Mobile marketing ‘where desktop was in 1999’ admits AdRoll’s head of mobile growth


The head of mobile for retargeting advertising firm AdRoll has said mobile advertising today “is where desktop advertising was in 1999”, urging more businesses to rethink their strategies to be “mobile first, but not mobile only”.

US-based head of mobile growth Ben Witte is in Australia to launch a new technology AdRoll claims will end marketers’ struggles with mobile advertising and allow them to target consumers across multiple devices.

Speaking to Mumbrella Witte claimed its new ‘cross device’ technology will solve problems of brands not being able to get in front of consumers on mobile, allowing them to track consumers and reach audiences whatever device they are using.

He said the technology uses “deep integrations” with Facebook and Twitter to leverage anonymous ID information from the social networks and identify users as they move between their desktop and mobile devices.

“More than 70 per cent of purchases start on one device and finish on another so being able to reach your audience no matter where they are is increasingly important to today’s marketers,” Witte said. “This cross device solution will enable us to serve the correct ads with 1oo per cent accuracy to mobile devices based on what the user was looking at on their desktop. It’s all about reaching your users wherever they go.”

It will enable brands to “stay in front” of consumers even when they switch devices, he added, which will provide a seamless customer experience and ultimately increase conversion rates.

Despite the rapid growth of digital ad spend and online transactions, Witte agreed that marketers have struggled with mobile, suggesting mobile advertising today “is where desktop advertising was in 1999”. But with the technological infrastructure beginning to come to fruition for mobile, brands should soon see better returns.

“A lot of the problems have to do with targeting. You couldn’t do the granular targeting that was available on desktop in the mobile environment until very recently or identify users across devices. That’s the the first solution we are focused on,” he said.

“Marketing is about being where consumers are, and as eyeballs and consumption shifts to mobile it’s important for brands to be there. One of the challenges we are seeing is that businesses have not transformed their shopping experiences for the mobile device. It’s in businesses’ best interests to rethink their experiences to be mobile first, but not mobile only.”

AdRoll Australia and New Zealand managing director Ben Sharp said while marketers have “challenges”, the mobile market is developing.  “While there is maybe not as much understanding on how best to leverage mobile as a marketing channel a lot more marketers are starting to dip their toe in the water and get great results,” he said.

Witte added that while the screen size of mobiles remain a challenge, advertisers are becoming more innovative. “We have made a lot strides but it’s still early days and in the coming years there’ll be contineed innovation. And phones are getting bigger which will enable better ads to be served,” he said.

“A phone is more personal, you are touching it, it’s always on and users feel a sense of ownership so there are new ad experiences that we can create based on location and the fact you are touching it rather than clicking with a mouse. These are the areas where we can innovate.”

Steve Jones


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