Creative and production agencies ‘don’t understand mobile’, says GroupM’s head of mobile

The majority of creative and production agencies don’t understand mobile and don’t want to because they leave it in the hands of publishers to create, Group M Australia’s head of mobile has said.

Speaking at Celtra’s Creative Breakfast Briefing, Venessa Hunt said “no wonder” agencies and publishers were “confused about mobile”.

“If you look at how many players are in this [mobile] and then you can see how many media agencies there are, how many publishers there are, no wonder we are confused about mobile.

“We can all turn around and say we want to be a part of it but we end up with disjointed ideas for our clients,” she said.

“It also creates an incredible skills gap, and this is a really important one especially for creative agencies.

“I’ve seen a huge gap, for the majority of creative agencies and production agencies, that don’t understand mobile and don’t want to, because the publisher is building it, and that I think is insane.

“We are talking about the biggest growth area in digital, why would you want to outsource that somewhere?”

“Unfortunately that leads to mobile is too hard, mobile is too complicated, too difficult to build and our clients find that,” she said.

Hunt: “We end up with disjointed ideas for our clients”

Richard Knott, regional director for Asia Pacific at Celtra said the issue with mobile was an “ownership problem”.

“It is not an individual’s problem, it’s an ownership problem in general. There seems to be some kind of disconnect between media, data and creativity.

“Creative has not quite fully embraced that technology and we are certainly missing some of that idea.

“It’s time to combine the technology with the creative.”

He said “dynamic creative” – building one ad with every single asset within it – was the way forward.

“Dynamic creative” an effective form of advertising for mobile.

Speaking with Mumbrella, Hunt added the mobile industry had overcomplicated the medium.

“You can’t design something to fit with a behaviour if you don’t understand the behaviour in the first place so the first bit is to understand the behaviour.

“I think the mobile industry has overcomplicated it and I take that on board as part of the mobile industry,” she said.

She said as the focus shifted to mobile screens and their size, adland lost sight of the great ideas that could be executed using the technology.

“We focused so much on the screen size and shrinking things down, where it’s not really about the size of the screen. It’s about the actual human and how we interact with those mediums.”

Hunt – who said 73% of all digital time was on mobile phones with only 27% on desktop – said the reason marketers were still thinking about desktop-first was a “legacy of advertising in general”.

“We went through the same thing 10 years ago when people were thinking about offline and on digital. It’s part of a legacy of advertising in general, and content in general,” she said.

“We tend to follow the eyeballs instead of getting in front of the eyeballs. As eyeballs start to move we tend to justify that and start to move things over in that direction.

“The jump to mobile is a lot slower. A lot of the things we did instead of jumping to think about that behavioural element, and how do our consumers look at editorial content, we thought about how do we look at things on Facebook, and Google.”

She added it was “lazy to assume” mobile was someone else’s problem.

“If you work in digital right now, it is your problem.

“We’ve seen people turn around over the years and say ‘Well it’s such a small part of what we do, and there’s the mentality that because it’s a small screen it’s a small part of what we do’.

“That’s nuts, that doesn’t make sense to me. We still assume it’s the last thing that gets done.

“Until we put that further up into the strategy, and it becomes a strategy discussion, then it becomes everyone’s problem,” she explained.

Mumbrella’s Mobile Marketing Masterclass on July 26 at Doltone House in Sydney will tackle what’s working in mobile marketing as well as metrics, beacons and the future of apps. For more information, and to buy tickets, click here


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