By Darren GilbertFigures
from Nielsen back that up. Between 2000 and 2010, mobile phone use among adults rose from 17% to 76%. As of September last year, more South Africans were using mobile than radio or TV, making it a no-brainer for brands to use.
Bishop further confirms this by adding that there is no business that can’t benefit from advertising through the medium. As he says, “Mobile allows brands to take a complete new angle. Different from TV, print or any other channel, you are able to make the user part of your brand.” In short, it is unlike any other medium. However, for everything right about this channel, there is still a problem. If you think it’s an issue with the medium, you’d be wrong. It is rather an issue with how brands and advertisers go about using it.
“There has been this mass rush to get onto mobile,” admits Bishop, and from a certain point of view it’s quite understandable. Advertisers, marketers and indeed brands are on a constant lookout for how to best approach the consumer. And where else can you get closer to them than on their personal cellphone? However, in this rush to take advantage of the medium, little thought has gone into what to do once a brand is on it. This means that the mobile ad space has become a medium cluttered with irrelevant and irritating advertising that doesn’t achieve what it is meant to.
Bishop believes he understands why: “The problem we have with mobile at the moment is that mobile buying has been taken over by traditional online agencies. These agencies try to use the same logic [used for online] when working in mobile. You can’t do that. The way that you interact with brands and their services on mobile is different to the way you interact with your traditional web.” Bishops also points out that since brands are pressuring their agencies to get them onto the medium, many are simply adding ‘mobile’ to their list of services, when in truth they shouldn’t be.
This, in turn, leads to a couple of losers which eventually has a knock-on effect to your consumer. When it comes to mobile, it’s rather about playing in the right place and with purpose rather than just being seen on the medium. That should perhaps be seen as a truism for any medium on which you advertise. In choosing an agency without the knowledge of how to best use the mobile channel, firstly the brand suffers through unsatisfying ROI and then secondly, a great opportunity is lost. As Bishop says, the potential of mobile is almost endless. There are around 20 different angles that one can choose from, including USSD, SMS and light mobi sites to heavy mobi sites and Apps.
So how do you ensure you don’t further clutter the mobile ad space? Bishop puts it simply: “You have to go fish where the fish are; find the space that your consumers inhabit.” Unfortunately, there isn’t much understanding as to where these fish are at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be figured out. In a TotallyMAd
editorial desk article last year on mobile, I spoke about the idea that when it comes to mobile
, context is king. In that piece, Cerebra Communication digital strategist Heike Meyburgh spoke about the need to take the context of your user into consideration whenever approaching mobile. That hasn’t changed. It’s a point that Bishop doesn’t hesitate to reiterate either.
“On mobile, campaigns and creative need to be constructed with context in mind. As I said before, mobile and online are completely different.” But it’s not just from a context point of view; there is a technical one as well. “Straightaway, on mobile, you have to think about whether your end-user has a smart phone or a feature phone. Then it’s about whether that person has a touch phone [which needs to be spaced out to allow for better navigation] or a BlackBerry with its tiny screen and touchpad, for example.” In short, it’s not about catering for what the brand wants but rather about catering for what your consumer needs.
That means that an App might not be the best thing for your brand. In fact, USSD – technology used to send information (usually text menus) between a mobile phone and an application on the network – might be the best thing. That might be hard to swallow, and especially so if you have your heart set on creating an App. But if you don’t need it, don’t do it – the mobile ad space is already cluttered as it is.