Mobile ads to remain good complement

Summary:Emerging advertising platform a good partner to traditional channels, say industry experts, who believe brands and marketers can leverage mobility to create more engaging campaigns.

Mobile advertising will be an integral part of a company's overall marketing strategy but will not replace traditional platforms, even as it gains exponential growth and popularity, say industry players.

"It is not the goal of mobile marketers to replace other mediums," Atul Satija, vice president of InMobi for APAC, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail interview. "In most regions, mobile advertising is more likely to complement traditional advertising media, rather than replace it."

Lower smartphone costs, alongside cheaper broadband and 3G services, are giving mobile advertisers and marketers opportunities to offer consumers "a richer media experience", Satija explained.

"The convenience of mobile integrated into a completely immersive campaign makes the medium that much more exciting to the consumer," he shared, adding that such ads can be an extension of the visual and emotional aspects of traditional media such as television advertisements.

He stressed that mobile is a channel, not a strategy, and advertisers need to ensure communication is "full 360 and covers all mediums".

Anne Meilhac, mobile marketing director at Gemalto, concurred.

"It may be the case for a few notably fetching geo-located good deals, such as music or shopping, and recommendations from friends," she noted. "However, mobile is cheap, and the mobile phone screen is much smaller comparative to other devices."

"I see mobile as the indispensable complement to the print, radio and Web, rather than the main [advertising] platform," Meilhac added.

Jason Chiu, CEO of Hong Kong-based mobile advertising firm, Cherrypicks, agreed: "There are a few tools depending on the objectives of the brands and marketing needs. There is no single direct response for each objective."

Chiu suggested that apps and the mobile Web, with the emergence of HTML5, could make excellent branding and engagement tools.

However, Satija noted that it is "a very real possibility" that mobile advertising will eventually replace others, where some industries may make this their primary platform to reach consumers.

"Marketers realize that a mobile device is probably the most personal gadget that a user owns and that reflects one's personality," he explained. "Hence, being associated with mobile makes their users connect with the brand."

FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) brands such as Nike, Cadbury's and Dove, magazines, banks, restaurants and TV channels have all engaged mobile advertising to build a stronger presence in this new space, he shared.

Meilhac added that these are brands that need to capture people's attention whenever consumers are "killing time" or searching for help, be it travel assistance or the increasingly popular dining and shopping deals.

Satija noted that a study showed mobile advertising can influence mobile shoppers when they make purchases including entertainment tickets, consumer electronics, apparel, travel and digital content. He added that it also highlighted that some 63 percent of in-store shoppers would use their mobile device to find out more about a product or an advertisement they saw or heard offline in a store, while 45 percent agreed this form of advertising was "great" for content delivery.

While prospects for mobile advertising seem rosy, Satija acknowledged that the market still lacks measurement on success and effectiveness. He also noted the absence of 3G networks in some developing countries, hindering the growth of mobile advertisement.

Meilhac described the industry as "rather nascent, with main challenges being interoperability, measurement and trust".

She said mobile operators have a "key role" in enabling mobile advertising to overcome these barriers, adding that most of the large players in this part of the world are "finally embracing this role".

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