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Video content enables mobile snacking

Today’s blog post takes us back several years when we first heard about ‘snacking’ and the phrase ‘content is king’ in reference to mobile. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, China, like America before it, now offers us a good view of how the future might look. There, that country’s over 700 million mobile users daily engage in mobile snacking where they consume vast quantities of 15-second video clips that have become hugely-popular in the world’s fastest-growing economy. Fast is now the name of game when it comes to the consumption of mobile video content – forget one minute or even 45-second video clips – much too long! The Chinese mobile user today wants 15-second or even less clips, and lots and lots of them. This brings us to content. When clips are being consumed at the rate of hundreds of millions every singe day, it’s clear that there are tremendous opportunities for the mobile marketer and many other players within the mobile ecosystem. It’s getting exciting out there. This is especially because video drives a higher-quality mobile user. Remember ARPU (average revenue per user?). Video enables mobile marketers to squeeze greater value from higher-value mobile users. Video also allows us to get our hands on better numbers. Metrics like a user clicking on the ad, session length and repeat play can be captured and evaluated for engagement. Repeat play, in particular, is a valuable indicator of whether or not a video clip resonates with the intended target audience. While it’s important to capture the attention of one’s audience with beautiful, well-designed videos, we need to be mindful of the lack of standardisation in the industry with regards to playable video clips. Today, there is no one-size-fits-all template, standard or approach that mobile marketers can use – but it’s coming!

Data Integration Key to Mobile Marketing Automation

No medium available to the marketer today offers a better degree of personalisation than mobile. It is the one platform that promises visibility on mobile devices that are never more than an arm’s length away from 80% of people. What’s more, practically everyone has one with mobile penetration rates having exceeded 100% several years ago. In South Africa, I believe we’re now at something over 1.3 devices for every human being in the country! Now that mobile marketing is firmly planted in the marketer’s consciousness, we’re hearing more and more about mobile marketing automation. This truly is next-level cellular marketing and to many of us conjures up images up bots cranking out billions of mobile messages, willy-nilly. Well, mobile marketing automation is not quite like that. Mobile marketing automation can help execute an effective mobile marketing strategy when contextual, personalised and interactive messages are delivered at the right moment. By delivering engaging content in an automated fashion through multiple channels such as messaging, push notifications and in-app notifications, mobile marketers can increase customer outreach across each targeted segment. So now how, exactly, do we get started with mobile marketing automation? Here are the most important considerations, that should ideally be discussed with a mobile specialist. Firstly, the would-be automator needs to decide what qualifiers are to be used for segmenting the mobile user base and then deciding what triggers or events would drive communications, eg: user location, spend, downloads, etc. Of course, specifics like the budget and what volume of messages are to be sent should also come into this planning phase. Data integration is another key step. Mobile marketing data needs to be integrated into your firm’s business systems. Ensure your firm, or your client, has an efficient Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to help you collect customer data and track customer interactions. Finally, a mobile marketing automation system automates the task of gathering data from various platforms such as CRM, CDP, etc. to fuel your mobile marketing campaigns. Remember, the investment is well worth it: mobile marketing automation reduces human effort while empowering marketers to deliver engaging and personalised mobile marketing experiences.

Mobile Marketing in a Recession Needn’t be a Downer

Eskom’s recent woes came as a bolt out of the blue to those of us who thought load-shedding was an unpleasant memory of our recent past best forgotten. Well, it reared its ugly head with a vengeance about two weeks ago and came back with renewed vigour. Thankfully, mobile devices like tablets, laptops and cellphones with their fairly long battery lives have proven to be especially useful during this latest round of loadshedding that caught many of us unawares. It’s almost as if anyone with a car charger and a fairly decent mobile device can continue to function adequately during these Eskom-related debacles. The pundits are saying now that loadshedding is about to tip us all into that recession South Africa has been trying to avoid for the past year or two. This brings me to the question, does mobile marketing have a role in a recession, and if so, what is it? The quick answer is that mobile most definitely has a leading role to play in recessions and that’s because it offers outstanding value for money. In a cost-conscious climate where everyone is scrambling around counting pennies, the mobile marketer can be something of a lifesaver to brands needing to stay top of mind, but perhaps not having as many resources as in the past to do this. Not only can mobile offer clients, brands and other partners tremendous value for money using proven bearers like SMS and Please Call Me text tag ads, but recessions also usually mean brands want more accountability and no marketing discpline is more accountable and offers better measurability than mobile. The current economic downturn is a golden opportunity for mobile marketers to get out there and evengelize what we do. This is not the climate for grand scale expensive traditional media marketing vanity projects – this is the time for doing what works, at a reasonable cost and being able to report back to the client in detail what bang they got for their under-pressure buck. Good luck!

THREE MOBILE MUST-HAVES FOR 2019

We’re set for a stellar year in South African mobile marketing. Not only is the upcoming ICASA market enquiry into mobile data set to shake things up, but increasing fibre rollout across the country means more of the WiFi that many mobile devices run on in so many homes and businesses. Also, mobile network speeds are increasing and the recent launch of data-focused Rain also signals that positive change is in the African mobile air. So what are the mobile must-haves that both executives and entrepreneurs interested in the potential of mobile simply must have in their businesses for an effective mobile marketing strategy? We’ve read a lot about mobile innovation in these pages but, for now, let’s focus on a few solid basics. First up, you’ve got to make sure your web presence reflects the fact that the lion’s share of browsing and searching now takes place on mobile devices. This means ensuring content displays well not only on different screens, and across different operating systems, but also in landscape and portrait modes. Secondly, it’s time for that dedicated mobile marketing manager within the business. Even if your firm, or your client, doesn’t quite have the resources for a top-flight mobile marketing executive, you should still try and invest in a mid-level manager to drive the mobile plan forwards internally. Thirdly, explore potential partnerships with external mobile marketing talent in the form of specialist agencies that can work with your new internal mobile hire. A great advantage of finding the right mobile consulting partner is that one can save on internal salaries by hiring the mid-level person referred to above, over a C-level appointment. Finally, as we’ve said before, put your mobile marketing plan for the year down on paper and commit to some real, specific and measurable goals. Included in these goals should be specific commitments to plans involving proven bearers like SMS and Please Call Me.

The TV is just background noise in 2019, mobile’s where we want to be

It’s 2019 and mobile’s still the one to watch. More than 20 years after the launch of the game-changing, digital Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) in South Africa mobile technology continues to change the way we live, work and interact. Forget any other type of product or service research by consumers. Mobile has become the go-to channel for tech-savvy consumers to search, explore, discover and research so many different brand offerings. Most consumers today spend more time on their mobile devices than they do actively watching TV. The television screen is secondary to the small screen and the former is now just background noise. Mobile has totally disrupted the local and overseas marketing landscape. This year, we are continuing to see the emergence of mobile marketing developments that need watching. Without keeping one’s eye on the mobile horizon, it’s impossible for brands to successfully adapt and stay ahead of the game. So, what are the top three mobile-related trends that South African chief marketing officers (CMOs) need to keep a beady eye on in 2019? With smart voice assistants like Siri continued to be on the rise, voice-based web searches are on the up and up too. As voice search capabilities become more sophisticated and predictive, brands must reach their target audiences with personalised and relevant content. According to Business2Community.com, the rollout of 5G will boost network speed, making it extremely important for marketers to acknowledge this development. The super-fast 5G network will present even more capabilities than 4G such as hyper-personalised content and rapid download speeds. In South Africa, we’re seeing the emergence of new, super-fast mobile networks like Rain. All of this should see the further rise of the phenomenon of ‘snacking’, especially when it comes to video content. China offers a glimpse of the future. There, the country’s over 700m mobile consumers regularly consume highly-popular 15-second video clips. Locally, we can expect huge and growing demand for the content that is going to increasingly-power African mobile video uptake. Our next CMO-relevant trend is to do with Augmented Reality (AR). Innovative marketing is all about creating relevant, unforgettable customer experiences. AR gives brands the opportunity to do just that by delivering a consumer experience that’s unique, exciting and unforgettable. AR can be used to bring products and services to life in environments that are familiar to consumers. With more than half of all Internet traffic worldwide being generated by mobile phones, the up-to-date CMO definitely wants to keep a handle on the above key mobile trends.

Segment, don’t batch-blast Push Notifications

To kick off our current installment of our blog, we’d like to firstly remind readers that it’s the 10th anniversary edition of Mobile Marketing Magazine’s ‘Effective Mobile Marketing Awards’ and African brands, agencies and others are free to enter. In fact, last year, there were more than 160 entries from some 20 countries worldwide. Check out mobilemarketingmagazine.com for more information on one of the globe’s most inclusive (and longest-running) awards that celebrate the very best of our discipline. Awards like these are good news for the industry both in Africa and abroad as they can be incredibly motivating, especially for young mobile marketers seeking recognition and reinforcement. Next, let’s focus some attention now on an especially interesting stat from eMarketer that says mobile is going to account for one-third of global ad spend this year. What’s very interesting is that most of this spend is going to apps. Creating a winning mobile app marketing strategy in 2019 is not as complicated as many of us think. Firstly, retention is king when it comes to mobile app marketing. User acquisition is still very important but targeted mobile campaigns that ensure they attract the right users to your app will see better retention in the long run – and retention means user engagement, the holy grail of mobile marketing. Mobile app marketers need to invest in building personalised push notifications for their apps. This is certainly worth the effort as engagement rates fly with proactive push notifications. Here we must remember that their are broadcast and segmented app push campaigns. Our message today is do not simply rely on broadcast push notifications that are sent out by the app to a whole massive, unsegmented user base. Personalisation is key in mobile, and segmented app pushes are the way to go. User open rates for segmented pushes near the 9% mark! Finally, app abandonment remains a challenge and this is possibly due to mobile marketers’ past strategies of ‘batch blasting’ and not segmenting enough when it came to their push notifications. Apparently, 21% of mobile users will abandon an app after only one use. So, the message is clear, segment and don’t ruin it for the rest!

Mobile Marketers & the need to power SMEs

February marks the annual budget speech and along with the usual plans aimed at boosting our stagnating economy. Finance Ministers, economists, accountants and the like, however, have the nation’s future in their hands so they have to be conservative. Or rather, they need to stick with what works. Mobile marketers too, have to implement proven strategies when it comes to brand boosting as they have their clients’ and employers’ hard-won rands and cents in their hands. If we understand that SMEs are the engine of any economy – employing upwards of 60% of all workers – then it’s clear that Minister Mboweni should be thinking about small business and its role in our economy. What can mobile marketers do to play their part to help ensure a bright future for the SMEs that are the hardworking, effective little cogs in South Africa’s horribly inefficient, bloated larger wheel? They can make a renewed push in 2019 to get out there and evangelise mobile to entrepreneurs This means getting involved, attending First Tuesday-type of events, signing up to speak at relevant conferences and exhibitions and generally putting the word out on social and in the real-world that, for SMEs, mobile is certainly worth a bash. Think about the local businesses in your area that use mobile. Some do, many don’t. That’s a shame. Mobile is the best way to build a loyalty programme that can easily be scaled up in the next phase of the small business lifecycle. What’s easier for a community-based firm than to start out collecting the cell numbers of local customers, registering a local business presence on Google, and then to start moving towards smart location-based marketing that might even use Bluetooth? However, because it’s easy to do, mobile for an SME is also easy to do wrong. So this means mobile marketers do need to get out there in the local business community and push the message that SMEs need to speak to specialist mobile partners right off the bat. These early-stage partnerships are potentially very valuable for everyone concerned.

INNOVATE IN 2019, BUT KEEP THE BASICS IN MIND

We’re set for a stellar year in South African mobile marketing. Not only is the upcoming ICASA market enquiry into mobile data set to shake things up, but increasing fibre rollout across the country means more of the WiFi that many mobile devices run on in so many homes and businesses. Also, mobile network speeds are increasing and the recent launch of data-focused Rain also signals that positive change is in the African mobile air. So what are the mobile must-haves that both executives and entrepreneurs interested in the potential of mobile simply must have in their businesses for an effective mobile marketing strategy? We’ve read a lot about mobile innovation in these pages but, for now, let’s focus on a few solid basics. First up, you’ve got to make sure your web presence reflects the fact that the lion’s share of browsing and searching now takes place on mobile devices. This means ensuring content displays well not only on different screens, and across different operating systems, but also in landscape and portrait modes. Secondly, it’s time for that dedicated mobile marketing manager within the business. Even if your firm, or your client, doesn’t quite have the resources for a top-flight mobile marketing executive, you should still try and invest in a mid-level manager to drive the mobile plan forwards internally. Thirdly, explore potential partnerships with external mobile marketing talent in the form of specialist agencies that can work with your new internal mobile hire. A great advantage of finding the right mobile consulting partner is that one can save on internal salaries by hiring the mid-level person referred to above, over a C-level appointment. Finally, as we’ve said before, put your mobile marketing plan for the year down on paper and commit to some real, specific and measurable goals. Included in these goals should be specific commitments to plans involving proven bearers like SMS and Please Call Me.