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Mobile Engagement with Video is Down

As consumers increasingly get to grips with digital technologies, we’ve come to expect that engagements rates will always – happily – head North. Unfortunately for the digital marketer, this is not always so in today’s challenging global macroeconomic environment where it seems nothing can be taken for granted. This stark reality has again rung true following independent marketing firm Acoustic releasing its 2019 Marketing Benchmark Report that details the latest trends in email and mobile marketing. The study shows that the mobile consumer’s engagement with email campaigns is sharply down and attributes this to the impact of new world privacy laws. This again demonstrates how quickly the marketing landscape can change due to factors beyond our control. Mobile marketers always need to be on the lookout for new ways to drive loyalty and engagement rates simply because the old ways could be denied to us at any time, as we have found with new privacy laws. The good news is that while the mobile consumer’s engagement with email may be down, there’s a new technology that’s emerged on the mobile horizon and engagement rates there are on the up and up. We’ve been waxing lyrical on this blog for some time about the opportunities inherent in mobile video. Many readers would know that more Millennials spend more time watching YouTube and other videos on their mobile devices than they do watching traditional television. Mobile marketers have not only spotted this trend, they’ve launched shoppable video enabling a much deeper form of engagement with video than ever before. Now, forget email, mobile users are able to view video and actually purchase the products and services seen on their screens. With a few simple clicks, mobile users are knocking traditional marketing and advertising straight out of the ballpark. Never before has the marketing world seen such innovative merging of two digital platforms and the great news is, we’ve only just begun!

The Bells & Whistles Are Changing, the Basics Aren’t

Mobile marketing is evolving as much as any marketing discipline. Change is the only constant in the advertising and marketing community and that’s certainly true when the type of marketing we’re talking about is part and parcel of the hottest, most awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping technology that’s ever hit planet Earth. After a good couple of years preparing these pages, all of the superlatives above make me think of how much the advice that us mobile marketing types dish out has changed. Of course, the basic truths are still there but mobile marketing really is moving at such a breathtaking pace. The question, then, must be asked, do the old rules still apply and what are currently emerging as the new foundations? As mobile marketers, we used to spend a lot of time writing and speaking about the need for our clients to properly segment mobile users so that a ‘spray and pray’ approach is not employed and we usually meant with regards to what now seem such simplistic, text-based campaigns. Yes, this advice is still relevant, even though this segmentation is now largely automated. Machine learning, algorithms and artificial intelligence have now all made their presence felt over the past few years. Geofencing has also popped up in mobile and it means, again, that segmentation has mostly become automated. Parameters can be set and the technology – again – does it all for the mobile marketer. We used to speak about the need to get into video. Video’s going to be big, we evangelized, without really thinking that we’ll ever see something like workable, shoppable video anytime soon. And here we are, in 2019, and mobile users can actually click on videos and purchase what they see displayed before them. To, that still seems like science fiction. The opportunities in mobile really have become limitless. With all of the above happening it is sometimes easy to forget that it’s still a good idea for the small business-owner to collect cellular numbers. Personal attention from the owner of the SME business down the road will never go out of fashion.

As 2019 closes out, choose mobile

With the coming and going of the month of July every year, it seems as if we pass that annual corner where the end of the year comes visibly into view. From the optimism of January we experience that yearly transition to the dread of December. Of course, we are not suggesting there’s any real scariness to the closing of the year, simply the mild terror the executive experiences thinking of what plans were hatched versus what goals were eventually achieved. Fortunately, there’s mobile to help us excel in our marketing as the year closes out. Few marketing disciplines can achieve tangible results as quickly and as transparently as mobile. This is helped by the fact that 80% of mobile users keep their devices within a metre from them at all time. Let’s look at three other reasons why mobile is tops: – Mobile users feel they have become part of the brand as opposed to being some distant consumer bombarded with messages that are far from tailored. This is possible because of the interactive and engaging multimedia content that is mobile’s biggest edge over traditional advertising. Because mobile marketing messages are being received on very personal devices that have become extensions of us, mobile allows consumers to internalise brands and all their positive attributes. – Related to the above, interactive content allows mobile users to stay highly engaged with a brand. It is this unparalleled degree of engagement that can’t be matched by a print advert or a billboard that enables effective learning and later recall to take place. They key is also that mobile’s many different bearers and platforms mean that boredom is limited. A consumer might receive a Please Call Me message with a text tag, followed up with an MMS that’s later reinforced with a promotional banner ad. – One of mobile’s biggest benefits is its measurability. And not only can mobile marketing efforts be measured, they can be measured across a wide variety of useful indices. For scientific marketers interested in a stats-based approach, mobile marketing is a discipline that will appeal. Brands can choose any one of these metrics to determine if they’re making their mark: number of downloads, recurrent usage, time spent, click through rates, leads generated, social media sharing, cost per conversion and more. Ends

MALICIOUS MOBILE ADS PLUNGE

It looked like the week for mobile marketing was starting off on a bit of a sour note a few days ago with news that millions of mobile Instagram users and others had their details hacked, but then out came the excellent news that malicious and disruptive mobile ads have decreased globally year-on-year. Awesome. In more detail, advertising security company Confiant says in about 1 out of 100 cases, mobile user sessions might be adversely impacted by a disruptive and unwelcome advert. The firm studied the most common issues for publishers and their platforms before concluding that malicious ads are more common during weekends and holidays. Apparently, the worst performing platforms are about 67 times more likely to deliver a nasty ad which to us says advertisers need to put the proper research and planning into the platforms and publishers with which they do business. Do not be tempted to contract with the unknown and unproven. So what do mobile users find amongst the most disruptive ads? One of the worst categories of offender is the malicious ad that players within a banner. With smartphone users getting used to super-high resolutions and generally great quality mobile campaign executions, even low-quality ads are now perceived as malicious and disruptive to the general mobile experience. Thankfully, malware and other ad quality issues are not intractable problems for the overall mobile industry, both locally and abroad. With the right systems in place and commitment from the industry, we can all tackle these issues.

Key to App Success is App Marketing

We’ve all heard that familiar catchphrase of the early 2000s: “There’s an app for that”. Well, that there might be, but key to an app’s success is your business’s ability to market it. Allied to this indisputable fact, is the second truth of eventual app success and that is apps need to be as simple as possible for maximum mobile consumer uptake. For the mobile marketer, apps are of interest because they are a good way of ensuring maximum market interest in a business and that interest can often easily and seamlessly be converted to buying behaviour. It’s worth investing in a business app. The latest study by Statista has predicted that mobile app downloads are going to reach almost 258 billion by 2022. It also indicates that there will be a 25% increase in the downloads from 2018 to 2022. However, apps are only successfully when consumers download them. In fact, apps are only successful when users actually use them – how many times have you downloaded an app and then simply left in lying around on your home screen with its icon looking very slick but very unused? With so many apps launched every day, a business needs to have a solid marketing strategy to make its name in the market. When marketing an app, one absolutely has to invest in positive user reviews and feedback. Without good reviews, it’s unlikely your app will get any traction. Next, brands can also build a microsite to market their apps. Microsites assist businesses in going beyond the app store by deploying SEO techniques for their app. Here we want to seamlessly direct the audience to the microsite landing page and encourage certain specific behaviour. Finally, social media is probably the biggest way of promoting your app. Posting eye-grabbing visuals is one of the best app promotion strategies for any business to implement. With current short attention spans, users want mobile products and services delivered quickly. Posting photos and videos with exciting colour combinations can hugely increase engagement. Good luck!

Help spread the mobile safety message

We’ve been evangelising mobile marketing in these pages for a few years now. Although we have produced thousands of words about the subject, covering many areas of specialisation, we have never lost site of the fact that mobile advertising works so well because consumers love mobile so much. The reason mobile browsers are the most popular way to trawl the web is because consumers love the mobile experience and they trust their mobile interactions. The mobile network operators, wireless application service providers (WASPs) and organisations like WASPA and others have worked tirelessly since the late 1990s to build a mobile ecosystem where trust is the glue that holds it all together. From a lawless place where every mobile service, ring tone and download was offered at any price – across varying customer service levels – South Africa’s mobile content and applications industry is today a model of responsible and successful self-regulation. The result has been that consumers are confident they can interact with mobile services and not get bitten in the process. Innovations like double-opt in, the industry block list and the WASPA Code of Conduct, for example, have ensured that there is a massive audience out there that mobile marketers can reach. Unfortunately, while all this progress is being made locally, out come a plethora of very shady mobile fraudsters, primarily based overseas, who are threatening to once again make consumers very nervous when interacting with mobile. As mobile marketers, we need to get out there and explain to our clients and consumers alike how they can protect themselves against these mobile rouges. Firstly, as in any transaction-based sector, consumers should regularly check their prepaid airtime balances or postpaid statements for anything that seems amiss. Finally; regularly scan your messaging inbox for messages saying you are subscribed to mobile services, monitor your contract cellphone statements or prepaid airtime balance, and proactively check your mobile subscription status with your cellular network. Communicating the above to as many mobile users as possible will help ensure that we all only ever receive the mobile content and applications we actually want. ENDS

Mobile straddles the line between e-commerce and entertainment

In a previous blog post earlier this year, we learnt just how massive mobile video is becoming. We’ve evangelised video many times before, pointing to this ever-increasing trend with such illuminating factoids as the fact that Millenials now watch much more YouTube videos on their mobile devices compared to traditional live television. China, like America before it, offers us a good view of how the future might look. There, that country’s over 700 million mobile users daily engage in mobile video snacking where they consume vast quantities of 15-second video clips that have become hugely-popular in the world’s fastest-growing economy. While all of this growth in mobile video is encouraging, mobile marketers are no doubt tempted to haul out that age old line made popular in countless old-school movies: “show me the money”. Well, now mobile marketers can indeed show their agency partners and brand clients alike the money as mobile video is becoming increasingly shoppable. What do we mean by this? Well, Forbes and others have been reporting for some time that overseas companies like Smartzer have developed technology that essentially monetizes mobile video. In another huge leap forward for mobile, smartphone users are able to click on products displayed in mobile videos and be instantly transported to an area where they can easily purchase said goods. This really is futuristic stuff except its available right now! Over the remainder of 2019, there’ll no doubt be plenty opportunities relating to the monetisation of mobile video that local brands will be able to start taking advantage of as mobile marketers continue to explore ways to (convincingly) straddle the line between e-commerce and entertainment.

MOBILE PUSH NOTIFICATIONS PROVE THEIR WORTH

Next week we will be entering the official halfway month of yet another year. June is a scary month. It represents that time of year where we should have achieved quite a number of those personal and business goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. It does also, however, offer a glimmer of hope in that the coming of June means we still have six months to achieve the lion’s share of our earlier goals. Plus we can set some new ones to reflect changed circumstances. When we speak about changed circumstances in mobile marketing, we could easily be speaking of GDPR, that European privacy regulation that threatened to change the way mobile marketers, our clients, employers and others do business. Similar in some respects to SA’s own POPI, GDPR seems to have little impact around the world. To illustrate, mobile markers worldwide cleaned up their databases and implemented all sorts of opt-in measures and the results – a year later – has been an almost 17 percent INCREASE in app permissions granted by mobile users. A worldwide study of mobile app permissions granted by about 700 million people around the globe found that there are now about 36 permissions granted per user per month. Opt-in rates, on average, are also still as high as 67 percent. So this says to us as mobile marketers that the consumer’s love affair with mobile continues and while it is good to tighten up privacy rules, regulations seem to do little on the ground. Recent research has also shown that consumers are becoming more selective about sharing their data. The average opt-in rate for the use of location-specific data fell from 9.3 per cent to 7.7 per cent. In conclusion, it seems that while consumers are becoming more selective about the channels they opt-into and the data they share; push notifications continue to prove their value by providing customers valuable information at the precise time and place they need it.