Earlier this week, our Games Account manager Jamie Williams took to the Mobile Venture Summit stage in Los Angeles. Her panel was called “How to Target and Grow Mobile Users”, and it explored the key acquisition and retention challenges marketers face in a mobile-focused world. The end result was a fascinating discussion that crossed industry backgrounds, thanks to DraftKing’s Jayne Pimentel Peressini, LegalZoom’s Chelsea Schulz, and IMVU’s Lomit Patel.
Throughout the panel, one recurring theme was that mobile-first marketing is about far more than placing ads on mobile platforms. Brands must put in the research and effort to find out their audience’s specific needs, and how they interact with the platform itself. Even once that is established, developing engaging creatives that integrate with the mobile experience can be a skill set in itself.
While mobile devices are certainly disruptive, they don’t always disrupt audiences in the ways you’d expect. Schulz learned that at LegalZoom when the brand took a mobile-first approach, only to find out that audiences used mobile platforms for informational purposes, not purchasing. Desktop power users remained a high-value target audience, and LegalZoom needed to shift its strategy accordingly. “It really made us step back and retest how we’re reaching these audiences and what we’re putting in front of them,” Schulz explained. “What we expected them to go after wasn’t what they wanted.”
In this spirit, understanding your audience is the most important mobile strategy for brands. Users are acquired through many avenues, from gaming to social media, and each platform acts as an audience to itself. As such, marketers need to use different optimization for each platform, and specifically target creatives to increase engagement. “Customers will use social media, but not necessarily buy anything through Facebook,” Schulz said. “We have to take a step back and find an opportunity to develop the brand.”
It’s also essential to use put thought into your creatives. Mobile marketers are seeing success across several formats – be it video, static images, or playables – but they still need to reflect the needs of users. “We’ve seen success with ads that emphasize user-generated avatars and virtual worlds,” Patel said of creative that engages with gaming audiences.
Video is one of the largest creative formats, but playables are also showing promise. Peressini noted that one playable ad was so fun, users complained because it was more exciting than the actual game. That said, playables are still an emerging creative that is still undergoing development, which can be time-consuming — DraftKing has already been experimenting for an entire year. “Playables is a long game that requires testing,” Peressini said. “You have to be willing to commit for years on mobile playables to make it work.”
Despite these challenges, the experiences of Schulz, Peressini, and Patel bore striking similarities, and shows there is more common ground between mobile marketing industries than one might think. That’s why we’re thankful events like Mobile Venture Summit exist to bring us together and generate new strategies that uplift the entire field. We’d like to thank our panelists and everyone who made this summit such a success!