Mobile technology has taken the world by storm, and eMarketer predicts that by 2017, almost 70% of the global population will own a mobile phone. In the UK, two-thirds of the population owns a smartphone. Consumers are also rapidly embracing tablet technology: In the UK, ownership grew by 63% (from 11.0 million to 17.9 million) between February 2013 and February 2014.

It stands to reason that advertisers’ budgets should follow consumers’ eyeballs, and in many ways this is true for mobile advertising. Mobile adspend in the UK reached the £1 billion milestone in 2013. Most of the digital adspend went to search (57 percent) followed by display (42 percent). In 2013, mobile adspend grew by 346 percent, while standard display adspend increased by 171 percent. Almost two-thirds of the standard display adspend is for in-app inventory; 40 percent is for browser inventory.

For many advertisers, mobile marketing has presented more questions than answers. What is the right mobile strategy? What role should apps play versus the web? Should I allocate budget from elsewhere or grow my overall spend? These are just three common mobile marketing dilemmas. A recent report from eConsultancy looked at how 1,000 global enterprises are remaking themselves to deal with the modern, always-on, mobile shopper. It explores the challenges that large companies face in being responsive, efficient and innovative. It asks how and why some businesses excel and others lag behind.

Many marketing organisations are struggling to rebuild themselves from the inside out. A few years ago, media teams were often distinctly separate, perhaps coming together only for a quarterly review. Occasionally, you would find one person within an organisation dedicated to technology, but more often a media planner would be tagged as the “technology champion” and tasked with learning about technology alongside his or her day job. However, things are changing: 55% of mainstream companies say that they have already created some fluidity in roles and lowered silo walls to a significant extent. There are many factors that can help organisations transform themselves from followers or mainstream adopters to leaders.

Technology can provide a competitive advantage

Over the past 10 years, the advertising industry has seen the introduction of ad servers, tag management systems, marketing attribution software, automated creative optimisation, real-time bid optimisation technology, ad exchanges, SSPs, DSPs, and many more systems and solutions. Unsurprisingly, many organisations have found it difficult to accurately value and implement the emerging technologies of marketing. However, those organisations that are leading the pack are benefiting from more organised, meaningful data and streamlined workflows and processes.

The majority (39%) of leading organisations report that their digital marketing technologies empower everything they do, whereas the majority of mainstream and following companies report that their digital marketing technologies empower many activities but are sometimes an impediment.


We know from a study by IBM Institute for Business Value that the most important measure to gauge marketing success for CMOs is return on investment (ROI). It is the responsibility of those in leadership positions to ensure that this goal is communicated to marketers responsible for the implementation of campaigns and technology and that the marketers are in turn empowered with the ability to select vendors and partners who are best placed to facilitate ROI.

Customer focus and innovation

There is a marketing saying doing the rounds at the moment that is in danger of being overused and misinterpreted: “Mobile first.” While it is true that brands need to push themselves to embrace mobile technology and that often what works on a PC does not provide a good user experience on a mobile device, building a strategy for mobile and putting everything else second is not going to provide the optimal user experience, either. Consumers, as we know, are embracing mobile technology at a sprint; however, they are not abandoning desktops altogether, and they expect a unified experience across all devices, be they mobile or desktop.

Perhaps a more suitable approach is to think “multichannel.” This forces brands to consider all consumer touch points. One particularly good example that comes to mind is British Airways Holidays. British Airways has phenomenal brand recognition as an airline, but as a holiday provider, it is less well known. Consumers typically turn to well-known travel agencies and online comparison sites when researching and booking a holiday, thus British Airways needed a way to break into this market, capitalising on its brand recognition but not compromising its brand values.

British Airways Holidays has invested in TV advertising. The ads are true to the brand and effectively inform the consumer that British Airways now offers holidays. A strong mobile SEO strategy ensures that mobile web search results for “British Airways Holidays” are dominated by the brand. The top SEO link takes the user to the Holiday Finder, where customers can select pictures that illustrate their ideal holiday. A clever algorithm transforms users’ picture selections into holiday recommendations. The whole user experience on a mobile device is far better than using the standard desktop Holiday Finder on a mobile device.

Furthermore, British Airways encourages users to continue to interact with the brand on their mobile devices all the way through their travel experience with mobile boarding passes. Done correctly, this will facilitate powerful brand/device loyalty and ultimately customer retention.

It is clear to any marketer that mobile devices present a massive opportunity. According to Cisco, there will be 50 billion connected devices globally by 2020. This figure represents not only smartphones and tablets but also any device that connects to the Internet, such as cars, TVs, heating systems, wireless headphones, interactive screens in high street shops and even robots! Each of these devices, and the many more that are sure to be invented in the future, represents an advertising opportunity, and those who are getting mobile advertising right will be at an advantage compared to those who are in the follower group. It really is time to sit up and make sure you’re getting mobile marketing right.