Mobile Beyond the Screen: A Panel Discussion

“How many of you have ever accidentally left your phone at home?” asked Sable Mi, Head of Research and Analytics at NinthDecimal. Almost all of the advertising industry members at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Town Hall raised their hands. “And what did you do? Did you continue on with your day? Or did you turn around to go get it?” The group smiled and nodded as more than half of the audience admitted to turning back around.

For many individuals, mobile devices are considered an extension of their being and have become a vital tool in how we stay connected to the world. They are always on, in hand or just in arms reach. For marketers and advertisers, the mobile device is the key to unlocking the door between digital and physical behavior – a fact that was made especially apparent during the IAB Town Hall event this Wednesday in New York City.

While the majority of speakers during the event were industry researchers, the audience also had the privilege to hear from two experienced brand advertisers: Jessie Dawes, Senior Director of Global Digital Marketing and eCRM at Theory, and Jim Rawdon, formerly Supervisor, Media & Strategy, Pet360 Media. During a panel discussion with Sable Mi, the advertisers shared their perspectives on the role of mobile in media planning and advertising.

Mobile’s Changing Role in Media Planning

“It used to be that mobile would be a set percentage of the buy,” Jim explained. “Now, we’re looking at mobile very differently, finding ways for it to complement our other KPIs.”

Jessie agreed, sharing that “Mobile is a critical part of our full media plan. It complements other advertising media really well.” She added that as the mobile landscape changes, the need to be strategic increases. “We’re seeking out the smartest mobile players in the industry because there’s so much potential. ”

The Future of Mobile: Beyond the Screen

When asked what the future of mobile looked like to her, Jessie shared that she sees mobile as much more than a screen. Mobile devices can help marketers understand physical world behavior, and for retailers like Jessie, this provides important insight that can help inform in-store merchandising decisions and more. “I’m responsible for e-commerce and the digital experience, but also driving in-store traffic,” Jessie shared. “Mobile is really the lynchpin that connects these dots.”

Both advertisers also highlighted measurement as a benefit of mobile beyond the screen. For Jessie, working with NinthDecimal to measure in-store traffic helps her not only understand the effectiveness of past campaigns but also benchmark and set expectations for future campaigns. Jim agreed, adding, “The C-level needs hard and fast proof of effectiveness. The better we can provide that, the more support we’ll get for future campaigns.”

The two also shared a similar gripe: the mobile ad user experience. They both agreed that the industry needed better creative options on mobile, moving beyond banners and interstitials to develop clearer, less intrusive ad creative.

Measuring the Full Customer Journey

Ultimately, Jessie and Jim shared that mobile is an important part of their media plan, but its usefulness goes beyond just media deployment. When asked his perception on the role of mobile, Jim shared that, “It’s critical to understanding behavior and the customer journey before and after ad exposure.”

Jessie finalized it well. “The strategy and KPIs will always depend on the objective of the campaign. But when I’m running a full omni-channel campaign – across television, print, OOH, digital – I want to see how I’m affecting the customer journey and ultimately driving in-store visits. Mobile data helps us understand that physical world behavior, from audience insights all the way to measuring campaign success.”