Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Mobile Apps Potential for Creative Content Marketing


I've been thinking about the numerous ways that marketers are connecting with their customers and prospects via mobile devices -- smartphones and media tablets. Mobile apps that utilize a digital magazine (or eZine) format are particularly interesting, because they offer the potential to enable new forms of multimedia publishing.

Granted, substantive editorial content development is very labor intensive, but I believe that it's more likely to engage a marketer's target stakeholders than the typical mobile advertising campaign.

eMarketer reports that U.S. mobile advertising spending will grow 47 percent in 2012 -- reaching $1.8 billion. Search and display -- banners, rich media and video content -- are emerging as the dominant mobile ad formats.

“Mobile advertising is no longer a question of if - it's about when,” said Noah Elkin, principal analyst at eMarketer. “A key factor pushing mobile advertising toward the mainstream is that mobile web access is fast becoming more the norm than the exception. This makes mobile a greater imperative than ever for marketers.”

Pointing to the continued growth of smartphone adoption and rising media tablet acquisition among U.S. consumers, the latest eMarketer advertising forecast has moved upward. Relative to the September 2010 forecast, mobile ad spending projections for 2011 through 2014 have been revised by 11% to 33% per year.

International markets are experiencing similar momentum, driven by trends in device and mobile web adoption.

According to the eMarketer assessment, all mobile ad formats will see sizeable spending increases through 2015. Moreover, mobile display ad spending will overtake messaging to become the largest overall format in 2012. Within the display category, rich media and video are growing the fastest.

Marketers are approaching mobile from a perspective of both less and more: less experimentation and more commitment, fewer test budgets and more real investment, fewer one-off campaigns and more repeat buys.

Mobile will continue to emerge as less of an afterthought and more of a permanent fixture in digital marketing strategies, according to the eMarketer report.

“Consumers increasingly expect to communicate, network, browse and shop from a range of devices, and the growing sophistication of smart devices will only accelerate this trend,” said Elkin. “But whether consumers access the web from a PC or a mobile device will ultimately take a back seat to marketers’ ability to build campaigns that reach across channels and devices and focus on targeting specific actions.”

That being said, while I believe that mobile device adoption -- and their greatly improved display capabilities -- has increased the potential use and application by marketers, few early-adopters will pursue the path of creative content marketing.

Mobile advertising is the low-hanging fruit -- it's the path of least resistance. However, the savvy marketer that will invest the time and effort to develop a comprehensive mobile commerce strategy will reap the greatest rewards.

If you truly want to differentiate your brand via mobile engagement, then start with a distinctive approach to the opportunity. Consider mobile apps as a creative content marketing vehicle.