On hold: mobile advertising in MENA

These were some of the thoughts that came out of the agencies’ feedback on what our mobile story should be on:

  • Location Data
  • Shifting focus from desktop to mobile
  • Cross-device attribution
  • Mobile Social
  • Mobile thinking and mobile creatives
  • Spending on mobile
  • Ad-blocking
  • Instant apps and progressive web apps
  • Attribution – transparency and measurement

Clearly, they couldn’t agree on one thing so we decided to let them talk about whatever they wanted to talk about. Over to the experts…

Puja Pannum, managing director MENA, Blis

What are the opportunities/technologies that you’re excited about in mobile advertising?

2016 was a really exciting year, when we saw AR, gamification and mobile location come together seamlessly with Pokémon Go, which brought this technology to a broader audience. In Tokyo, a campaign has been launched, integrating VR and location, using virtual penguins to direct potential customers coming out of a subway to the local aquarium. Being in Dubai, the hub of innovation across the region, I believe we will start to see significant investment in this area from a cross section of sectors.

I’m also seeing an increased demand for location targeting – the core of our technology – from brands in the region who want to engage with their consumers at the right time, with the right creative; whether it’s in a retail outlet or in homes. Location-based adverting (LBA) on mobile is providing brands with highly precise targeting capabilities, bringing the consumer closer to the point of purchase. Using accurate location data has enabled brands to target audiences with the most relevant, timely and engaging mobile creative to consumers at key moments…fulfilling the holy grail of marketing.

What’s the one (or more) thing(s) everyone should stop talking about with regard to mobile advertising?

Transparency! Every marketer is eligible to full transparency of the spectrum of services and products from an ad tech vendor – that’s a given.

Mind and money: is mobile at the center of the strategy or is it an afterthought? How are budgets reflecting this thinking (or lack of it)?

In a digital advertising market valued at more than $1 billion, there is a significant gap between the percentage contribution of mobile investments versus platform usage – especially given that the latest number of smartphone devices in the region will hit 133 million in 2017 and the average usage is between two to three hours daily.

Where’s the biggest education gap – if there is one – for clients/agencies/publishers?

Mobile advertising is very much misunderstood. There is so much more to mobile that just a “banner ad” or “SMS push notification”.

There is the technology, which powers precision targeting; best creative formats to use based on which connections (3G/4G/WiFi); or how programmatic mobile advertising works, and so on. These are just a few of many knowledge gaps about mobile advertising. By providing on-site training programs, roadshows and sharing white papers on the mobile landscape, mobile ad tech vendors can minimize the education gap and enhance mobile marketing investments in the region.

What’s the best and worst ‘mobile’ campaign you’ve seen and why?

Best: Canon ran a great mobile campaign in the UK, using a number of locations and dynamic creatives to send highly targeted video ads to audiences in real time relying on enhanced audience data. The campaign targeted millennials with an interest in photography across affluent and artistic locations and targeted them at the moment they are most likely to engage (at home connected to Wi-Fi).

Worst: There was recently a campaign for a UK retail clothing brand, which was targeting females to purchase in-store during the holiday season. The campaign did not consider the location of the nearest store (it was 30 miles away) and the weather (it had been raining for almost a week). The brand ran a “blanket campaign” without any consideration of location and relevancy to the consumer.

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