By: Dustin O’Dell
This is part one of a series of interviews, where I sit down with an agency or brand team member to discuss all things mobile. Questions will run the gamut, with the goal of providing insight to how the biggest brands in the world handle mobile.
First up, is Charles Ansell, Media Supervisor at Carat. Charles has been deeply involved with mobile for the past two years and is a key player in executing mobile campaigns, along with educating his clients about the ever-evolving mobile landscape.
Let’s get started!
MLA: Charles, where have you seen success with mobile advertising thus far?
Typically, the best success comes from getting more granular. Whether that’s with the site list or custom targeting options, the closer the ad gets to the exact target, the higher the chance for success. It also depends on which devices are categorized as Mobile. Referring to mobile phones specifically, our retail client has seen strong performance with geo targeting (zip codes, smart fences, store locations, etc.). Custom games that are simple but relevant, have also proven to be effective. In terms of tablet advertising, the large size of the screen allows for more custom creative units. The audience our client goes after is more likely to watch videos, look at product galleries and read custom content on their tablet.
MLA: What are the challenges and concerns with mobile advertising
There is still a lot of confusion on where exactly each mobile company fits. It is relatively new (in comparison to how long other media formats have been around), and the space is growing rapidly, so there are invisible lines of where networks, DSP’s and independent ad servers begin and end. I think a lot of people in agencies don’t understand what the most important factors are, when looking at mobile partners. This also comes down to the sales people though, who should be making their company’s competitive advantage clear and easy to grasp. When I am looking at mobile companies, I’m looking for something original. There needs to be a technology or content that they can provide. There needs to be something tangible that actually sets them apart.
MLA: How do you stay up to date with all the new mobile technology and capabilities?
Blogs/Trade Sites are a great way to see how companies are doing and what’s going on within the business side of things (e.g. who is getting funding, mergers, new launches). I generally try to take as many meetings as I can though, as that is the easiest way for me to figure out what a company offers. I’ve been lucky enough to work under some colleagues that have/had a strong knowledge base of the space, so now I know which red flags to look out for and what kind of questions to dig in to.
I also try to take any opportunity to meet with the engineers or developers behind the company, so they can get into the nuts and bolts of how it works. This is the part that many advertisers miss. It’s important to trust the technology behind the company you are investing your client’s dollars in, and these guys know every detail.
MLA: What current mobile trend(s) or mobile technology are you watching closely?
Cross device targeting has been the hottest topic for my client this year. Now that most channels have gone completely digital, or have a digital component, clients want to know how one channel affects the next. Going further, what is the best time to reach consumers on a specific channel, or what should creative/message be for each one. The next stage of advertising is figuring out the exact sequence and messaging to hit a consumer, that drives optimal sales.
MLA: Describe your ideal experience as a consumer and explain how mobile advertising can/should make your life easier as a consumer.
My ideal experience involves zero pop-ups, interruptions or ill-timed advertisements. It would involve some combination of re-targeting, contextual relevance and timeliness. An example might be that I watched a movie trailer on my IMDB app, then checked movie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, so when I open Google maps to figure out the quickest route to get home at 6:30 on a Friday, a pin drops on the most conveniently located AMC theater with the next time that movie is showing. Taking it a step further, if I click on the pin, then an offer could pop up promising a free popcorn and soda if I get to the theatre in time for the next showing.
There you have it! It’s clear at this point that brands have to start thinking mobile first. With consumer’s spending an increasing amount of time solely on mobile, it’s imperative for brands to engage their consumers in a mobile environment, however, mobile still has a bit of evolving to do before it truly hits its stride!
I would like to thank Charles for his time and participation in MLA’s Mobile Spotlight and wish him and his clients good luck this holiday season and into 2014!
Dustin O’Dell is the Director of Content Management for MLA and Mobile Sales Manager for AdTheorent with a background in consumer data and programmatic buying. O’Dell is currently based in NYC, working with top agencies and brands applying innovative thought at the intersection of mobile technology, data, and marketing to change how brands engage consumers.