Why big data is like teenage sex

Big data is a lot like teenage sex – everyone talks about it, no one really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they’re doing it.

This is how Adrian Lee, head of digital at MediaCom Hong Kong, described mobile data in this morning’s InSkin Media brand digital panel.

“Like it or not, you’ll need to have some kind of data that approaches all kind of marketing activity; and mobile is a massive treasure trove of data that can be used to improve data targeting and the quality of your ad campaigns.”

With 4.8 million smartphones in use currently, more people around the world who have mobile devices have never had a fixed-line.

All research points to a result that Hong Kong, in particular, treats mobile as a major touch-point – it has a high mobile penetration rate of 236%; 74% smartphone penetration; the fifth highest Android penetration globally; 71% of internet usage connected via mobile daily; and four hours of daily mobile consumption.

But still, there was only a 2.4% ad spend on mobile last year, according to admanGo. Why is that?

The culprit, Lee said, was the default mobile spending ad format, a sort of frontage takeover, which drives a lot of incremental and accidental clicks that are often easily considered as benchmarks of a successful campaign.

“Mobile click-through rates (CTRs) will always be higher then desktop engagement, but we need to understand the quality of the clicks,” Lee noted.

“People have always talked about going further than the clicks. That’s indeed very important, especially for mobile as the nature of mobile platforms makes accidental clicks much easier to generate. On mobile devices, it’s a lot easier to drive high CTRs with bad advertising.

“It’s up to us as marketers to self-regulate mobile performance, and ask ourselves if the CTRs are good enough. We should start looking at things such as viewability.”

So how to build a better mobile strategy? It begins with our mobile revolution.

Between 2000 to 2006, when mobile first came through as a touch-point, the role of mobile was basically push marketing.

“The only thing you could do was to push out messages,” he said.

Then from 2007 to 2013, when the smartphone first launched, the role of mobile was an extension of the PC.

“You started to do more rich media display advertising, videos and gaming opportunities as well. Our phone suddenly became an internet multimedia device, which was why 3G and 4G suddenly became so important for everyone.”

And now, in 2014, the role of mobile has become an ecosystem.

“We have both media and platform opportunities, and you have an exploding device market where the price of technology was not prohibited to people to get rich experiences on mobile phones.”

The surge of 3G, 4G, super fast LTE, as well as public access to Wi-Fi, Lee added, means the rich experiences that brands want to deliver to consumers, and what consumers are expecting, are not prevented from a technology point of view.

“We need to stop taking mobile as just another digital channel. It’s not a vertical media platform, it’s a horizontal ecosystem. We have to embrace the horizontality from mobile, which means looking at how mobile affects, and is affected by every other medium.”

He suggested marketers to break down silos when looking at touch-points such as focusing on how OOH advertising impacts on mobile search traffic.

And that, mobile data weighs heavily to achieving digital marketing excellence as a whole.

From real-time location to the frequency of visits to specific areas, mobile data helps brands to deliver a much richer, more tailored advertising experience, Lee said.

“Smartphones gives brands smart data.

“You can get started by looking at content, location interest, and pairing them with offline data. You can also start pulling together detailed user profiles based on mobile data to build targeted mobile campaigns.”

As key takeaways, Lee suggested that brands should stop running disruptive ad formats that generate poor quality engagement, such as accidental clicks; and to start implementing mobile-specific native capabilities and features such as GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer and swipe navigation.

Photo courtesy: Shutterstock

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