Discussing the latest mobile insights, trends, techniques and opportunities for brands in mobile advertising and creativity, Resolution MENA held yesterday a one-day conference under the title “Mobile Hotspot 2014”.
Kicking off the conference, Resolution MENA’s director of web and mobile, Nadim Khouri, shared significant numbers on the worldwide growth of tablets and smartphones versus desktops; indeed, sales of smartphones and tablets have by far outperformed those of desktops in 2013, growing by 106 percent and 48 percent, respectively, compared to a 13 percent regression in desktop sales for the same year. In fact, by 2017, 87 percent of connected device sales will be for Smarphones.
Moreover, the time spent on mobile has gone up from 24 minutes in 2010 to two hours and 21 minutes in 2013, almost equaling that spent on desktop – which amounted to two hours and 29 minutes in 2013. In terms of ad spend, global spend on mobile has reached 16.65 billion dollars on mobile, and 117.6 billion dollars on digital. In 2017, however, ad spend on mobile is forecast to grow to 62.79 billion dollars, potentially making up 35 percent of digital spend.
While 20 percent of eyeballs in the MENA region were on mobile, stated Khouri, ad investments in mobile in the MENA region still make less than one percent of total spend. Although the numbers are shy, added khouri, there are ample opportunities app and mobile-enabled site development, mobile search, mobile social ads, standard display and rich media advertising in the GCC region. These opportunities are, in fact, underpinned by impressive mobile CTRs (click-through rates) of 1 to 5 percent for the GCC – compared to 0.6 to 1.2 percent in the West – and equally impressive mobile consumption patterns; 18 percent of GCC Facebook users are on desktop, 47 percent are on both mobile and desktop, and 35 percent are on mobile only – around 5.6 million people. Moreover, 76 percent of Twitter users in the GCC region are on mobile, revealed Khouri.
Indeed, consumption and behavioral patterns and changes drive mobile, one of the “six imperatives for mobile” listed in the presentation that followed Khouri’s, by Paul Berney, co-founder, managing partner and EMEA CEO of mCordis, a consultancy firm for mobile marketing. Mobile is enabling and causing irrevocable behavioral change, said Berney, as consumers migrate from being digital immigrants and natives, to being digital dependents. The other five imperatives mentioned by Berney were the “quantified Self”, whereby consumers try to understand themselves through their social media numbers – in the UK, 40 percent of consumers said they were willing to share health history data around themselves for lower insurance premiums; “multi-screen lives”, where consumers experience synchronous and asynchronous content across the screens they use; “contextual relevance”, whereby mobile is the only device that can target the right person with the right message in the right place and at the right time – and as such, mobile enables to make a switch from historic to predictive behavior data; “the new retail”, where mobile will act as the bridge between the physical and digital world, becoming an omni-channel experience for consumers, and a multi-channel requirement for retailers; and the “end or start of privacy for consumers”, where consumers will switch from having data about them to owning their data, and buying back their privacy.
Berney’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Resolution MENA’s managing director, Dimitri Metaxas, and featuring Jonathan Lambin, director at Facebook, Lisa Szatsznajder, Twitter Account Executive at Connect Ads, and Ziad Rahhal, managing director, MENA, at regional chatting service Nimbuzz messenger. As was revealed during the discussion, the upcoming World Cup will make for a big 2014 for Twitter, as the micro-blogging platform plans to introduce TV targeting, allowing brands to target people while they are watching ads – a solution that will be rolled out across the region in Q3 and Q4 2014. Twitter will also introduce advertising solutions for brands on Vine videos. For now, Twitter’s capabilities on mobile cover targeting by interest (with 350 second-level categories), by handle, by geo-location, by keyword, by device – ultimately helping brands target early adopters – and by connection, among others. More importantly, Twitter can target a brand’s audiences by getting their cookies data and finding their handles. The platform is also working on developing conversion tracking tools – as the latter’s absence has so far hampered the tracking of mobile campaigns on Twitter.
Facebook, on the other hand, is looking to transition from being mobile first to mobile best, predicting that mobile, which is already bigger than web, will be bigger than TV. Instagram has particularly interesting targeting capabilities, enabling brands to match their database of customers on Instagram with the latter’s Facebook profiles in a privacy-protected way.
Nimbuzz’s Rahhal has developed the chatbuddy service – in which robots that users choose to add to their contact lists, converse with the users – which he now considers as an advertising platform thanks to the particular success it’s witnessed in the KSA. “For Nimbuzz, we’ve developed a full fledged communication tool, a hybrid between chat services and Skype services. We are launching location-based targeting for the service, and are developing new targeting capabilities along with our clients, based on their needs and demands,” explained Rahhal.