Jumptap, Mobext, and Razorfish Talk Ad Strategy at Mobile Media Upfront

5/10/12Follow @jpruth

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advantage of marketing across multiple channels including mobile. “With Nokia and Microsoft I get [access to] Xbox, I get desktop, mobile, and TV,” Bough said.

More advertising dollars are being shifted to mobile, he said, to explore novel ideas such as the use of apps to reach consumers. Kraft’s iFood Assistant mobile app, for example, helps users create a shopping list with cooking tips. The app also highlights Kraft’s products that can be purchased for use in recipes.

Such consumer interaction and relevance is essential in mobile marketing. During a panel discussion at the conference, Todd Thiessen, vice president of strategy for ad agency Razorfish in New York, said companies are no longer satisfied with simply getting the word out about their brands. Whether or not a flashy mobile campaign drives sales is more vital than consumers talking about the ads. “Expectations have moved from buzz worthy to business worthy,” he said.

To that end, media outlets such as The Weather Channel Companies, Condé Nast Media Group, and IGN Entertainment spoke at the conference about ways they are engaging the mobile audience. Scott Bender, vice president of sales and business development for IGN, said about 20 to 25 percent of the audience that consumes his company’s digital content gets it through mobile channels. “It’s a little bit higher within our AskMen property but it’s certain we’re seeing a trend that is growing,” he said.

IGN owns websites such as GameSpy, which is aimed at video gamers, in addition to men’s lifestyle site AskMen. Bender said mobile offers new opportunities to curate content and make lasting impressions for game developers who may get lost in a crowded, competitive field. The advent of mobile gaming, he said, may also change purchasing trends among consumers. Video games for consoles and computers tend to cost $60 each but mobile games offer access to entertainment at much lower prices. “It’s different with mobile gaming,” he said. “It’s 99 cents or $2, many times it’s free.”

Conference panelist Sarah Amitay, vice president and director of mobile marketing for Mobext in Boston, said many of her company’s clients now look to mobile as a standard part of their advertising strategies and want to evaluate how the medium contributes to sales. (Mobext is a branch of France’s Havas Digital.)

Amitay said while mobile plays a growing role in social media and Web searches, clients are sometimes surprised by the medium’s influence. “Over 20 percent of all search on Google is happening on mobile phones,” she said. “[Companies] have woken up to the reality and are excited but a little scared.”

She cautioned that while some brands may be eager to create their own apps to engage the mobile audience, their objectives with the technology need to be clear. “What utility are you providing to your target audience over time?” she asked. Given the rampant influx of new apps, it can be easy to get lost in the masses, making such an investment not worthwhile. “Unless there is some distinct value over time, an app strategy is not for you,” she said.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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