Going Mobile: The Challenges Ahead
For advertisers, infiltrating the mobile space at full force isn’t easy. Screens are smaller, content is refined and the experience is optimized for ease, speed and efficiency. In an environment where user-friendly design comes at a significant premium, advertisers are challenged to innovate before their reach is compromised.
At Media Next 2014, Jeff Barish, Head of Digital Sales and Strategy at Glamour/Condé Nast, Jeff Burkett, Senior Director for Sales Operations and Product Strategy at Washington Post, and Philippe Guelton, CEO at SheKnows, discussed emerging formats, platforms and engagement in the mobile space.
According to all three, trends and statistics continue to show that mobile traffic is growing. What seems to intrigue everyone the most is that the growth is seen in areas where traditional desktop traffic has suffered. The mobile device is a complement to the desktop versus a competitor — allowing access to news and information on the go at times and in locations where it has been historically inaccessible.
While responsive design, mobile-optimized sites and the “mobile-first” movement have helped websites to achieve higher ad engagement, increased page views and higher numbers of return visits, the rise of wearable devices and push for native placements has created even greater challenges. Philippe also pointed out multiple times that the lack of cookies on mobile platforms makes dynamic targeting more difficult than traditional desktop methods. However, with mobile ad spending expected to rise to $42 billion by 2018, publishers and advertisers must adapt to the evolving medium.
The panel emphasized that mobile simply “isn’t mature yet” and lacks standardization throughout the industry. While trackability and latency remain top issues, additional features such as localization, geofencing and experience-friendly video support are quickly growing in demand even though reliable and effective solutions aren’t readily available to support their style of publishing.
Philippe mentioned that his own team’s solution to the challenges has been to embrace app-like design and responsive features within their sites. For them, the site design is “a balance for creative, performance and experience.” As is already seen in desktop sites, especially with the rise of native placements, it wouldn’t be shocking to see advertisers begin to masquerade as content providers — injecting ads as content into areas of the site that are already optimized to perform well at a smaller scale.