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SessionM exec: Rewards alone will not drive mobile loyalty

NEW YORK – A SessionM executive at the ad:tech New York 2013 conference said that simply relying on a reward to lure a consumer to click on a mobile advertisement is only half of the mobile advertising equation.

During “The Rules of Engagement: How to Drive Mobile Brand Loyalty” session, executives from Millward Brown and SessionM spoke about the role of mobile for increasing brand favorability that sticks with consumers after they click on a mobile ad. Rewards-based mobile advertising has received a significant amount of attention from marketers, but brands also need to be thinking about how incentivized advertising plays into a bigger mobile advertising strategy.

“A reward is still only half of the story,” said Deborah Powsner, vice president of marketing and consumer insights at SessionM, Boston.

“After a brand uses a reward to capture those users’ attention and open up their receptivity to the brand message, it is still up to the ad content and the ad approach itself to sell that message through and inspire the mobile user to take action or not,” she said.

“What we found is that for the ad approach to be truly engaging and for it to inspire this further activity, the approach must be well-timed, relevant and an option.”

Incentivizing consumers
When it comes to effective mobile advertising, it is all about choice for the consumer.

Ms. Powsner presented data from a recent study from SessionM and Millward Brown, which found that 92 percent of mobile users said that being able to choose the reward received for interacting with a mobile ad was important.

For example, consumers in the study who received a reward for a gift card to a brand that they did not shop from said that the ad was not perceived as any better than a banner advertisement, despite the reward component.

Timing is also important because if an ad interrupts what a consumer is doing, it will be viewed as intrusive.

Take a news or video app, for example. Advertisers should serve up an ad after consumers are finished reading an article or watching a video to make a mobile experience interactive.

One example of a brand leveraging mobile video to hit consumers at key in-app moments is Ford with a campaign to promote the automaker’s Fiesta car. Consumers could pick from four different videos to watch.

By segmenting videos into smaller sections, more that 70 percent of the consumers that watched the video ads chose to watch three or more videos.

Consumers also prefer rewards that let them choose how to use it, such as a gift card versus access to content. This is because mobile users feel as if they should have access to content regardless of interacting with an ad, so it is not viewed as a value-based reward.

Interestingly, consumers want to be able to predict the reward that they receive. Only 12 percent of consumers in SessionM’s study wanted the reward to be a surprise.

Therefore, marketers need to be clear and upfront about what a value-based reward offers consumers and how they can access it.

Mobile’s value impact
Joline McGoldrick, research director of Millward Brown’s digital practice Dynamic Logic, New York, also spoke on how consumers perceive the value of mobile advertising.

To build relationships, marketers need to be more thoughtful and deliberate about mobile.

For example, mobile users have a more personal relationship with the medium than television and print. Therefore, the creative needs to be more personalized and contextual.

This translates to three rules for mobile engagement, per the Millward Brown executive.

These rules are putting people first, offering consistency and control, and providing upfront value to help consumers.

“Building mobile loyalty is about more than just exposure to an ad,” Ms. McGoldrick said.

“It’s about more than just your attitudes to the brand in the moment,” she said. “It has to be big enough that you want to remain engaged with the brand even after the ad exposure,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York