Mobile Advertising: The Creative Needs to Improve

Last week, eMarketer revised upward their estimate for 2011 US mobile advertising to $1.23 billion, a 60% increase from 2010. Because Hispanics are the fastest growing US demographic group, and mobile is the fastest growing advertising platform in history, brands are paying attention. A survey for PepsiCo found that 50 percent of Fortune 100 consumer brands are running mobile marketing campaigns this year specifically targeting US Hispanics–more than double the number of Hispanic-orientated campaigns last year. In particular, apps and mobile web are the two most popular mobile ad formats for Hispanics. The main challenge holding back larger budgets for Hispanic mobile advertising is no longer technical- it is creative.
In the first half of 2011, telecommunications and automotive were the two largest mobile advertising categories (Nielsen). Video (4.7%) is the least deployed, but fastest growing, mobile ad format. Mobile search (28.5%) is the next largest, followed by banners (30.7%). Finally, because every handset is capable of SMS, the most widely deployed mobile ad format is still messaging (36.1%). Many were surprised by the comments of Gavin Mehrotra, Director of International Media for Coca-Cola, at the Mobile Marketing Association conference in April. "SMS is the number one priority at Coca-Cola in mobile". He cited mobile web as number two, with Smartphone apps as a very distant number three.
Historically, the higher response rates for mobile campaigns can be attributed to the novelty of the platform. However, according to ad campaign effectiveness measurement company Dynamic Logic, the quality of the creative has now become the most important factor.
Mobile marketing campaigns considered to be effective include a strong call to action and clear branding. On the other hand, ads that repurpose online creative or overwhelm the small screen with text or logos actually reduce brand favorability and purchase intent.
A global study by advertising agency BBDO defines our relationship with mobile as analogous to a relationship with a New Lover. We prefer to be alone with this very personal device and do not appreciate intrusions…unless it makes us better somehow or is tailored to our needs. 
You can learn more about the BBDO research HERE
Three examples of good creative for mobile Hispanic campaigns are included below:
Universal Studios: "Fast Five" Hispanic Mobile Campaign
Universal Studios sought to tap into the Hispanic audience''s affinity for rich media on Smartphones with a mobile video and banner ad campaign for their film "Fast Five". Hispanics represent 15% of the population but only 12-13% of movie-going public. Ad Agency Lopez Negrete developed a creative execution emphasizing mobile video and banners. One third of those that clicked on the banners watched the entire trailer. The greatest response came form pre-app video ads, achieving 3.77% Click Through Rates (CTR), the highest of the entire digital campaign. 
You can learn more about the FAST campaign HERE
K&G Men''s Wearhouse: SMS Coupons
Reognizing the mobile media usage of their target customer, African-Americans and Hispanic males, age 25-54, Atlanta-based K&G Men''s Wearhouse implemented an SMS couponing campaign to drive in-store traffic and sales. Participants receive four messages monthly about events, alerts, coupons, etc.
The customer receives a coupon with a unique code that must be keyed into the POS system. This is followed with a double opt-in that sends customers a message to verify they want to participate. Once opted in, customers receive four messages each month from K&G. The redemption rate for the program in the first four months was 93 percent.
Nike + GPS- "Beat Your Best" iPhone Application:
Leveraging the GPS capability included in all Android and iPhone devices, Nike transforms a solitary experience into a shared, social networking engagement. Runners, both in English and Spanish, can monitor, store upload and post each run to their online social network. This "branded utility" maintains an ongoing relationship between the consumer and the brand is accessed again and again.
You can learn more about the Nike + GPS campaign HERE:
One billion dollars is a lot of money. However, it is still less than one percent of 2011 total US advertising expenditures. Although mobile advertising is now the fastest growing ad medium in history, further growth will be dependent on the quality of the creative.