relatively flat, we’re now seeing the dynamic presence of Mobile in our media landscape. However fast forward to 2016 and time spent on mobile devices is now approaching 3.4 hours daily. Mobile time spent is exceeding time spent watching TV by 65%, while equaling Digital time spent. Despite the data, the mobile media gap is still not closing fast enough.

So why does mobile remain an under-valued and under-utilized vehicle for Canadian advertisers?

Is it our national risk aversion and lack of knowledge regarding mobile that emphasizes a need to follow rather than lead? Or is it inertia and shortsightedness in our strategic and media agencies that’s effecting our ability to adapt? In agencies where annual TV buys and even some long-term digital commitments already in place, longstanding pre-established profitable pricing schedules may be what reigns. Change, even towards improvement, can therefore be a challenge.

If 75% of Canadians own smartphones, and people are checking their phones more than 150 times per day as reported by Business Insider, then it is time for advertisers to embrace the mobile opportunity. To reach broader, more engaged audiences, media buyers needs to tailor their messages on the devices that surround every facet of their lives.

For decades, savvy marketers have understood the need to move customers progressively along the Marketing Continuum from Awareness on-wards towards Loyalty. In our newly evolved digital world this now must embrace ENGAGEMENT/RE-ENGAGEMENT as the ultimate destination to replace that somewhat intangible Loyalty factor.

road_to_loyalty-copyRe-examining the Funnel

Applying this as an overarching strategy to media planning, dictates a deeper examination of the Funnel Theory:


This approach clearly presents significant opportunities for Digital Media to impact programming success at each level of the funnel and specifically to drive the Re-Engagement process via targeted mobile marketing initiatives. Placing real value on Engagement remains an inconsistent practice despite all the conversation on how to get consumers engaged. However, quality time-spent by a qualified target customer interacting with your brand should be considered an invaluable metric and as indicator of on-going customer retention.

Adapting to the Mobile Challenge

Consistent technical development of the major publishers and content producers in the digital and mobile space has resulted in an ever richer data pool behind consumer demographics and usage trends. For successful advertisers, selecting media sources with advanced data profiling and aggregation resources is key to optimizing your media investments. Selecting vendors with access to first-party data, for example, can present significant incremental marketing efficiencies. Via the application of contextual and projected ‘look-alike’ profiling as well as real-time optimization of creative executions, targeting the right audience at the right time can now also happen at the right mobile-moment.

It’s time for educated marketers to challenge their media planners, whether on-staff or at an agency partner, to build integrated campaigns that use digital and mobile media to amplify the impact and effectiveness of the ad dollars spent. As our digital landscape continues to evolve, planners need to demand performance KPIs that build your brands.

kevin_astle_round_largeKEVIN ASTLE
is President of ClearPier’s Blyk Mobile division. A veteran marketer with long-standing industry experience across the Digital/Social/Mobile space.

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