For Cross-Platform, A Mobile-First Strategy Is A Must, UberMedia Contends
One caveat: Ads aimed at smartphones still requires a learning process for most marketers, says CMO Michael Hayes.
Mobile ad platform UberMedia is is predicated on the idea of omnichannel marketing strategies becoming the predominant way that physical businesses reach and engage their consumers.
At the center of those many channels lies the mobile device. UberMedia claims to be the only mobile ad platform that combines more than 1.5 billion first-party mobile data signals to deliver “hyper-focused, custom ad campaigns” for brand advertisers such as Nike, Lexus, Wendy’s, and others. CMO Michael Hayes offered to make the case of why mobile needs to be among the first things that marketers think about when it comes to driving offline store lift.
GeoMarketing: What is UberMedia’s approach to cross-platform advertising in general and to mobile advertising in particular?
Michael Hayes: UberMedia is a cross-screen mobile advertising platform that uniquely combines social interests, location data, and we build custom audiences for advertisers and then we run campaigns to those audiences at the advertisers. We have a series of tools that helped us kind of optimize the campaign for advertisers that are somewhat unique in the industry for mobile. In its most simplest form, we’re a mobile, programmatic ad platform.
Most of the mobile space, historically, has grown up in the direct response phase, app installs and things like that, which is pretty common in the digital space. The early adopters are typically direct response advertisers. That was true with being searched and true even with banner ads, and that was also true for mobile. Interestingly, most of our advertisers are very large brand advertisers, like the Disney Company, Coke, Pepsi, Verizon, AT&T, BMW, Lexus, Unilever, Adidas, Nike, so you know those are large advertisers if you look at the top twenty-five, top fifty advertisers in the country we do lot of business with the majority of them so, so it seems to be working pretty well.
Where do you think mobile fits in the whole cross-channel world? Do you see it as central and connecting all those different channels or is it just one piece of the puzzle?
My view of this is, and our view at UberMedia is, that mobile is the first screen rather than TV. TV historically has been the first screen. Many people spend most of their time in front of a television set, but that was eclipsed probably two years ago, maybe a little longer than two years ago. Time spent with mobile devices in front of the mobile screen eclipsed television time, which was big in the industry.
I would argue that mobile, as a marketing medium, is the first screen. Which means if you were building a marketing plan, or even a media plan, for advertising you would want to really think about how to use mobile to intercept consumers to your brand or your store or whatever you’re trying to market. Unfortunately, like most things in life including the story of digital, most of the dollars are still spent in television. Most advertisers and their agencies still spend the vast majority of their money in television, and I’m talking more than fifty percent, and in some markets it’s 80- to 90 percent.
Little by little that’s been changing.
So do you perceive a delay between customers moving to mobile and advertisers adapting to that?
There are some things that are holding mobile back, so yes I think it’s going to take a period of adjustment. I would argue that these last two years, maybe year and a half or so, we’ve seen mobile spend grow significantly. You’re seeing big shifts with large companies. Most of the revenue that’s coming from places like weather.com or even Facebook is through mobile.
Most of the traffic from Facebook is coming through mobile, for example. Most of the traffic of Twitter is coming through mobile. Most of the people looking at weather are coming through mobile. Which means the apps that are getting those huge chunks of money, advertisers are supporting, but there are limitations to mobile that advertisers haven’t really figured out how to grapple with yet because the industry is fairly new. Television has had forty years to figure itself out. Banner ads have had more than twenty, and paid search has been around since the late 90’s, so there’s been a long time to figure how to leverage paid search or banner ads and it’s really only been, I would argue, maybe four years, five at the most, for agencies to try to figure out mobile apps and how to grapple with tracking that.
When you are designing a campaign how would measure success? What kind of things do you look for to make a successful campaign and what kind of things do you look for to make a specifically UberMedia campaign?
Advertisers determine what the criteria are for success, typically. That’s not to say we don’t influence them but you know they come with a predisposition of what success would look like in their eyes. They rely on us heavily to be the experts in mobile and so we tend to talk to them about location and measuring the activity of advertising to a location visit. That’s assuming the advertiser has a location to send them to, but a lot of them do so that works pretty well.
That can be a hotel visit, it could be a auto lot visit, it could be a retail visit, a restaurant visit, anything like that works incredibly well. For the majority, if you think about it, there are a lot of advertisers that have a brick and mortar presence that ultimately, that’s what they’re trying to do. If you were a marketer sitting for a car manufacturer you’re interest is, at least in the United States, to drive traffic, the traffic to auto dealers to buy cars. If you worked for Taco Bell, your interest is to sell tacos at those retail locations, and Home Depot is to sell hardware and so on and so forth.
For most of these large retail driven businesses, their interest is to drive foot traffic to retailers and we can do that incredibly effectively. That’s typically what we provide advice on and how to do that, what the campaigns kind of look like. In addition to that, we certainly can track other things and measure other things including other key performance indicators that might happen on a website or mobile app site. Or it can be as simple as a click-through rate. I would argue that click-through rate isn’t a great indicator of success,
We tend to specialize in tracking real-world conversion events, meaning sending people to locations and that’s what the campaigns are designed to do and tend to work pretty well. Which is why our top advertisers tend to be very retail-centric.
How has the Local Visit Optimization tool performed since we checked in earlier this summer?
When we released LVO at that time, we ran a few beta test advertisers. Since then, we started to roll it out little by little. I would say that it is in its early stages. Advertisers don’t want to change their entire campaign at once because they want to see if it works first. Marketers tend to take a piece of a campaign, and say, “Let’s optimize it differently to target location with us.” That’s what’s in the works.
For example, we have a couple hotel chains, autos, and retailers running campaigns with us. Depending upon the advertiser, you can imagine that dictates the longevity of that test.
Therefore, if you were a quick-service restaurant you know people come into your outlet and make certain purchases within a few hours, if not one day. But if you’re a hotel chain, you may book a room and not arrive at that hotel for two months later, you know, or three weeks later.
The optimization efforts that are real-world need time to kind of work and so we will be getting results for you probably for the next several weeks at the earliest, and that would probably be much more of the low-consideration retail-type advertisers versus long-consideration advertisers like a car purchase or a hotel stay or a car rental or something like that and those would come in time.
What are UberMedia’s plans and focus going to be on during the latter half of the year?
The mission of UberMedia is to understand consumer behavioral signals that allow us to reach our audience. I like to call those signals digital breadcrumbs. People leave these little digital breadcrumbs, or footprints, and we’re able to make sense of them to build these audiences. We have some of that figured out, we don’t have all of it figured out.
There’s a lot more green pasture to kind of explore, so without giving away exactly what we’re doing yet, we’re interested in any mobile, behavioral signal that we can leverage that will provide campaign success.
We’ve also been working to attach purchase data to the campaigns. For packaged-goods companies, for example, if Coca-Cola wants us to send somebody to WalMart or a Target we can do that. But they don’t know just because we track and we say “x number of the people that saw your campaign went into WalMart” they don’t know if that was to buy Coca Cola. They wouldn’t know if they purchased Coca Cola or Tide Detergent. There’s no way to know, so we’re working with them to pull in purchase data to append that to the campaign so that we can track and measure purchases of products.
I wouldn’t say that’s a new strategy but it’s one we’re working on now.