The only surprising thing about Facebook’s addition of mobile adverts is that it has taken this long. The marriage of social and mobile is bountiful in potential, but as this simple step of the inclusion of a few adverts demonstrates again, it has been so far limited in results and, arguably, innovation. The commercial arguments are compelling, not only for new SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) ventures but also for Facebook, with a reported 543 million active members accessing the platform through mobile devices. But with the low CTR for display ads through social networks on desktop devices, mobile CTRs do not sound overly promising. So where next for SoLoMo, and how can we best leverage these opportunities?
Smart mobile ubiquityYou can’t move away from SoLoMo without the device, be it tablet or Smartphone, and these are now everywhere; from its beginnings as a poseur’s ‘must have’, Smartphone adoption has hit over 50% in at least 6 countries (Australia, U.K., Sweden, Norway, Saudi Arabia and UAE ) as of May this year, with a further 7 countries including the USA sitting at the 40% - 50% penetration bracket. Throw in approximately 180 million tablet sales for 2011 and 2012 and we are approaching a trend that will see feature phones and standard phones become the novelty, rather than smart devices. With social media tools as standard or one quick app store download away on each of the four major Smartphone operating systems, it is estimated that by 2014 88% of people on social media platforms will be carrying their social media lives in their pockets / handbags as a primary method of access.
Innovate or stagnateMobile is not desktop, just as desktop is not paper; new technologies demand new engagement routes, and placing a few adverts onto a news feed is hardly new. Consider the first television advert which was basically a talking poster; America may have run on Bulova time, but the time for simply copying the principles and format from one platform to another has passed - to engage across mobile and see the true benefits of SoLoMo requires innovation. When you and I are on the move we have different requirements to when we’re sitting on the sofa browsing away; successful engagement across mobile needs to take these changes into account. The social mobile user requires:
- Saliency – the right information at the right time.
- Opportunity – as digital makes it better, digital mobile should open our eyes to more - tell me what I don’t know around me.
- Memory – let me take this away with me and share - if I’m to get involved then allow me to take that beyond the moment.
- Experience – in a physical world there is more than the screen, keyboard, mouse or touchscreen. Use it to engage me beyond the device – I’m out there, use that.
In short as those terms fell nicely into order for successful engagement in SoLoMo, campaigns need to give it SOME, some innovation, some creativity and some thought; mobile social campaigns cannot remain stationary and cannot rely on the same digital tactics and hope for success.
If you’re looking for some advice on moving to mobile then a helpful start would be Red Ant’s Going Mobile paper. If you have some thoughts about how best to give it SOME then please leave comments below.