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Functional advertising – the future of mobile advertising?

At a time when there are concerns about the future of mobile advertising, Mubaloo Innovation Lab considers, what tools do marketers have at their disposal, to increase returns from and the effectiveness of mobile advertising.

At a time when there are concerns about the future of mobile advertising, with the rise in popularity of ad blockers, Mubaloo Innovation Lab considers, what tools do marketers have at their disposal, or what can they look at in the future to increase returns from and the effectiveness of mobile advertising.

The meteoric rise of mobile has caused disruption across industries; completely revolutionising brand engagement through the all access, always-on link to consumers. The opportunity for brand marketers is vast and the platform ideal for advertisers. As mobile adoption and usage continue to grow at an unprecedented rate, so too should the opportunity for mobile advertising.

But, mobile advertising does not come without its challenges. This constantly evolving landscape is very much at the mercy of the consumer who is able to opt-out or switch off advertisers’ access to their mobile devices. Mobile ad blocking has the potential to not only cause upset for advertisers, but will change the whole way apps are monetised and made accessible to the consumer.

Even without the threat of being denied access to consumers, mobile marketers are competing for cut-through across media and for the consumer’s attention on their mobile devices. In-app real estate for advertisers is also at risk as we enter what Gartner terms the ‘post-app era’, where the value is delivered to a user, without the app ever being opened.

However, these challenges have not deterred marketers and mobile advertising has delivered some exceptional success and will continue to do so. Critical to this continued success, however, is how value is delivered to consumers.

Defining the optimal moments to engage a consumer is important to delivering value to them. Understanding the context of a consumer’s experience or when happiness or attention levels are at their peak, allows marketers to deliver more memorable and positive engagements. Personalising ad content, to ensure it is relevant to a consumer is also vital. Targeting audiences, based on their preferences is important, both actual, perceived and predicted. With all the access the industry has to information about consumers, mobile advertising cannot be excused for a one-size-fits-all approach.

Programmatic advertising is helping advertisers target specific audiences and demographics to better match the needs and interests of consumers. Intelligence is key and the more access brands and advertisers have to consumers’ behaviours both on and offline, the more relevant the content and the more likely the chance of catching a consumer at the right moment to engage.

Connecting audience touch points across mobile and desktop is important and now, with location-based technologies or the Internet of Things (IoT), even real world consumer interactions are possible to track. Access to consumer data across platforms like mobile web, apps, desktop and physical locations provides the opportunity to deliver a highly intelligent, hyper personalised experience. Functional Advertising, a phrase coined by Mubaloo Innovation Lab is determining the opportunity to provide the most cohesive customer experience and deliver real functional value to a consumer.

Take the example of identifying when a consumer may be tired. You can tell a consumer hasn’t slept well from the sleep tracking app they use; they may be walking slower than usual, according to the fitness tracking app; the fact they were out at a nightclub until 4am as tracked by location data and then woken up several hours later by the phone’s alarm, could help an advertiser understand how weary their consumer is on any given day. As this consumer passes a coffee shop, again using location-based data to understand the consumer’s context further, an ad for coffee pops up, with a link to a website or app to place an order. Coffee, beauty products, sleep aids, vitamins, relaxation guides, yoga classes and a whole host of products or services could also be appropriate, based on where the customer is or why they are tired.

Equally, if you have booked flights to a warm destination, according to the travel app or airline app on your phone, can a customer be prompted to buy a bikini when passing a certain retail store. Or when they are waiting for their flight, be offered the opportunity to purchase travel insurance through the airline app on their phone; or be offered a special exchange rate at a foreign currency exchange desk in the airport.

In the same way, many apps are currently free for users to download, but are monetised by third party brands using the app as an advertising platform; app developers can use the data collected through the app as a revenue driver. Of course, there will be privacy concerns for users but provided aggregated data is fed into programmatic advertising platforms from apps or IoT platforms, this data can be used to provide more targeted ads to the consumer. As long as consumers’ privacy concerns are outweighed by perceptions of the value provided by a free app, everyone wins.

The opportunities are endless, but the point is clear: Improved ad relevance and focuses on delivering real value to the consumer is what will help advertisers overcome current challenges and accelerate returns from mobile advertising.

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