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You’re probably doing mobile ads all wrong, warns top Facebook exec

Marketers need to completely rethink adverts before they put them on mobile screens, advised Facebook’s group industry director Paul McCrory.

McCrory was speaking alongside American Express VP Trudie Newcomb at Mumbrella’s Finance Marketing Summit in a session titled ‘The Last Days of Last Click’.

McCrory (centre) on stage with Newcomb and Mumbrella’s Simon Canning

The pair revealed how campaigns must be bigger and faster in order to capture readers’ attention on the go, and also referred to new research that shows how customers are increasingly happy to switch devices mid-task – something that has made tracking how users get to the point of buying difficult.

McCrory began by explaining how phones went from an irrelevance in Facebook’s finances to its biggest driver of profit.

“Five years ago we didn’t make a dollar out of mobile. Now it’s 90% of our revenue. So we had to proceed and be bold.

“Mobile technology is changing everything and putting people in control. Now your phone helps you date, shop and plan your journey. The interesting part is that mobile can be everything: the medium and the product.

“Where else can you advertise and service somebody by a chat bot but then move all the way through to buying the products?” McCroy said. “But you can’t ignore it: mobile is massive and it’s getting bigger.”

McCrory showed the audience a video demonstrating how users can read up to 400 words per minute on a phone because they are holding it up close and still. He argued that smartphone ads must quickly grab attention because of the nature of the medium.

He also pointed out that successful mobile campaigns are obsessed with working well on social media feeds.

“Before Facebook there wasn’t Facebook. So now we’re on a bus thumbing through stories. The companies that make their adverts work, as we call it, build for feed.”

McCrory: Mobile can be everything 

He pointed out that today people use multiple devices for a single task. Customers may, for instance, research a product to buy on their desktop computer at work, then buy it on their mobile on the way home.

“People search for something before they buy. A lot of discovery is happening through that process. If you don’t measure it, you don’t know the value.”

Newcomb then took to the stage to show how Amex’s research had influenced the brand’s latest campaign showing how the company discovered that 50% of people have three devices.

“Between 40% and 60% of people start on one device and finish on another,” said Newcomb. “We realised that we were over-indexing by 31% – there were desktop conversations that people started on their mobile phones.”

So the business focussed on adapting its marketing strategy to deal with this new reality: “We haven’t reduced our media spend but have moved it around. We made changes this quarter and have got fantastic results.”

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