April 2012 Archives

A Method to the Mobile Madness

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Mobile media is booming. According to the IAB’s latest figures (released only yesterday), 2011 US mobile ad revenues reached $1.6 billion, up a remarkable 149 percent over 2010.

In addition to tracking the dollars and cents, the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence has undertaken a series of research briefs looking at the role of mobile in consumers’ lives, especially as it relates to major events (Super Bowl XLVI, holiday shopping). This week, we’ve released the latest piece in that series, looking at mobile and the NCAA’s March Madness 2012 tournament.

For this project, the IAB teamed up with Millennial Media to show that the real winners of the college basketball season were fans who kept their smartphones and tablets by their side. From checking scores and watching highlights to interacting with friends, family and alumni, consumers turned to their mobile devices as a key screen for engaging with content, driving overall traffic on the Millennial Media platform up over 10 percent during the games.

Our survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults reveals that nearly three out of four (79%) March Madness viewers who own mobile devices used them in some way to keep up with the tournament. A significant number of those people (69%) agreed that having a mobile device has made it convenient to follow the tournament, and 21% said that they purchased a mobile app specifically related to March Madness.

For enthusiastic fans of March Madness—people who agreed that they are passionate about the tournament this year because a favorite team was in it—“mobile madness” was even more the norm: 88 percent of them used mobile devices for a March Madness-related activity, and 26 percent said they followed March Madness primarily by using their smartphone.


Data from Millennial Media’s network uncovered keen usage of mobile during the tournament. On the opening day, when excitement was at its peak, impressions in sports apps were up over 30 percent relative to one week earlier, and from 7-11pm ET, social media app impressions were up over 40 percent. In the early days of the tournament, finance was the leading advertising vertical on the Millennial Media platform, followed by telecom, entertainment and retail & restaurants.

Mobile devices clearly upped the game for fans of March Madness, and these findings should also be relevant looking ahead to similar huge, multiday sporting events like the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer tournament and of course this summer’s Olympic games in London. Brand marketers need to know that mobile should be a key part of their strategy to reach fans effectively during these exciting, engaging events.

About the Author


Joe Laszlo

Joe Laszlo is Deputy Director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the IAB.


The IAB Games Committee recently hosted a panel of gaming experts to discuss Gamification and how brands can utilize this approach to connect and engage their consumers. The panel included:

The main takeaway? Make the task fun. Some of the best ways to do this is to leverage digital platforms such as social, mobile and video to reward consumers for their actions and behaviors. While this seems very basic, it is easy for Gamification to quickly turn into “Chorification” if brands aren’t careful. Asking consumers to complete too many things or jump through too many hoops can make the game more of a chore ultimately having an adverse effect on your brand.


Peer Schneider talked about how traditional promotions such as a sweepstakes can often be mistaken for Gamification. Simply entering a sweepstakes isn’t fun. In the end, it’s only fun for the winner. Gamification is only effective when users receive an immediate benefit or reward for their participation.

According to Geoff Greenblatt, one of the key things is to use Gamification for the right purpose. Gamification is best used to retain consumers, not obtain them. This isn’t a strategy for reaching new consumers but rather one to keep your consumer base loyal and engaged with your brand. Gamification isn’t a replacement for high reach ad campaigns, it should be used to compliment your overarching media strategy allowing you to tap into your brand advocates and evangelists in a powerful way.

Bill Young explained that picking the right reward for the environment is just as important to a successful Gamification campaign. He used a recent Progressive campaign in The Sims Social on Facebook as an example. Progressive has their superstore character “Flo” take The Sims Social users through a series of actions within the game that exemplified their brand but still maintained the integrity of the user experience. Players could complete tasks like “getting an insurance quote” on the computer in the virtual world and were rewarded with a Progressive themed Unicorn. While a unicorn doesn’t have a direct correlation to Progressive, it was something that was highly coveted to the players therefore a valuable and effective reward provided by Progressive.


While rewards often come in the form of currency or items, in many cases it can be better to reward consumers with things that can enhance their life experience. Enriching content or ranks and leaderboards can provide just as much reward as a tangible object. Nike+ has done a great job of this by allowing users to compete against themselves and others offering self-improvement as the reward.


The best approach is to gamify existing human behaviors in order to keep your consumer engaged. In the end, Gamification follows the same rules as any other campaign—it’s important to be educated in your strategy, align it with your objectives and identify how you intend to measure the success. Beyond that—just make it fun!

About the Author


Joy Taylor

Joy Taylor is Co-Chair of the IAB Games Committee and Global Marketing Director for Media Solutions at Electronic Arts (EA), where she manages the teams responsible for ad product, sales development, insights, and trade marketing. She works closely with all of the company’s game studios to develop the right solutions for all of their external brand partners. She is responsible for all platforms, including mobile, social, Web and console offerings on content, ranging from Need For Speed to Pogo to The Sims and Madden NFL.

Prior to EA, Ms. Taylor was responsible for marketing in the media division of Six Apart, a social software and services company. Prior to that, she spent several years in sales and marketing at Knight Ridder and also managed marketing efforts for key accounts like Radisson Hotels at Carlson Companies. Ms. Taylor began her career in digital media at Interactive Corporation, where she conducted consumer and customer marketing for Citysearch and Ticketmaster.


2012 is fast becoming the year of Sight, Sound and Motion, if you haven’t already noticed. The proliferation of tablets is helping to fuel the flames around the globe. But the content bonfire is happening beyond any of their borders.

This year opened with “the money shot” in entertainment — the Super Bowl, followed by the Jeremy Lin “Linsanity” passing the ball to the Hunger Games. Continuing with that sports analogy, The Olympics will soon drive down the middle and setup the assist to the summer political conventions rabidly known for brand spin and personal storytelling.

Fresh premium entertainment content premiering on powerhouse webcasters holds the potential to redefine TV this fall and it is anyone’s guess what the holiday season will hold for innovation in retailing, travel, and shopping. As Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring leaders will tell you, the revolution will be streamed. So where does that leave those of us in commercial messaging?


Last week at the IAB Digital Video Agency Day we scratched the surface of the some of the thorniest question facing us as an industry: Measurement, Creativity, and the role of Digital Video (“DV”) in media planning. For various reasons each of these questions currently impedes the sector’s growth potential. For some it is a matter of reducing friction in supply chain, for others, the story lies in unlocking the potential of the medium to speak with a voice we don’t hear in other platforms. A few themes emerged, and I had three key takeaways:

1. DV needs to be a higher priority in media planning.

It is a front line strategy, not an afterthought. Savvy marketers understand that translating a :30 into a :15 rarely unlocks the platform’s optimal potential. Leading creative executions from Droga5, HUGE, M ss ng P eces, Anomaly, and Blast Radius displayed cutting edge visuals with an eye toward biometrics, social media, and gameification — trends that will define the space. Marketers are increasingly seeing themselves as content producers who need to fill the pipes every week — if not daily — with fresh content on Facebook Pages and fan blogs. Agencies continue to be the ad sherpa into the heights of the unknown reaches of social marketing. The need for greater innovation was urgent and clear.

2. Measurement is a blueprint, tools build the house.

We must improve measurement, and work with publishing partners who control differentiated technology. Not only in theory, but in practice. Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) laid out the market case for a shift toward a viewable impression and demographic GRP. These concepts, in conjunction with upcoming pilots, resonated with audience members desperate to have clearer ROI metric across all media. At times as an industry we tend to get ahead of ourselves, focusing on the wish-list items as opposed to the must-haves. We need to be able to compare apples to apples first, before diving deeper into discussions about Granny Smith versus Red Delicious.

Measurement heavyweights comScore and Nielsen opine on measurement tools and audience tracking. We still have a great deal of ground to cover in that direction, particularly on the mobile front. The MRC will play a large hand regulating the means of this new digital currency. The new coin of the realm must then be considered as legal tender throughout the empire, in order to be successful.

3. Creativity turns heads and wallets.

The price is what you pay, value is what you get - invest in creative and choice media to feature your distinct point-of-view. The flexibility, scale and budget effectiveness of DV allows the medium to be both cavalry and ninja in the attack. The afternoon’s creative showcase underscored this perspective.

We will be debating many of these challenges further at the IAB Digital Video Marketplace this Tuesday, April 10, as we address many of these challenges and strive to drive innovations in the digital video ecosystem. Come join us!

About the Author


Seneca Mudd

Seneca Mudd directs IAB’s programs and member initiatives for the Digital Video, Networks and Exchanges, Social Media, and Multicultural Committees and Councils. He specializes in industrial solutions, market development, and revenue advocacy among the advertising agency community. He can be reached on Twitter @muddzhlinger.