15 Years of Mobile Marketing, And What Have We Learned? | DMA

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15 Years of Mobile Marketing, And What Have We Learned?


There’s an interesting piece in yesterday’s Guardian, called ‘Is mobile marketing destined to be deleted?’. It looks at SMS marketing. Yes, SMS. Apparently, it’s still a thing. I was interviewed for the piece and the experience felt like stepping back to an earlier era of marketing.

The author wrote, ‘If your number gets onto an advertiser’s list, you are on the receiving end of a relentless stream of calls and texts’. It highlights a couple of key challenges for marketers. Firstly, consumers don’t differentiate between rogues and legitimate companies. An unwanted message is still spam whether it’s an unsolicited PPI text or an unexpected message from a brand that they previously dealt with. Secondly, unlike marketers, users do not appear to separate channels. Whether it’s SMS, calls or an annoying banner ad on a phone, it all gets lumped into one category – spam.

There is a user shift into to new channels, such as IP messaging (What’sAPP, iMessage or Snapchat) and brands are dipping their toes in the water, from app notifications to fancy new ad formats. In spite of these changes, for consumers, mobile will remain personal and poorly thought out marketing will be rejected by them.

One example of the consumer aversion to brands is the rise of the adblockers. Back in June, an IAB survey found that 15% of UK users had installed plugins to prevent ads, 20% of them on mobile devices. With the option of ad blocking in iOS9, the industry is understandably concerned of a significant impact from widespread user installation.

Although banner ads are not one to one marketing like SMS, it is yet another demonstration that users often see brands as intrusive in mobile. Clearly not all such marketing is poor, far from it. The DMA Awards demonstrate that there is some excellent work out there, however there is an issue of perception. For me, it is important that brands understand the particular challenges with mobile and aim for best practice, clearly differentiating themselves from the rogues. It may seem obvious, but it is something that needs to be continually reiterated. After 15 years of mobile marketing we’ve gained a lot of knowledge, but sometimes it feels as if brands still have much to learn.

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