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Mobile Advertising looks bright: MMA Seminar Roundup

With an estimated $64.25 billion spent worldwide on mobile advertising in 2014, it’s clear ‘Mobile Works’. At the MMA’s most recent seminar the industry body proved that mobile was not only working, but was also constantly evolving and adapting to new developments in technology and consumer preference. The average person checks their phone over 150 times a day, and it is up to advertisers to make sure that this mobile experience is consistently transformed into a viable marketing opportunity. Users no longer ‘go’ online, they now simply live online.

It’s strange to think that smartphones have only really been a driving force for the last five years when, according to Ian Carrington, Director of Performance Solutions & Innovation at Google, the search engine decided to move towards a ‘Mobile First’ approach. The original iPhone is less than a decade old. Much of the conference was a chance to take stock of what had come before - tracing the history of broadcast devices from the radio right the way through to the present day. References to Nokia 3310s, The Matrix and Y2K illustrated a rapidly evolving genealogy in broadcasting technology. The speed of progress and transformation is one that advertisers can sometimes struggle to match.

The mobile experience has improved beyond all recognition. New functionalities, with faster network speeds, motion detection, GPS and processing power have given advertisers a real opportunity to create exciting and bold mobile content. In an ever-evolving landscape advertisers must make sure they keep their eyes firmly fixed on the horizon ahead – not on what came before. There is no point approaching new challenges with outdated ambitions.

The need for innovation was a running theme throughout the panel discussion, chaired by LoopMe’s CEO, Stephen Upstone. With regard to brand advertising, Paul O’Grady, in charge of Senior Communications at Unilever, claimed that ‘there is no set way of ‘doing’ mobile’. Each campaign has to be approached on an individual basis that reflects the needs of the brand. It’s up to the agencies themselves to make sure they have the flexibility to keep up this approach, while also satisfying publishers and audiences.

While challenges for advertisers may be arriving thick and fast, each new month brings new tools for enhancing user experience. The evolution of programmatic marketing based on high quality data processing and increased support for software developers wanting to integrate ads into apps has guaranteed that the right advert is being seen by the right person at the right time. For DoubleClick’s Tim Collier, one key development is the advent of the cross-device experience. Why should an advertiser tell the same story on one device when users have access to multiple devices? Instead they should tell a variety of stories across different devices.

Of course, it’s important to keep the end goal clear. With so many tools and levels of data available Neil Bruce, of Mindshare, warned that agencies should never try and be ‘too clever’. All too often, mobile is being seen more as a tactical medium rather than a broadcast one. Being swamped with data may not be the best way of creating the perfect advertising campaign as it significantly limits inventory.

‘Mobile Works’ is a celebration of a format – not merely a statement. The medium of mobile advertising has come a long way, bringing bold, new and exciting content to a vast array of devices. It might be challenging, but the MMA’s seminar panel proved that there are a variety of new ways and ideas for capitalizing on the opportunities this evolution has created.