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Connected cars, loyalty and programmatic rule 2015 mobile advertising opportunities

NEW YORK ? Advertising executives at Mobile Marketer?s Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 conference discussed where they see mobile heading in 2015, naming loyalty programs, connected cars and programmatic as three potentially lucrative areas for brands to leverage. 

During the ?Advertising: Where Are the Budgets?? session, the executives highlighted the necessity of mobile-optimized creative as small to mid-sized brands? television advertisements? effectiveness takes a sharp nosedive. Entering into cross-partnerships with loyalty programs, such as Walgreens? relationship with wearable fitness device Fitbit, can also yield higher brand awareness and ultimately culminate in more sales.

?The mobile industry need ? and now has ? an irrefutable fact base analysis of mobile?s value relative to channels based on brands? business goals,? said Greg Stuart, CEO, Mobile Marketing Association. ?You have to have media at an optimized level.?

Mobile opportunities
The executives agreed that one of 2015?s biggest opportunities is available for agency clients and brands seeking to invest budgets in channels that will reach a wider audience of consumers.

?The biggest opportunity is not for us, but for clients to stop putting money in channels that are dying,? said Fernando Espejel, vice president and director of digital platforms, FCB Chicago. ?TV is a dinosaur.?

Marketers must invest in the most effective media channels to receive the best return on investment, and mobile continues to remain a top contender for enticing on-the-go consumers. However, brands must ensure that they are not using the same ad across every platform; ads on iPhones and iPads are increasingly more customized than ads on television.

?The creative element is in and of itself a skill,? said Andy Maskin, advertising consultant. ?Agencies must learn to execute it properly.

?To optimize for the new world where everyone is on their phone doesn?t mean flipping a switch, it means retooling skill sets and retooling cultures.?

Millennials are arguably the demographic of individuals most familiar with mobile and how it works, meaning that brands or marketers working with younger creative teams should heavily consider ideas brought forth, despite a potential lack of traditional advertising methods.

Connected cars are also set to take off in 2015 as the line between mobile devices and automobile dashboards continues to blur. The executives predicted that consumers will demand more mobile application features to be implemented into their vehicles to enable more convenience.

Loyalty and wearables
Leveraging loyalty programs will still be a top tactic in 2015, especially if a wearable integration is possible. The executives named the Walgreen?s partnership with fitness device Fitbit as a great strategy, as Walgreens will now reward shoppers based on their Fitbit points.

?Bringing things back around to loyalty is a really important piece of the puzzle,? Mr. Maskin said.  ?A way mobile can crack driving sales in an attributable way is integrating with loyalty programs for large retailers, CPG and so forth.

?The consumer gets their discount and the retailer gets the sale, but also gets trackability.?

However, integrating with a wearable may not be in every brand?s best interest.

?The display ad on them is very limited,? Mr. Maskin said. ?The best you will get is a branded app experience.

?It really isn?t for every brand. For Walgreens, it makes sense thematically with the brand; we?re talking about fitness. It has to fit into the big idea and it?s a more constrained space than a screen-based device.?

Programmatic is also imperative for agencies to understand to better assist their clients.

?When we look at any campaign, it?s a parallel path of content creation and content distribution,? Mr. Espejel said. ?Long gone are the days of lightning strikes in a bottle.

?We look at numbers and that informs how we make the creative. We have to create platform-specific pieces of content for YouTube, for Facebook, for banner ads.?

?Programmatic for people not in the media agency world is a really big deal,? Mr. Maskin said. ?I think programmatic is going to be a tremendous force in mobile and in desktop.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York