TIME TO MOBILIZE!

Companies should reach customers where they are – on the phone

The first form of advertising dates back to 2000 B.C. when Egyptians carved public notices into steel.

We create new print and online advertisements every day at the newspaper where I work. Advertising representatives visit with the creative editor to share their thoughts for an ad and convey what clients had in mind. Then the creative editor designs a first version to be taken back to the client. Hopefully, the client loves the design and all is well. If not, the ad rep comes back, visits with the creative editor again, and the process begins another cycle.

Even with the time involved in the back-and-forth to create the perfect print ad, I can’t imagine what the Egyptians went through!

Mashable posted an interesting timeline by infolinks that shows the evolution of advertising. Fast forward from the Egyptians to 1472 when the first print ad was created in England that advertised a prayer book for sale. Even further down the timeline, 1835 marked the appearance of automobiles and the idea of billboards.

After that time, the evolution of advertising began to move even more rapidly with innovative trends happening years and decades apart instead of centuries.

Photo | Robbyn BrooksThe first electric sign in Times Square was place there in 1882. Since then, the square has become the IT place for flashy billboards and advertisements.

Photo | Robbyn Brooks
The first electric sign in Times Square was place there in 1882. Since then, the square has become the IT place for flashy billboards and advertisements.

In 1973, Jules Verne used the first product placement when he named shipping companies in Around the World in 80 Days. In 1882, Times Square received its first electric sign. Sears began direct marketing in 1892 when the company sent out postcards and received 2,000 back with orders. In 1905, celebrity endorsements began, followed by “sex sells” advertisements, political propaganda, false advertising, television advertising and infomercials.

Jump ahead, once again to the magical 1994. Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan became household names. Major League baseball players went on strike. O.J. Simpson drove his white Bronco as the nation watched. AND, Internet advertising was born.

AT&T, Sprint and other companies began using banner ads. Pay-per-click advertising also appeared the same year, followed the next year by key word ads and then finally, mobile ads in 1997. The infolinks timeline ends in 2011 at a time when online advertising became the second budget priority for advertisers, worldwide.

Advertising clearly evolves to fit the lifestyle of consumers. We began driving, advertisers figured out how to get their messages across even on the open road. Cell phones became convenient. We can be reached at almost anytime by friends, family – and advertisers.

ComScore data shows that 50 percent of mobile users have smartphones. Showing, even further, the importance of the shift to digital and mobile advertising, 37 percent of website views happen on mobile devices instead of desktops.

Advertising Age interviewed the chief executive of Safeway, the tenth largest retailer in the country, who said the company thinks so much about digital advertising that they hope to be paperless in the future. In 2010, the company spent about $33 million in newspaper advertising. Safeway cut that amount to $20 million in 2012 in order to focus more on digital advertising. The company reported that sales are up, customer loyalty has increased and solidified and online coupon use has also increased.

Looking at how users are accessing information, both on desktops and mobile devices, it is not a surprise that advertisers are seeing success with digital ads. A report by ComScore out just two months ago shows that mobile only users are increasing over desktop site users or combination users. Pandora, ESPN and Twitter are the most accessed sites by people who are using those services exclusively on mobile devices. Also on the list are The Weather Channel, Gannett companies, NBC Universal, Walmart and Amazon.com

ComScore also notes that more than 50 million consumers have tablets and more than 125 million Americans now have smartphones. With that knowledge, it would be fatal for advertisers to ignore the digital market.

Cnet reports that Facebook is proof in the pudding. The social network is forecasted to garner more than $1 billion just from mobile ad revenue this year. That’s according to market research firm eMarketer. The research firm reports that Facebook has become the second greatest ad publisher in the United States. But even greater than Facebook is Google. Google is expected to attract more than 50 percent of all mobile ad revenue this year. Pandora is in third place and Twitter came in in fourth.

eMarketer also shared that U.S. mobile ads increased by about 178 percent last year and should rise by more than 77 percent this year. The projection by eMarketer is that about $27 billion could be spent on mobile advertisements by 2017.

But still, even with the obvious pros to mobile and digital advertising, not all businesses are willing to take that plunge. I’ve seen that on a personal level. Many of the businesses in the city where I work are owned by traditional or older business men and women. The idea of online advertising, to them, is still a futuristic and untested idea. On the flip side, younger business owners believe that they can create their own digital advertising through social media announcements that will have the same impact as online advertising with another company. So far, the way we’ve been able to expose clients to digital advertising perks is to include online advertising as part of an ad package. Exposure increases, page clicks are tracked, but there is still little interest in advertising outside of the print product. Perhaps that’s because advertisers on a local level still aren’t sure what measurements mean when it comes to clicks and views. They hear from customers that they saw an ad in the paper, but customers rarely mention they saw an ad on a website.

National companies have embraced digital advertising with success, but it looks as if it will take time for smaller companies to trust the brave new world of advertising possibilities. But, mobile marketing makes sense. Customization is easy, it costs less to produce digital ads, and they are easier to track. Mobile marketing is also instant. Friends and family can reach consumers quickly via smartphones – and so can advertisers. There’s no lag between the time an advertisement is uploaded to the time a mobile user could come in contact with the ad. Potential customers and clients usually have their smartphones with them most of the day. Also ,since mobile users are skilled at sharing, they’ll likely share good deals and company info they come in contact with.

What’s next? Corporate “Bat signals?” Shadow ads on the moon? What will be the next evolution of advertising?

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Posted on April 8, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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