This is a thought piece that I wrote for the recent IAB Engage for Mobile event.
Wake up and smell the coffee.
To demonstrate how I believe mobile advertising can really benefit marketers, I have used the Starbucks brand as an example. This open pitch is to any coffee company to be honest, but partly for clarity’s sake and mostly because their name reminds me of the central character in one of my favourite childhood TV programmes, I am going to choose Starbucks.
So why use mobile advertising for Starbucks?
Firstly, because the enormous morning commute that descends upon London every week day is the holy grail as far as Starbucks are concerned; and mobile will allow Starbucks to reach these people in a cost effective, targeted manner at the exact time that they are about to make a coffee purchase. No other medium is able to reach a huge number of engaged coffee drinkers as close to the purchasing decision as mobile can. Outdoor may have more people walk past it, but I would argue that consumers are paying far more attention to their mobile screen while they are accessing the mobile internet than they are on outdoor advertising while walking their daily route. That said, I have a great case study for a deal that combined mobile and outdoor, but that’s another story.
On Telegraph Mobile we see a massive spike in traffic between the hours of 6am and 9am, and then as that mobile spike falls away after 9am, it is replaced with a new spike on the fixed internet site, Telegraph.co.uk. So it would seem that people are surfing the mobile internet on their way to the office, and then switching to the fixed internet. For Starbucks, the fixed internet would be like shutting the door after the horse has bolted, so mobile really comes into its own.
For me, my coffee loyalty is only dictated by what I did or experienced recently. For a brand such as Starbucks, if you jolt me from my automated purchase decision each morning there is every chance that you could become my new habit, and my coffee habit is currently costing me about £15 a week!
Offer based advertising to the right people (commuters) at the right time (in the morning rush-hour) in the right place (London, because of scale of audience and the concentration of Starbucks outlets) with the right message (Break your daily routine, and visit Starbucks today and we’ll give you x, y or z)
So if you take the possibilities that this highly targeted, and relevant message can offer you as a marketer today, and then multiply it by the huge audience that I believe the mobile internet will have in a few years time, it’s not hard to understand the potential.
In fact, at some point within my lifetime, I fully expect mobile to be the biggest medium in terms of audience. This journey has already started, and I believe it will be driven by faster networks, a higher penetration of smart phones and more and more content being optimised for mobile consumption.
It already plays a central role in consumer’s lives, and I am pretty sure it is the only advertising medium that a consumer takes to bed with them, before asking it to wake them in the morning! It is totally personal to the user, and is often personalised with private photographs, videos, ring tones, games, audio, social media apps, email, calendar etc
Once the market gets to a place where network speeds are super-fast, and handsets are all smart phones, then we will see huge numbers of people watching films and TV on their mobile. This already happens on the high end handsets, but eventually I can see a carriage full of commuters all watching long-form video content on the way to work.
The TV market is currently adapting to a world full fragmented audiences and time-shifted viewing, and I believe that mobile will change the traditional viewing habit further still. When super-fast networks combine with fantastic handsets, and the content is every bit as good as can be accessed via the fixed-internet, then you can be sure that the explosion of mobile internet access will not be far behind.