Caroline Ndirangu

Business Unit Head at iProspect Kenya

Smart phone

There are a few common assumptions about mobile marketing that can impact how brands interact with their customers. Caroline Ndirangu, Business Unit Head at iProspect Kenya, debunks a few

If you work in digital advertising, at some point in your career you’ve probably told a client that they need a digital-first strategy. By now most clients realise that if you don’t have a mobile strategy, you are missing out on millions of potential consumers and on retaining the customers you already have, because our daily lives revolve around mobile phones. If you’re wondering how you can improve a client’s mobile presence, then these are some myths to serve as a reminder of the basics of mobile marketing.

Myth 1: An app is a mobile strategy

These days, I rarely meet clients who jump at the chance to create an app unless it’s an absolute necessity for their business, for example a bank or telecommunications company. Many people quickly realise how useless an expensive app can be, even when created with all the right intentions. But there are still some who believe an app equates to a mobile strategy, and I don’t blame them. Research shows that there will be a 66% smartphone penetration in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025, which is impressive considering the demographics in these countries. It’s even more interesting that worldwide, 57% of all digital-media usage comes from apps, but with thousands of apps being built annually, the success rate is not impressive. It is estimated that only 1 out of 10,000 apps succeed, and most apps fail because they were built in isolation.

As with traditional advertising, you need the right media mix to reach your audience at an optimum level, and the same sentiment applies to mobile. So before building an app, make sure that it fits within an ecosystem that makes sense for your business.

Myth 2: You need a mobile-only strategy

In a world where the lines between how people access, view and engage with content continue to blur, it doesn’t make sense to develop a mobile strategy in isolation or to rely too much on something that can provide insight into only one aspect of the consumer’s touch points. We know that top-of-mind awareness is delivered through a strong media strategy that covers sufficient reach, recency and impact across multiple touch points. A consumer might view an ad on TV in the morning as she prepares for work and see a billboard of the product on her way to work. A banner of the same ad might pop up on her desktop as she researches something on the internet at work. Finally, as she is flipping through social media at night, she will see the same ad and that will convince her to click through to the website, find out more and actually complete a purchase.

Myth 3: Mobile marketing is the same thing as mobile advertising

We use mobile marketing and advertising interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. The former is about connecting with your audience through their devices – wherever they are – ideally in a manner, and at a time, that maximises the effectiveness of the brand message. The latter is a subset of mobile marketing that includes paying for advertising space as part of that mobile connection.

The way in which a consumer fully experiences your brand on their phone is mobile marketing. Some key considerations are:

  • Is your website mobile-friendly? 
  • If you have an app, does the content help your consumer to make a purchasing decision?
  • Does your app simplify the consumer’s journey? 
  • Is your social content engaging? 
  • Are people talking about you in blogs and think pieces? 
  • Are you easy to find when someone searches for you? 

Mobile advertising is just a piece of this pie.

Myth 4: Mobile users are all the same

Can you imagine if everyone actually took the action you intended them to the first time they saw your ad on Facebook? Your ROA would be off the charts. Unfortunately, this utopia does not exist because all mobile users are not the same. A big misconception is that consumers primarily use mobile phones on the go, so we tend to design our mobile strategies with this in mind. However, a study showed that 68% of mobile impressions were viewed within the home, and there are a myriad motivations for using a mobile phone, which all vary depending on the consumer. Assuming that all mobile users are the same could lead to failure, so it’s better to take a deeper dive into your audience and figure out how best to reach them.

Myth 5: Mobile-marketing technology is evil

Even with everything we know as advertisers and as a society, some people are still sceptical about mobile technology. It’s exciting when you can target based on your consumer’s precise location, and location-enabled technology is celebrated when it does cool things like finding your phone or directing you to the precise location to which you are navigating. However, there are other intrusive things that happen, such as a ad following you everywhere else you go for the rest of your life just because of that one time you were curious about how much a hotel in Dubai would set you back. It’s easy to forget that <consent> forms a huge part of how these technologies work. Data-protection laws are strict and have been adapted by lawful businesses, so mobile technology is not evil, and we give consent many times without realising it, even with a small thing like clicking an ‘Accept Cookies’ button. Of course there are companies that will buy your data in unscrupulous ways, but as data-protection laws become more stringent, mobile technology will continue to be used for good and consumers will learn to trust brands that have earned it.