Mobile Marketing – Where it’s Been, Where it’s Heading

Mobile marketing was a blunt instrument. Smartphones, of course, changed all of that and for savvy brands the rewards are plentiful. Mary Miller, VP of Marketing, at Kochava, argues that all advertising channels can be tied back to mobile and as such, it is now the hub of omni-channel marketing. Here Mary plots this genesis as the mobile marketing ecosystem transitions to privacy-first.


When smartphones were introduced in 2010, they revolutionized digital advertising. Here was a handheld computer capable of providing constant communication to and from consumers. From that capability, mobile marketing exploded exponentially.

Since then, mobile has largely been its own channel with numerous marketing options on mobile web, in-app, text, etc. Marketers can pick and choose how to reach their audience.

But every ecosystem evolves, and in mobile’s case, it has evolved at an exceptional speed with tremendous capabilities. With the advent of the pandemic and most of our waking hours for school or work online, mobile has gone from convenience to necessity as consumers flocked to it for communication, shopping, and entertainment.

No matter the channel, be it television ads or billboards, you’re always trying to get consumers to engage with your brand on mobile—the one device they are never without.

There’s a second screen phenomenon with mobile where consumers are using the phone to delve deeper about a topic, product, or service while watching linear TV. This is an ideal scenario because mobile is where you’re ultimately trying to reach consumers. No matter the channel, be it television ads or billboards, you’re always trying to get consumers to engage with your brand on mobile—the one device they are never without.

What is ideal about mobile is that all advertising channels can be tied back to it and thus, is now the hub of omni-channel marketing. Take QR codes for example. They can be included on anything from television ads to restaurant takeout bags, and when scanned, attributed and measured to a campaign and app activity. Another example is privacy-first internal identifiers.

With these, marketers can measure ads displayed on the web and over-the-top (OTT) devices. Or measure the influence of billboards and other outdoor signage to app activity with geo-location coordinates, tying out-of-home (OOH) and digital (DOOH) advertising back to mobile as well.

All marketing comes back to user activity on mobile, so marketers should think about the end result of marketing on channels other than mobile. What kind of outcomes do they want to see? What action do they want their audience to take? Consumers will end up on their phones, so that’s what marketers should think about with respect to strategy.

 

Mobile and a first-party data world

The ecosystem is transitioning to a privacy-first system where data privacy is at the forefront. At the beginning of 2020, Google announced the deprecation of third-party cookies by the end of this year. Although there were whisperings of such a change in the name of user privacy, the
official announcement sent many adtech companies questioning the way they do business.

A few months later, Apple too made an industry-changing announcement. It is taking the data privacy of its users to another level with the AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework and requiring that app developers and marketers request consent from iOS users to provide
knowledge based on their activity for advertising purposes. For the most part, this means that marketers won’t have access to the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) for marketing.

These two announcements have caused a sea change in the ecosystem, and many adtech companies are still unsure as to how their business models will be affected once they lose access to the IDFA and cookies—let alone the changes businesses have sustained during the pandemic. There’s no question that these developments are impacting the way brands measure to understand user behavior, leading them to work with different platforms to determine their return on advertising spend (ROAS).

…many adtech companies are still unsure as to how their business models will be affected once they lose access to the IDFA and cookie…

As mobile advertising has evolved, however, so has its measurement capabilities. Back in 2010, there were no solutions to measure and obtain analytics behind the curtain of mobile ad campaigns, so you saw mobile measurement providers (MMP) like Kochava emerge.

But MMPs have each evolved differently. We’ve built out our platform to accommodate measurement of the various marketing modes (SMS, push notifications, deep links, QR codes, etc.), included consent management when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced, developed a privacy-first data set, and now support measurement for Apple’s SKAdNetwork for both advertisers and ad networks, demand-side publishers (DSPs), and publishers.

Apple’s change is huge, and in response, we’ve developed a thorough support system with four types of conversion models to help measure performance of iOS ad campaigns processed by the SKAdNetwork.

Beyond mobile

As an industry, digital marketing is moving toward a privacy-first ecosystem where user data privacy is protected and businesses can securely transact and thrive. Because of consumer reliance on it, mobile has evolved as the hub of omni-channel marketing since touchpoints from
any channel can be tied back to it.

With that in mind, we’re heading toward a future where brands can more effectively and securely communicate with their customers across all channels, creating an experience that is beneficial to both. While it seems complicated to some, at Kochava, we are streamlining the ability for brands to continue to reach their customers with effective campaigns and measurable results.


Mary Miller, VP of Marketing, Kochava