Move fast in B2B mobile marketing — but be ready to stumble

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If you don’t have mobile marketing strategy in place, it’s high time to get started.

According to new survey research by VentureBeat, B2B mobile marketing budgets are set to jump 36% this year — 11% in the next six months, and another 17.5% over 12 months.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Just look around: we are all increasingly hitched to our smart phones. comScore reported earlier this year that Americans now spend more time (46.6%) of their total Internet time with mobile apps than the desktop Web, and it’s a safe bet that figure is even higher now.

In most marketers minds, the terms “digital” and “mobile” really ought to be interchangeable.

The problem is that in many ways, the practice of mobile marketing is still a very different beast.

In an oft-cited statistic, mobile ads perform four to five times better than online ads in key metrics like brand favourability, awareness and purchase intent, according to advertising measurement firm InsightExpress. Mobile ads are the source of most of Facebook’s revenue growth and 81% of Twitter’s.

The unfortunate reality is that your marketing automation tools are best suited for Web-based content marketing and inbound lead-gen programs. On mobile, native apps absorb most of users’ attention (see Facebook and Twitter above). The amount of time people spend in apps has increased by 21% over the last year — comScore says only 8.3% of the time are people connecting to the Internet via a mobile browser.

As VentureBeat notes, tools such as Sumotext, ThumbVista, or RevMobile can be difficult to integrate into CRM and marketing automation tools. In its research, nearly 40 percent of respondents cited marketing software tools as the key issue holding them back.

Analytics is also hugely problematic.

Martin Kihn, a research director at Gartner, says mobile analytics is significantly harder than big browser analytics. “People are harder to track on their mobile devices,” he explains in a recent post. The cookie-like identifiers provided by Apple and a consortium led by Google are incompatible and not widely used. “There are also statistical methods of tying people to devices, with varying accuracy, but targeting people both for marketing efficiency and deeper insights remains a lingering challenge.” None of this made better by a rapid proliferation of mobile and app analytics platforms that Kihn says, “resembles Web analytics back in, say, 2002.”

So, the tools are lacking and the analytics will be a frustration. But mobile cannot be ignored.

Similar to the Web, the tools and analytics will come. For now, B2B marketers have little choice but to optimize everything for mobile, begin to embrace mobile ad spending — and be prepared for a bumpy ride.

 

Photo: Robert S. Donovan

 

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Andrew Wahl

Andrew Wahl

Senior Content Strategist at Dash Digital Group
Toronto-area writer, editor and digital marketer who creates content with Dash Digital Group. Former senior writer and columnist with Canadian Business magazine.