MMA To Brands: You Need To Spend A Lot More On Mobile

Sure, that’s what an industry trade group’s supposed to say. Here are the numbers to back up their coaxing.

Attention, Walmart mobile shopping.
Attention, Walmart mobile shoppers.

An assessment of the ROI from portable device-based ads compared to traditional media by the Mobile Marketing Association’s examination of “real, in-market campaigns” from Coca-Cola, Walmart, MasterCard, and AT&T indicates that the right amount of spending is in the double-digits —far more than the average expenditure.

The MMA’s first Smart Mobile Cross Marketing Effectiveness (aka SMoX) study, which is being released on the first day of the trade organization’s Forum NY conference, doesn’t mention actual ad prices for mobile versus CPMs for other channels. But an informal survey of GeoMarketing sources estimates that average rates are CPM for video remain pretty high at around $25, while mobile prices about $4.00, and general display is a cheap $1.90.

The study looked at the four aforementioned brands — including two campaigns from Walmart — and concludes in devising their marketing budgets, marketers need to start by breaking down the silos between other media and mobile. At a time when people check their smartphones an average of 150 times a day, mobile is already a complementary device whether consumers are checking prices at a retail location or watching TV.

Mobile As A Hub

The SMoX research suggests that brands can significantly increase their overall campaign ROI by simply adjusting mobile spend upwards — all without increasing their overall ad spend.

Now, this is surely the kind of thing one would expect an industry group to argue for. But here’s how the MMA is building its case for mobile as the center of brand’s marketing budgets. When using upper funnel metrics like awareness and image, to purchase intent and actual behavior (foot traffic or sales), “the empirical evidence proves that mobile has a fervent contribution to campaign results, justifying a double-digit allocation of the entire media budget (not just digital) to mobile,” the MMA’s report says.

Location Lift

In the case of AT&T, its mobile ads “delivered twice the awareness per dollar spend compared to TV and digital,” says the MMA, while MasterCard found that mobile was the second strongest driver of image, after TV.

The geomarketing aspects of mobile appear just as meaningful when it comes to driving in-store foot traffic.

Walmart’s Back to School mobile ads impacted more consumers per dollar spent than both broadcast and cable TV, driving a 14 percent of higher lift in overall shopping intent despite only 7 percent of the spend. It also drove “verified foot traffic, “with location ads producing a significant lift vs. control.

Walmart used two approaches to geo-targeting. For audience targeting, the discount retail chain delivered messages to consumers who visited a Walmart in the past. “By targeting them wherever they might be, Walmart increased the impact for the same ad unit over delivering advertising without retargeting,” the study says.

Walmart also relied on proximity targeting to deliver the message when a consumer was “in range” of one of its outlets. This tactic showed “a 1.5x higher impact” than audience targeting, and was “far more effective than when no location targeting was used. More importantly, considering the current (i.e., “relatively low”) pricing, proximity targeting was a great deal in terms of the relationship of impact to cost.

The MMA’s SMoX research is based on advertising consultancy Marketing Evolution’s cross-media attribution modeling approach, which has been independently reviewed by the Advertising Research Foundation through two separate official reviews and leverages new approaches to provide a granular read for mobile.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.