Melody Jian: Mobile Marketing---Cross the River by Feeling the Stones
The year of 2013 witnessed an astonishing growth of mobile media. While by comparison, mobile marketing was relatively silent with the input from advertisers remaining measly little. How come the development of mobile marketing is lagging far behind that of mobile media? And what exactly is the status quo of mobile marketing? To answer these questions, we interviewed Melody Jian, GM of hdtMEDIA¡¯s subsidiary company hdtMobile, who updated us about the status quo of mobile marketing. hdtMobile is a forerunner of mobile and digital marketing in China with immensely rich practical experience.
Controversial mobile advertisement
Melody Jian holds doubts about the view that 2013 was an explosive year for mobile marketing. According to her, what matters is that the scope of mobile marketing must be set. i.e. whether it includes mobile games which exploded in 2013. In that sense, mobile marketing also exploded. Yet, mobile marketing is not only about mobile games. Putting the growth created by this sector aside, the input of traditional advertisers still lags far behind and mobile marketing is far from being formed yet, still in the inception state.
Mobile media have become the largest Internet terminal with more than 500 million users, and reasonably, advertisers will put much of their ad costs in this sector. But this is not the case. ¡°The advertisement is moving massively from traditional media to video-sharing sites. Mango TV is a typical case in point, which indicates that what is worrying is not mobile marketing, but the fact that the whole ad industry is moving from television to video-sharing sites while mobile marketing has not formed yet.¡±
The primary cause of advertisers¡¯ hesitation at mobile terminals is that the development of mobile ads is not mature enough and there is not a single mature marketing form that can bring instant effects. Currently popular terminal ad forms include banner, Screen image ads and full-screen images, which are merely mechanical replication of PC ads. Take banner for example. Melody Jian said that banner is not delivering well in that it is small and thus difficult to attract the attention of users. Besides, page jumping takes very long time after the banner is clicked, which is rather bothering to users. ¡°Users find these ads rather annoying and not mobile at all.¡±
Therefore, mobile ad forms are being explored, such as native ads on apps, and mobile DSP, which are likely to be the future direction of mobile ads. Yet, according to Jian, these ads are controversial. ¡°Are native ads fit for mobile terminals? I think not. The standards and sizes of native ads are all different, which makes large scale purchases difficult. For advertisers, the cost is very high to set different sizes for different native ads. I think large scale native ads do not exist at all unless all apps are standardized. This is a paradox in itself. So the scale of native apps is limited.¡±
Mobile DSP is also controversial, according to Jian. The so-called DSP means multi-flow, -dimension and -screen, so integrated DSP is popular internationally. For example, two years ago, international capital pursued mobile DSP but failed. hdtMEDIA and hdtMobile prefer multi-screened DSP, ¡°because the label and calculation are the same, and there is no need to separate them.¡±
In a word, the whole mobile marketing industry, for traditional advertisers, is still in the initial stage of exploration, or as the saying goes, ¡°crossing the river by feeling the stones, and it is very likely to get mired.¡±
Marketing success hard to replicate
According to Jian, there are also some successful cases of traditional ads marketing on mobile terminals, which are basically achieved through linking multiple screens by socialized media. ¡°Multi-screen and socialized media is a basic idea of advertisers, or standard combination for ads.¡±
Jian referred to hdtMobile¡¯s tailored marketing plan on WeChat for a beer brand. The brand initiated an ¡°Erasing¡± activity on WeChat after changing its logo. ¡°The title itself is a typical reflection of mobile media.¡± In the case, users entered a page through WeChat subscribers lite. On the page appeared the original logo that could be erased and subsequently replaced by a new logo and followed by a lucky draw. The activity was so successful that within half a day, all prizes were awarded out. This combination of marketing and social factors was interesting and cost-effective, and achieved the effects advertisers aspired. ¡°Such marketing is very mobile by making the best of mobile phones.¡±
Besides WeChat, multi-screen integrated marketing is popularly accepted. ¡°hdtMEDIA and hdtMobile lead the industry in this aspect. Another example. In a double-screen marketing activity designed for an auto customer, we put a QR code on web, after scanning which, the user can enter an Html5 page on which he or she can play a small speed game and share it with others through social media. This is an interesting case of multi-screen linkage. Such marketing is warmly welcomed in the industry.¡±
Meanwhile, Jian also admitted that many successes cannot be replicated. ¡°This is why we are confused. Some succeed while others cannot.¡± Multi-screen marketing requires that advertisers be highly effective and innovative. Its logical setting, interest design and fluent linkage of double screens are technologically challenging. Not all companies can make it.¡±
O2O that waits to be industrialized
Jian said that O2O is a possible development direction of mobile marketing. ¡°O2O is very mobile. It follows people whenever and wherever.¡± Most mobile ads are annoying because they lack relevance with users, in terms of not only groups, but also areas and scenes. Such irrelevance is both costly and annoying.
The accuracy of mobile phones, including location and time, makes it happen that ads or useful information pops out at the right moment and scene so that the user can see what he or she hopes to. ¡°Say you are hungry and wants to find a McDonald¡¯s. Then an ad pops out telling you where you can find it and giving you coupons. This should be the future direction of mobile ads.¡± And among all, O2O is the most likely way to achieve that.
O2O represents a promising yet inapproachable solution for the future. Currently the industry is bottlenecked with technological barriers and insufficient infrastructures. ¡°Take the QR codes for example. Scanning machines which carry the most weight have yet been put in place and the application methods and standards of QR codes are disparate.¡± In the future, if sophisticated infrastructures are built and O2O smartly establishes itself as the industry¡¯s marketing model with users¡¯ privacy well protected, then the mobile marketing will experience a blowout growth. At the point, most advertisers will swarm toward mobile terminals. And the whole ad industry might be ¡°subverted¡±. ¡°We look forward to the coming of that day.¡±
Waiting for the spring of the industry with persistence
Though mobile marketing remains at the stage of exploration, Jian is optimistic about its future. The development of any form of medium must goes through an exploration stage. The same holds true for PC ads. Only when pre-movie ads, search ads and big data emerge can real PC ads develop. PC has been a form of medium long ago, yet it took very long before forming its ads. Mobile ads will also go through such a stage.
As for the future mobile marketing, Jian said, ¡°ceaseless trying is the only thing that mobile marketing needs to do in the future. Mobile media are more than important.¡± In fact, advertisers are more concerned about mobile media than ever in that they use them every day. But the mobile ad industry has not yet created an ad form with a good user experience, so most advertisers are still asking mobile terminals for effects.
¡°So under such circumstances, we must persevere in the industry because it is so good to be mobile. The infrastructure will not be a problem. The key is whether mobile marketing workers are making real creations in the industry. We must make all kinds of exploration especially at the moment when the infrastructure is not complete. Whether for mobile marketing workers or for advertisers, instant action is much better than pursuit for perfection. Blindly seeking perfection without doing anything brings about no result. All mobile marketers must bear that in mind.¡±