Traveling across the country to see a niche conference in a nascent industry was nothing less than a thrill ride. Why wait 6 months for it to come to the West coast? We’re not talking internet years here, with mobile it’s internet hours.
The mobile MOJO seems unstoppable, yet challenges are real. The industry is making it up as it goes, which for me is the heart of the attraction. A new medium with a serious growth curve. How serious? Just take a gander of some of the professional titles these major companies are serving up; Kraft food (Director of Innovation). Omnicom (VP emerging trends), MTV (Principal Practical Futures). Cool huh? How can I get one of them on my business card? What the heck, Jon Lisbin – Future Strategist J Ya, this could be fun.
The opportunity – Smart phone adoption is currently 21%. In 18 months it’s predicted to grow to 50%. The opportunity for mass marketers is nothing less than “epic.”
The challenges – What are the metrics? “Dwell time”, “engagement”, “app retention rate”. Wait, can you believe “Click Through Rate” and “Impressions”. Hmmm, not sure if that’s going to fly with our direct marketing clients. With limited cookie tracking, this is not going to be a walk in the park. Additionally, these phones, though powerful computers, simply are not desktops and fragmentation is the word of the day. iPhones, Blackberry’s, Androids, a variety of screen sizes; oh my. Who do I build an app for? How do I get that app promoted with millions to compete with and growth only going into the billions. Uh, better hire a professional or maybe a “Future Strategist” J
What also struck me from this conference was the almost universal focus on app advertising as opposed to the mobile search marketing, despite the fact that the number one activity on the mobile web is search? After listening to our Google rep for a month or two, I was a little shocked that the industry conference offered nary a mention of mobile search. It was mentioned that a well known Chief Executive in Cupertino doesn’t believe in the mobile web as an advertising platform. Obviously, the major players in this battle for advertisers see things from their perspective. The fact is, apps became popular because the user experience on the mobile was so poor. As that experience improves, will the app be run out of town?
Some practical advice from conference speakers:
- For every $1 dollar spent on an app, spend $2 dollars on marketing it.
- Build your APP for one phone and refine it before rolling it out to others. Listen to the feedback of the users.
- Depending on a multitude of factors, you may be better off advertising on popular apps than building one yourself.
- As a marketer, try borrowing from the branding budget, which isn’t held to the same fire as DM.
- Be ready to evolve. Explore HTML 5.
- Utility is king with APPS, branding is secondary.
- Applications offer greater niche targeting. The mobile web offers cross platform and greatest reach.
- The phone is an intimate and personal advice. Advertisers need to factor that in or risk alienating their audience.
So, in retrospect; this is the new benchmark for mobile conferences. I couldn’t help wonder how this conference looked 3 years ago and how it will look 3 years from now. Will it grow to the size of an SMX or Search Engine Strategies, with thousands of attendees drinking it all in. Where is that crystal ball?