TopRank Online Marketing
Miranda Miller

Mobile Marketing Tips from Google, ESPN & Medialets: Connect with Your Audience on the Go

By Miranda Miller     Mobile, Online Marketing, Search Engine Strategies

SES New York Mobile MarketingThe afternoon of Day One at SES New York featured a high-level mobile marketing panel  hosted byDana Todd, SVP of Global Marketing at Performics.  Michael Bayle, Senior VP and General Manager at ESPN Mobile, Eric Litman, Chairman & CEO at Medialets and Brendon Kraham, Head of Global Mobile Sales and Product Strategy at Google shared the stage and their extensive knowledge on the current and coming states of mobile marketing.

The following is a collection of mobile marketing tips and takeaways based on today’s presentation, plus liveblog selection from the panel. Note that this is not a verbatim transcript, but the highlights from the panel discussion.

Mobile Marketing Tips & Takeaways from Google, ESPN & Medialets:

  • The opportunities in mobile are huge and the future is exciting, but marketers need to get their basics down first. We have a long way to go to get compliant with today’s standards before worrying about what’s on the horizon.
  • Responsive design and mobile apps are both necessary, serve different functions, and are not interchangeable or competitive.
  • Think through what it is the consumer wants to do on the device and ensure your content and systems support your efforts in providing that.
  • Don’t get wrapped up in being a mobile company; think from the perspective of a mobile consumer.
  • Marketers need to come together and establish a standard set of metrics and a taxonomy if we’re to move forward with more accurate measurement.
  • Consider cross-device tracking and sequential usage; focus on ways to more accurately measure the effects of each.
  • Engagement can be an incredibly important metric; learn how to measure its effect and capitalize on your real-time audience.

Connecting with Your Mobile Audience: Highlights

Dana Todd: What is the biggest challenge in mobile and what is the greatest opportunity?

Brendon Kraham: ESPN reaches close to 60 million unique users monthly, 35 million of those on mobile. 20 million access them exclusively on mobile. They see the opportunity for partners who have succeeded on broadcast and print to succeed in mobile and digital, as well. Challenges are, the way that we measure, though that’s not anything we can’t overcome eventually.

Michael Bayle: Marketers that dive in, do it early, test and develop a strategy are going to win. We see this time and again; those who embrace the opportunity have a chance to get in early and build brands for themselves. There is an opportunity for brand preference to change through the experience in mobile.

Dana Todd: What are the challenges and opportunities for early adopters?

Eric Litman: There are audience goals that need to be obtained across a number of channels, and the number of those channels is ever increasing. People are putting more and more time into consuming and even creating media via mobile as their attention spans grow shorter and shorter. The lack of components for global organizations go across the entire organization: ensuring consistency across the organization, proper budget allotment, etc. You have these thoughtful marketers who are trying to close the gaps who are up against technology that might not be ready for the space and time, or other organizational challenges.

Dana Todd: We know people are using multiple screens, but we don’t know quite how they’re using them yet. Can you describe some best practices on the technical challenges in measurement?

Brendon Kraham: One example is in search; when you’re looking to use a marketing campaign to effectively distribute a download, for example, you can measure that investment to see whether it was actually effective or not. In video, the display doesn’t really look all that much different on different devices. Where you do see the differences are in interactivity. It might not make sense to drive people to mobile if you’re actually getting interactions in the ad itself.

Eric Litman: Reach and frequency are the fundamentals, yet they’re really not well done yet. People are measuring all these different things and what you end up with are these frustrated teams who want to do more, but are challenged constantly. Smart marketers need to push through this and overcome the measurement challenges. Audiences are moving to mobile faster than brands are able to fulfill their reach statistics on the platforms.

Brendon Kraham: We generally see three types of concerns over mobile.

  1. Upper funnel brand stuff – building interactive formats.
  2. Application download – it’s very direct response perspective and is unique to mobile, thanks to the prevalence of app downloads.
  3. The attribution model for mobile is unique and different. We can convert in different fashions. Marketers are looking at, how many conversions happen on the device itself? Yet with mobile, we have to think of the different paths to purchase.

Do you track and measure the effect across these different paths? We have to consider cross-device tracking and sequential usage – where someone starts a transaction on one device and completes it on another. You also have transactions in physical stores that were influenced by mobile and some way. HowToGoMo/fullvaluemobile is a new Google initiative to help marketers make more informed marketing decisions.

Dana Todd: In television, we’re okay with reach and frequency as metrics. Why are we all so uncomfortable in digital with a pretty good approximator that we model on?

Eric Litman: There’s a tremendous amount more data available about people now. Think of how many cameras you passed on the way to work or here today. Think of your social activity, your credit card transactions.

Dana Todd: How are media buyers approaching the media space?

Michael Bayle: On weekends, during NFL, we might see upwards of 350,000 fans engaged at any given minute. Let’s think about it: we don’t even carry those games. Social media has made this engaged audience metric so compelling, because you can’t go watch a sports game anymore at a later time without already knowing the score. Those people who are tuned in, in real-time, are incredibly important.

Dana Todd: How are companies thinking through convergence events such as live events, or in-store purchases? How are people planning for that as a crossover pathway?

Michael Bayle: Mobile commerce emulates digital commerce; 10% of e-commerce transactions now happen on a mobile phone. Then you have the secondary issue of mobile payments. These are opportunities to remove friction in transactions, but what’s interesting is the ability to bridge the gap between the online world and the real world. The days of actually buying that magazine or tictacs at the checkout counter are long gone. Mobile commerce is the number one area of exploitation in mobile.

Dana Todd: Google has made huge investments in Android and other areas; how is Google thinking of mobile and the connected experience?

Brendon Kraham: Consumers are on four screens; the simplest version of that is making sure the experience flows across the four screens. Responsive design is your absolute basic, low-hanging fruit; you need to make sure your audience can see your content, that it renders for their device. Marketers need to be present in front of the devices of their audience and the system should work more seamlessly to ensure the flow of that interaction and experience. Understand the behavior that is happening, comes to terms with it, and plan around it. Build a strategy around the behaviors we all exhibit using connected devices.

Dana Todd: Eric, talk to us about frictionless buying.

Eric Litman: It’s a huge opportunity for marketers to get right in terms of complexity. Marketers need to figure out how to allocate budget between those different screens and channels and it’s incredibly complex. We’re not that far from a world where companies like Google and others start to think of data from different channels as an output rather than an input. We’re getting closer to more responsive ads. Yet we can’t even agree in digital right now what an impression is, so as excited as I get about building the technology to do this stuff, it’s going to take a while for the market to get there. If you have a really smart, forward-thinking media team, they should absolutely lead this process. Or maybe it’s your creative team, go with whoever can get the job done.

Dana Todd: Mobile is unique; it’s where search was 15 years old. It’s completely different and requires a very specific technical set.

Michael Bayle: Agencies and companies just don’t have the talent yet. You have a double-edged sword; we have search specialists, mobile specialists – they know the topic from a technical standpoint and need to work with others to achieve what we need to do.

Dana Todd: Is there going to be something beyond HTML5? Are apps dying? Do we still continue to approach an apps strategy as well as responsive design for mobile?

Michael Bayle: At ESPN, we’re 50% audience each on mobile web and apps. You’re never going to have convergence between apps and mobile web, so you build both. Look at the Starbucks app, where they’re actually pulling out their app to pay, rather than using a credit card or cash. Apps can do more than mobile web can; you almost have to invest in an app, like you had to invest in a website 10 years ago.

Tune in to Online Marketing Blog and follow TopRank on Twitter for more tips, tricks and advice from SES New York 2013. Share your mobile marketing questions or comments below!


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