The first speaker, Adrian Lee, head of digital at Mediacom Hong Kong, urged marketers to stop treating mobile advertising like a new and esoteric art. “The year of the mobile was in 2007, it’s not ‘coming’,” he said. “So why was mobile adspend in Hong Kong only 2.4 per cent last year according to Admango?”
This, said Lee, is likely because the default mobile ad format in Hong Kong is the homepage takeover that tends to drive accidental clicks. “It gets regarded as a successful CTR campaign without understanding the quality of the click," he said. "It’s a lot easier to drive CTR with bad advertising because accidental clicks are common.”
When the metrics reward bad advertising, you have a problem. “If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face,” said Angeline Lodhia general manager of InSkin Media Asia, quoting a comic strip. “The goal should be to be interactive, not annoying because the people who tend to click through on ads are seldom the ones you actually want to reach.”
Rather than measure CTR, marketers should be using metrics that tell them how efficiently they’re reaching their audiences, how their ads are received by the audience and the effect they're having, said Pierre Yves Moulin, regional digital director for ZenithOptimedia.
Viewability in particular, he said, is a metric that must be monitored to ensure maximum impact. “Impressions don’t tell the whole story," he said. "Your ads must be seen by a customer, not just served to them.”
During her session (which followed Moulin’s), Lodhia commented that most of those present in the room have paid for impressions that have not been seen. “It breaks my heart," she said. "Regulatory bodies like the IAB are pushing for people to start questioning.”
A study by Sizmek, she continued, has proven that ads with a 70 per cent viewed threshold had significantly higher performance (of course) and ads served direct to publishers increased viewability over ads served via programmatic.
“Programmatic is a great thing, but branding campaigns may need more love than mass automation,” said Lodhia. “Be responsible to your users; serve them on a silver tray, not a plastic plate.”
Then comes the fine art of targeting, continued Moulin. “Splitting by buyers [of your brand] and non-buyers makes an impact. So optimize through channel planning based on the consumer pathway to purchase.”
Brands, he added, also don’t do enough mapping or horizontal planning when putting together a digital approach. “You must look at how the touchpoints work together for a branding campaign," he said. "Define the role and the KPI of each touchpoint you create.”
But getting all this right requires the right kind of people. Too often, brands and agencies recruit people who either lack the soft skills for the task, or are asked to answer impossible job descriptions put together by HR departments that don’t understand the job, commented the final speaker, Kate Scott, a digital strategy consultant. “People in the industry are so focused on getting good at Facebook and Twitter, they have never learnt how to have decent conversations with customers.”
Furthermore, while courses exist to train talent in the digital skills needed, too often the people who hire them don’t have time to spend three hours a week learning about the industry, said Scott, who also lectures at HKU Space. “As a result, they often look for people who simply don’t exist. I found a job ad that wanted one person to fulfill the roles of 10 different people!”
The truth, concluded Scott, is that there is no silver bullet. People who don’t have time have to make the time to learn. “The solutions are out there in the form of training, industry groups, workshops and seminars,” she said.