Geo-targeting is biggest perceived benefit of mobile marketing: Mobext

MUMBAI: The most important benefit of mobile marketing is geo-targeting or the ability to target on-the-go consumers. This aspect of it comes out in a recent study by Mobext which reveals that 84.3 per cent advertisers currently invest in mobile marketing.

This, according to the study, is followed by 64.8 per cent respondents who say that mobile marketing gives ability to communicate one-to-one with consumers on a personalised or targeted basis while 63 per cent believe it helps in real-time messaging. Only a little over a third of respondents each believed mobile marketing to be cost-efficient (37 per cent) and easy to use/implement (36.1 per cent).

According to the agency, even though advertisers appreciate the ability of mobile to do geo-targeted as well as one-to-one communications, a majority of marketers are still not convinced that mobile is a cost-efficient and easy-to-manage advertising channel.

The APAC region is believed to be the largest and fastest-growing mobile market in the world with more than 2.5 billion mobile subscriptions and 70-90 per cent average mobile customer penetration in many countries. Although certain Asian markets already invest heavily in mobile (Japan, in particular), the rest of Asia still represents a small percentage of the total mobile advertising market globally.

Mobext, Havas Media’s mobile marketing agency, conducted this research to delve deep into Asian advertisers’ attitudes towards mobile marketing, particularly the “non-Japan” APAC market which lags behind in mobile spending

According to the research finding, marketers are clearly struggling with measuring return on their mobile investments. 57 per cent of respondents said that it is too early to tell and they are not sure if returns are commensurate with their mobile investments. Only 3.7 per cent of respondents said they are “extremely” satisfied with results of their mobile investments, while 23.1 per cent said they are“moderately” satisfied.

The study also revealed that 47.6 per cent of respondents agreed that mobile would be equally important as TV in the next two years while 44 per cent said that mobile will be more important than radio in the next two years.

Also, 60 per cent of surveyed respondents said they do not use a third-party organisation (such as a mobile agency) to manage their mobile marketing efforts.

In general, the agency felt that the outlook for mobile marketing in the six surveyed Asian markets is very positive. Among those not currently investing in mobile marketing, 55 per cent said that they plan on investing in mobile in the next 12 months.

The survey revealed that while marketers are attracted to smartphone and tablet-based marketing, a significant portion of marketers still “heavily” associate mobile with SMS or text-based marketing. They believe that SMS still represents the single biggest mass reach opportunity for marketers.

When asked to choose a phrase that they associate the most to mobile marketing, 63.5 per cent respondents chose mobile or smartphone ads, 61.3 per cent chose SMS/text messaging and 59.4 per cent went for mobile apps as their top-of-mind options.

The survey shows that advertisers in the covered Asian markets are increasingly embracing mobile,with 53.5 per cent per cent of respondents saying that they currently invest in mobile marketing.

Among the markets covered in the survey, Hong Kong (63.8 per cent of respondents), Singapore (48.2 per cent) and Malaysia (38 per cent) report the highest rate of adoption for mobile marketing among advertisers

More than half (56.5 per cent) of the current investors in mobile marketing feel that it’s too early for them to say if the returns are commensurate with their investments in mobile. Around 23.1 per cent are moderately satisfied with their returns (results have met expectations) while about 14.8 per cent are not satisfied (some campaigns have not met expectations).

For those who currently invest in mobile marketing, the top three roles of mobile marketing are: raising brand awareness (61.1 per cent), increasing the customer purchase intent (50.9 per cent) and increasing customer-base by attracting new customers (48.1 per cent).

Based on the data, most marketers are currently focused on utilising mobile as an awareness building channel as well as an activation channel to help drive both purchases and consumer spending, and at the same time, also increase customer base. A majority of marketers have still not fully taken advantage of the potential of mobile in increasing brand loyalty through targeted one-to-one communications, or by integrating mobile in existing loyalty programs, the report said.

The study revealed that among those respondents who currently invest in mobile marketing, the three main mobile marketing methods that they have invested in are mobile apps (59.3 per cent), mobile websites (53.7 per cent), and SMS to an opt-in database (48.1 per cent).

The company said that despite the potential of mobile in driving purchase (via mobile coupons and mobile commerce), majority of marketers still do not invest heavily in mobile commerce (only 9.3 per cent) and mobile coupons (only 17.5 per cent).

By far, however, the biggest anticipated trend is the convergence of social and mobile, with advertisers planning to increase investment in this area significantly. With mobile increasingly becoming the main access point for social media, particularly in the APAC region, advertisers are interested in scaling their investments in campaigns that integrate social and mobile.

Another point to note is that while investment in SMS/text to opt-in database is expected to decrease (from 48.1 per cent of current mobile advertisers investing in it, to 34.3 per cent planning to invest in it in the future), more firms are planning to invest in mobile CRM/one-to-one messaging (from only 7.8 per cent to 32.4 per cent of current investors planning to invest in it in the future). The implication is that marketers will increasingly shift from mass communication methods via SMS, to more targeted, one-to-one, personalised communications, the company said.

While current adoption of QR codes/bar-codes is high (48.1 per cent), fewer advertisers (35.0 per cent) are planning to invest in them in the near future. Other areas of mobile marketing that are expected to undergo drastic changes in investment include:

Mobile CRM/one-to-one
User-generated content6.8%23.3%16.5%
Mobile Couponing17.5%34.0%16.5%
Mobile Commerce9.7%25.2%15.5%
Location-based marketing22.3%36.9%14.6%
Social media mobile
Text/SMS to opt-indatabase47.6%35.0%-12.6%
QR codes/Barcodes48.5%35.0%-13.5%

The research report shows that the two biggest barriers that are holding mobile marketing from assuming a greater role in the marketing mix are: lack of a reliable, uniform framework to measure or prove mobile marketing success (56.5 per cent) and lack of enough knowledge or case studies to provide effectiveness and RoI of mobile marketing (55.6 per cent).

A few other issues highlighted by current advertisers are technology constraints, including poor 3G/4G connectivity (53.7 per cent), limited resources or expertise in this domain (50 per cent), and consumer privacy issues (44 per cent).

Majority of respondents (55.1 per cent) not currently investing in mobile marketing say that mobile marketing would gain importance for their brand in the next twelve months.

Mobext conducted this online survey from 9- 23 August 2012. It got responses of 271 respondents representing more than 230 companies across six markets in Asia-Pacific, specifically Indonesia, Philippines, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

The markets covered in the study were purposely selected in order to cover the non-Japan Asia-Pacific market, with a balance between advanced economies (Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia) and developing markets (Indonesia, Philippines and India).

Approximately 85 per cent of the respondents are mid-to-senior level marketing functional leaders in their respective organisations, while the surveyed companies represent various industries, specifically retail, consumer goods, fashion and apparel, travel and hospitality, media and entertainment, telecom, tourism, and financial services.

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