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Maximizing mobile’s potential: Telefonica’s Simon Birkenhead expert shows the way

An expert in mobile adver­tis­ing has been offer­ing advice on the future direc­tion of mobile cam­paigns – and for any­one inter­est­ed in media jobs in this sec­tor, he’s well worth lis­ten­ing to.

As Direc­tor of Glob­al Adver­tis­ing Sales at Tele­fon­i­ca Dig­i­tal, Simon Birken­head knows a thing or two about mobiles phones adver­tis­ing. And he thinks it’s in urgent need of evo­lu­tion, despite recent fig­ures sug­gest­ing mobile ad spend­ing is bur­geon­ing.

Mobile ad resis­tant cultures?

Impres­sive as they might at first sight appear, espe­cial­ly to novices in mobile adver­tis­ing media jobs, Birken­head thinks they con­ceal deep­er prob­lems which have to be addressed if the sec­tor is to gen­uine­ly thrive. Cit­ing new research from WIN/GIA and GSMA which sur­veyed 50,000 mobile users in 54 coun­tries, he pin­points some sig­nif­i­cant cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences in atti­tude. US con­sumers by and large are rel­a­tive­ly open to mobile adver­tis­ing and the use of their per­son­al data for tar­get­ing (espe­cial­ly if they think it’ll save them mon­ey). But across the pond in West­ern Europe, espe­cial­ly the UK and France, they’re a lot more resis­tant and tend to see lit­tle val­ue in mobile advertising.

Birken­head has some ideas up his sleeve about how to pro­mote more pos­i­tive atti­tudes toward mobile. Any­one con­sid­er­ing media jobs in mobile would do well to take them on board.

We need, he says, “to move on from untar­get­ed, blind adver­tis­ing to deliv­er a supe­ri­or mobile adver­tis­ing expe­ri­ence for con­sumers.” Birken­head men­tions the suc­cess of Telefonica’s intel­li­gent tar­get­ing solu­tions, which have yield­ed very pos­i­tive atti­tudes (83 per­cent of cus­tomers in its “O2 More Adver­tis­ing” pro­gram are either “quite” or “very” pos­i­tive when it comes to receiv­ing mar­ket­ing cam­paigns on their smartphones).

How to rev­o­lu­tion­ize mobile advertising

Cur­rent­ly, mobile dis­play cam­paigns account for 52 per­cent of mobile media spend, but 70 per cent are sold with­out any form of tar­get­ing. This is a mind-set which needs to change – the days of shoe­horn­ing ad for­mats designed for PCs onto mobile screens are over, he says. He has three proposals.

Step one: devel­op adver­tis­ing for­mats specif­i­cal­ly designed for mobile screens.

Step two: go for engage­ment and rel­e­van­cy. Use tar­get­ed, loca­tion-based ads that hook into con­sumer inter­ests and whereabouts.

Step three: make it eas­i­er for adver­tis­ers and agen­cies to col­lab­o­rate with mobile oper­a­tors. That’ll deliv­er mobile mar­ket­ing at scale.

Is this a rev­o­lu­tion in the making?

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