Mobile: not just a second screen in 2016


Mobile is more than just an additional screen for advertisers – it’s an entirely new ecosystem that requires radically different data, tactics and creative to succeed in 2016. Research from eMarketer showed that this year, UK adults have spent more time online on mobile devices than on PCs. With 33% of digital commerce sales to be completed on mobile this year, it’s evident that mobile isn’t just a second screen, but a fundamentally new way of working for marketers.

Embracing every aspect of the customer journey
The customer journey is increasingly more complex, and marketers need to embrace the multiple touchpoints and varied channels they can use to reach audiences. Brands must leverage their first-party data to build tailored, targeted advertising campaigns on mobile, not only desktop. We have better insights than ever before into consumer behaviour and how every screen fits into daily life, so it’s time to take advantage of these.

It’s important to understand the distinction between how consumers prefer to use mobiles, compared to desktops. Both in the UK and globally, people prefer to use smartphones for product research, locating or finding information about stores and businesses, and reading reviews, according to research from PayPal, with the most common reason for not completing purchases on mobile being that 27% of consumers prefer to buy on PCs.

Modelling, metrics and mobile
The sooner marketers decide which metrics and attribution models work best for them, the better. With the rise of stricter data privacy laws across Europe, figuring out alternatives to the cookie is a worthwhile investment for most brands. Advertisers need to develop solutions to identify the right target audience, and make sure they’re tracked correctly as well, whether it’s a probabilistic or deterministic approach.

Attribution is already a tricky topic for many marketers, and the addition of mobile has just made this more complex. Yet adding another screen into the mix just proves how ineffective and outdated last-click attribution models are. While sales or conversions are smaller on mobile, we at AdRoll have been seeing that mobile advertising significantly boosts conversions later on, via laptops or in-store purchases. Consumers now use an average of five connected devices in the path to purchase, which means that if your attribution models aren’t taking into account the influence of each channel, your models are wrong.

New design principles for a new screen
The first step in approaching mobile is making sure your mobile site and app are user friendly. Earlier this year, our State of the Industry report, surveying 250 European marketers, found that 27% of marketers don’t have a mobile app and 23% reported not even having a mobile-friendly site. We’ll be revealing our 2016 results in January and are eager to see how the industry has evolved in the past 12 months and what issues remain.

Embracing new ways of working with mobile will help boost your marketing methods overall, and prepare you for the next big thing after mobile, whatever that may be. Not only do mobile sites need to take into account different design elements to work fully (like larger buttons rather than small text links that can be hard to touch correctly with a finger), marketers also need to make sure their content works for this new context. Thinking about your advertising in terms of the one thing consumers will want to know about and engage with forces marketers to find the most effective creative solutions.

About Author

Marius Smyth

Managing director EMEA at AdRoll

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