Adobe Summit EMEA: ‘Mobile Is The Canary In Your Digital Mineshaft’

Brands will be increasingly judged by how they serve seamless mobile experiences to consumers, advise Adobe Index and eConsultancy.

Adobe Summit EMEA: ‘Mobile Is The Canary In Your Digital Mineshaft’

“Mobile is not just a channel, it is the channel” by which brands will live or die, that was the stark warning from Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director of Adobe Digital Index.

Speaking at Adobe Summit, Gaffney pointed out that although the figures keep showing that mobile should be the focus for brands, not enough marketers are taking a mobile-first approach.

“Mobile is the canary in the mineshaft, which tells you how digitally capable your brands are,” she said. “It’s not a channel, it really is the channel, so brands must start thinking as if they are in a mobile-only world rather than a mobile-first world.”

Ashley Friedlein, founder of eConsultancy, reiterated Gaffney’s message that mobile is not just an important channel but fast becoming the only channel, and gave a piece of advice to marketers.

“Forget your desktop for a week, interact with your brand like a customer would on mobile only, and you’ll realise where the problems are,” he said.

“You’ll soon realise that you’ve got to let people get in and what they want to achieve without having to change channel. If your mobile apps don’t allow people to do everything in one place, then you have a huge problem.”

Voice And Biometrics Opportunity

Adobe Digital Index research shows that the issues consumers have with mobile are pointing the way to the huge technology opportunities offered in improving mobile experience. Top gripes consumers cite include having to constantly sign in to use apps, which then require they tap in data on a small screen.

“If last year was the year we were all excited about video, then this year has to be the year where we focus on voice,” she said.

“People have got used to speaking to Siri, but, to be honest, it sucks. So will the winner be Facebook, or Google, or maybe it’s going to be Amazon—they’re way ahead with its Echo device. The other huge opportunity is biometric log-on. People who have started using finger print recognition with apps that offer it, absolutely love it, but there’s a problem that some brands are concerned about security. Saving people from having to keep on adding their log-in details is a huge opportunity with mobile.”

Going Native

While voice and biometrics remain huge opportunities, one of the challenges for mobile markets is that publishers have not managed to monetise traffic to the same extent as they have on desktop. Huge traffic levels also mean inventory is cheap and so publishers are tempted to carry too many intrusive adverts on a page, forcing consumers to download ad blockers.

“People don’t miss advertising, they never ask ‘where have my ads gone?’” quipped Friedlein.

“So I really don’t think that people are right when they say that better targeting and more creative ads are the answer, because people aren’t after the adverts. The answer has to be native marketing, but that puts a lot of pressure on marketing teams to keep on coming up with content that they can distribute and promote. It’s not like an advert that can just be sent all over the mobile Internet, it’s a lot of hard work, but it has to be the answer.”

Consumer frustrations with mobile, then, are both driving the technology opportunities that will allow brands to offer more seamless experiences and also pushing advertisers to move away from banners and into middle-of-the-copy flow.