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Has mobile really replaced TV as the first screen for consumers?

Consumers, according to Flurry, now spend more time on their mobile devices than watching their TVs ? making mobile video more powerful than ever. If the report?s finding is accurate, marketers should accelerate their efforts to get up to speed on mobile to engage increasingly device-agnostic consumers.

?The reality is that the mobile trend has been growing 50 percent per year for the last 15 years,? said Ramsey Masri, CEO of OtherLevels, a mobile marketing automation company. ?There are currently 5.1 billion mobile devices in the world, and we?re approaching full saturation for every human who walks the earth. 

?And what?s also important about this trend is that the primary mode of interaction for millennials in the 18-35 demographic is the mobile device,? he said.

Right here, right now
If mobile truly has become the consumer?s first screen of choice, attribute it to the emergence of the ?right here, right now? generation for which mobile is the go-to mode of communication. 

The changing of the guard was inevitable to those who saw consumers? convenience-driven embrace of mobile as significant.

Kia second-screen app.

?The consumer is now always connected, whether it's out shopping or at home on the couch watching television,? said Tom Sather, senior director of email research at Return Path.

?Nielsen states that 84 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens while watching TV.? 

Before mobile video can be crowned king at the expense of TV, several things still need to play out: formats for native advertising, how native works with programmatic as well as how to effectively advertise on and monetize videos.

?It will be interesting to see who turns into the new cable operators with this evolution ? will it be the ISP or other players in the space?? said Tim Mayer, chief marketing officer at Trueffect. 

Marketers should use mobile to engage consumers with owned media such as YouTube and social, and then amplify messages through earned media, experts say.

?Mobile budgets should reflect this shift and given budget to help develop audiences across this converged media landscape,? Mr. Sather said.
As for how much to ratchet up the mobile budget, OtherLevels? Mr. Masri recommends a 40 percent allocation.

Others have difficulty saying what percentage of budget should be going to mobile.

A second-screen campaign from Coke

?Because we?re buying audiences, programming and content environments cross-platform for the most part, we don?t look at mobile as a percentage of the buy,? said Mike McLaughlin, vice president of digital media at Palisades MediaGroup.

?Mobile devices are simply one of many channels by which we can reach the target consumer in a platform-agnostic fashion.?

As the shift proceeds from TV to mobile video, marketers should be constantly testing what works and what doesn?t with mobile always being top of mind.

?Marketers also must conform brand messaging and engagement tactics to fit the medium?s form and function,? said Justin Choi, CEO of Nativo. ?This means understanding which ad products and investments are the right fit, and how best to utilize them as part of the broader media mix.

?Just because an ad product or marketing tactic is offered in-market does not mean it?s a good idea for the brand nor the medium,? he said. 

?As mobile ad products evolve and integrate more closely with a consumer?s mobile experience ? something consumers consider extremely personal ? it?s imperative that brands are thoughtful of how they insert themselves into the experience such that the outcome is complementary and positive rather than intrusive and negative for the consumer.?

Adding value
Marketers must challenge themselves to add value and utility to the user experience through content.

?Communicating through content is an art, it?s what marketing has always been about,? Mr. Choi said. ?For marketers, mobile, and any advanced digital advertising product for that matter, is an opportunity to get back to what they have always been good at: brand storytelling.?

CBS News' mobile streaming service, CBSN.

?In this mobile environment, marketers have to really understand and embed in their teams a deep mobile awareness,? Mr. Masri said. ?They either have to hire for that or contract for that, or learn it themselves, if they can.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.