CBS Interactive is our no. 1 draft pick

cbs interactive opera mediaworks

Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor might be the most sought-after giants on the court, but in the mobile advertising space our no. 1 programmatic pick for June is CBS Interactive.

CBS Interactive, or CBSi, is the premier online content network for information and entertainment, with more than 280 million people visiting its properties each month. The media company’s portfolio of premium content sites include CNET,,,, GameSpot, and, spanning popular categories like technology, entertainment, sports, news and gaming. And, the company has been doing an impressive job in optimizing these brands for mobile, offering consumers a seamless media experience wherever they go on the network, on any device and level of connectivity.

Opera Mediaworks has been working closely with CBS Interactive since its inception in 2008. Now, we are happy to announce that, through a preferred partnership agreement, we are able to connect buyers directly to CBS’s broad inventory of high performing mobile app and mobile websites.

Some top mobile web and in-app properties in the U.S. are:

  • Techrepublic
  • ZDNet
  • CBS, CBS News and CBS Sports
  • CNET
  • Ciao
  • TV Guide

Our demand-side partners can now programmatically buy inventory on these properties through private marketplace configurations that reside in the Opera Mediaworks Ad Exchange (OMAX), with the ease and efficiency that comes with automated buying and selling.

Available ad unit types includes banners (standard, MREC, full-page interstitial), MRAID native and video. To learn more about the opportunities from this new partnership, contact

Ushering in a new era of mobile measurement

mobile media exchange mobile measurement

John Wanamaker, a department-store magnate in the late 19th century, famously quipped, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Seth Godin took that one step further, saying it’s closer to 1% of advertising that works, at the most. “Your billboard reaches 100,000 people and if you’re lucky, it gets you a hundred customers,” he says.

Fortunately, with the move to digital, marketers finally started to understand which half (or 1%) of their ads were working, especially with online display — starting with simple metrics like click-through rate and lift in top-of-funnel metrics like direct traffic and branded search, reaching all the way down to captured leads and conversion metrics.

Then mobile arrived on the scene, and marketers got frustrated again. The proxies that they had become accustomed to, many of which were made possible by cookies that identified that user and could record their behavior, were no longer viable options. Tracking an individual user across multiple apps and browsers, on multiple devices, running on different networks was a huge challenge, and tensions arose within the industry around it.

But now there is an opportunity in mobile to connect digital habits and actions to the offline world; entire companies have been created around that mission. We know the data is there; it’s just a matter of finding how to collect it (in a privacy-compliant way) and make it meaningful and actionable.

We’ve already come a long way, but there is a whole road ahead. Mobile media has never been riper for a measurement revolution. Instead of focusing on clicks (or rather, taps) or views, let’s find out if we are really making a difference. Are they buying that toothpaste? Purchasing that movie ticket, buying that car?

Here are some of the big strides that have been taken so far this year in mobile measurement across four of mobile’s most important verticals.

Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)
Since retailers do much of the actual selling of products, CPG brands have traditionally focused on branding campaigns, not direct response. Their KPI’s, by default, have been around “engagement,” such as:

  • Expanding ad to read product details
  • Watching a video
  • Downloading a coupon
  • Finding recipes

The impact of CPG campaigns is thus measured by interaction with ads, not purchase, or conversion, which is really what matters most. Fortunately, more CPG brands are taking advantage of new measurement services and are starting to gain visibility into purchase volume and lift among consumers exposed to their mobile ads, understanding the exact dollar value for their “return on ad spend,” or ROAS.

Because of this, we are hoping that mobile investment in this vertical will continue to grow, perhaps even faster than industry predictions. While CPG share of mobile is on the low end now — less than 8% of total mobile spending — mobile does account for more than a third of all digital advertising, and we think there is nowhere for it to go but up.

Automotive is an exciting vertical for mobile, mainly because there has been a very effective measurement system that has been the standard in online advertising for years that is set up well for mobile adaptation. Currently, advertisers can match data of exposed audiences to household-level data offered by certain vendors to understand if that household recently purchased a specific make and model of car. The vendor then compares that group to the national averages, or another group of unexposed households, to determine the effectiveness of that campaign. In this way, mobile advertisers can see if they have increased the “buy-through” rate of households and thus driven the purchase of their specific vehicle above general population norms.

Like CPG, the key component for mobile ad measurement in the retail industry is not in a store visit, but in the final step — at the register. Marketers can now get anonymized credit card data and tie it back to user IDs to discover the dollar amount of purchases at specific places, like a clothing retailer or quick-service restaurant. They can also see how often those customers are making purchases of their product.

And, similar to the CPG studies, they can compare the exposed group to the unexposed group to analyze the total impact and calculate the achieved “lift” as well as the dollar value of the campaign, or ROAS. While credit card data from one company obviously does not cover the entire population, it is still an enormous sample size across the U.S., typically in the tens-of-millions.

If there is one industry that has truly gone digital, it’s entertainment. In many ways, the connection between ads and media consumption should be easier and more direct, as consumers’ behavior is often linked on the same device. For instance, an ad for the new season of Orange is the New Black should be directly linked to them streaming it on Netflix. With the numerous ways that mobile devices are connecting people to their home entertainment systems, like set-top box integration, mobile marketers will soon be able to see if someone watched a particular show and if that was influenced by an ad campaign for it.

Even entertainment companies that operate mostly offline, such as movie theaters and telecommunications companies, can now track mobile actions to offline behaviors, through one of the other methods mentioned above, such as credit card data.


Ultimately, what marketers really want to know is, “Did my campaign cause an action?” That is, did the ad push the consumer to try something new, choose a particular type of entertainment or make a purchase? The shift to digital has already increased our desire and expectation of transparency and accountability, and the shift to mobile is the next step forward, not back.

We should not be settling for proxies for “prospect” or “purchase” any longer. Just as Plato described the shadows in the cave as not the reality, click-through rate and video views are not the only ways we should measure campaigns. Every campaign, and all marketers, should — and now can — shift to a model that directly shows the return on ad spend, not an estimation of impact based on mere reflections.

Photo Credit: tnssofres and orkybash via Compfight cc

3 reasons to jump into Opera Mediaworks’ private mobile marketplace

Mobile Private Marketplace

In the few years since we first launched the Opera Mediaworks Ad Exchange (OMAX) we’ve grown tremendously, now handling billions of daily requests across more than 18,000 mobile apps and sites. As our volume has increased, we’ve taken significant strides to add valuable features for our demand-side partners to drive significant value from the marketplace.

Our focus in the past year has been around private marketplaces, which are “walled garden” agreements in which premium inventory is made available and searchable to approved and certified demand partners who buy high-value, brand safe pre-auction packages.

Here are some of the key offerings for demand partners to consider as they look at the best ways to reach their client’s objectives.

1. Location-based targeting to drive purchase

Leading retailers, brand and agency buyers are now utilizing more “proximity marketing” to close that essential last gap between the customer and the point of sale.

To meet this demand, we have actively been growing our high-quality location-aware inventory across our premium, tier 1 mobile publisher partners – and making this private, location-based marketplace programmatically available to approved and certified demand partners.

Now, media buyers and brands have the ability to target consumers in real-time, delivering a highly-engaging ad experience to drive customers down the path to purchase.

2. Buy audiences, not inventory

Another key trend we’ve seen is how publishers and media buyers are moving toward audience buying. We recently released a study that revealed that in some regions as much as 85 percent of advertisers were creating unique audience segments for their campaigns.

That study was cited by eMarketer as part of a larger report on the interest in audience buying on mobile, and they noted that 3 out of 4 digital media and marketing professionals said they targeted ads to specific audience segments on smartphones.

Good news for those marketers: with the Opera Mediaworks’ AMP (Audience Management Platform) solution, we offer IAB audience segments, as well as custom audience segments to demand partners interested in buying mobile audiences at scale across OMAX trusted, brand-safe and premium, tier 1 sites and apps.

3. A mobile native ad exchange, with proven success in 2015

Earlier this year, we announced the launch of our global premium native ad exchange, gaining the attention of mobile media buyers, as well as the trade media. (See coverage in MediaPost and AdExchanger.)

Since then, we have provided both direct response and native brand placements to a slew of customers and have seen great success in maximizing ad revenue for a large set of our premium publishing partners.

Now media buyers and brands can connect programmatically into brand-safe native inventory from partners participating in our native marketplaces.

“We’ve already shown publishers the immense scale of the Opera Mediaworks platform, across core mobile markets,” remarks Wouter Jean-Paul Vermeulen, Senior Director, Global Platform Sales & Product Marketing. “Location, audience and native are highly desired marketplaces for our demand-side partners; they are not just a trend. OMAX offers them all.”

For more information or to setup a meeting to discuss demand opportunities, contact the Opera Mediaworks platform sales team

WWDC 2015: Our Take

WWDC 2015


One of the most anticipated moments of every year for those of us who work in mobile is Apple’s annual developer conference WWDC 2015 underway in San Francisco this week. This is especially true for the keynote address where we all learn where Apple is going to take the ecosystem next!

As expected, the 2015 WWDC brought a flurry of announcements from the tech giant, including the launch of the new streaming service that directly competes with Spotify (Apple Music), a news reader that borrows from Flipboard (Apple News) and the addition of transit directions to Apple Maps, among others. More detailed coverage on the announcements can be found here or here.

As usual, we particularly focus on changes to iOS 9, which launches later this fall, and new features and capabilities that could be pertinent to our business and our customers: marketers, developers/publishers, and consumers. We collected some thoughts from Opera Mediaworks SVP of Product Strategy, David Kurtz below.


  • Multitasking for iPad 

Apple introduced a new split-screen app mode, which allows iPad users to run two different apps side-by-side. “On the advertising side, advertisers may be able to provide a better and more seamless experience by deep linking users to a specific page in their app, without taking the user away from what they were originally doing,” says David.

  • SpriteKit, SceneKit

iOS 9 upgrades several of its graphics APIs (specifically SpriteKit and SceneKit) which will obviously allow developers to continue to create even better native apps. “It will be interesting to see whether these new APIs also offer opportunities for deeper/richer engagement within ad experiences inside native apps,” David adds.

Some other key announcements that we’re keeping our eye on:

  • Continued commitment to Apple Pay

When Apple launched Apple Pay last year, we were very excited by the possibilities to accelerate trends in mCommerce (both in-app and offline). Obviously it hasn’t gained the traction we’d hoped for. But the promise remains tantalizingly within reach — the ability for users to easily pay for purchases through their mobile devices so marketers can close the loop between marketing spend and final purchase.

We’re thrilled to see that Apple is doubling down on Apple Pay!

  • Apple Pay is adding more retailers, more store credit, debit, and rewards cards, and more corporate partnerships.
  • Apple also announced a mobile Apple Pay reader with payment company Square.
  • This will enable anyone, including the vendor at the Farmer’s Market, to be an Apple Pay vendor.
  • In equally exciting news, Apple Pay is expanding internationally to United Kingdom.
  • Picture-in-Picture Video

The last feature that really caught our eye was the ability to offer picture-in-picture video viewing. Craig Frederighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, demonstrated an example of watching a video within the ESPN app, opening the eMail app, and seeing the ESPN video go into picture-in-picture and continue to play, so the user can keep watching video while they answer email!

We’re not highly focused on advertising within those picture-in-picture frames. We just love to see validation of our focus on video as the dominant user behavior on mobile.

Opera Mediaworks named finalist for thinkLA’s 2015 IDEA Awards

thinkLA IDEA Awards__Opera Mediaworks_OMDe_Big Hero 6

We are proud to announce that Opera Mediaworks was recently nominated as a finalist for thinkLA’s 2015 IDEA Awards. The IDEA Awards are meant to recognize creativity and innovation in media, marketing, and advertising. Opera Mediaworks certainly demonstrated that, as we were nominated for our work in the Best Mobile Campaign category.  

Opera Mediaworks’ AdColony division is nominated as a finalist for Best Mobile Campaign for “Disney ‘Big Hero 6’ Recharges Mobile Engagement,” in partnership with Walt Disney Pictures and OMD Entertainment. The campaign not only utilized new and innovative technology, but also harnessed mobile to showcase the film’s characters in a way that created familiarity and connections with the target audience.

A big highlight was Opera’s AdColony Instant-PlayTM HD video technology and a post-video rich media unit. Users were able to engage with characters from the film using gestures native to their devices and could respond to calls-to-action that led to more video content, visiting “Big Hero 6” social pages, entering a sweepstakes, and more.

For a closer look at how the campaign works, check out the video below:

thinkLA will announce award winners during the 2015 IDEA Awards Gala, on Thursday, June 4, 2015 in Los Angeles. This year’s theme is, “What if we…”, focusing on celebrating creativity, cutting-edge innovation, groundbreaking achievement, and astounding execution.

The complete list of finalists for all 2015 IDEA Awards categories and additional information on the IDEA Awards Gala can be found at

About thinkLA:
As a non-profit 501(c)(6) association, thinkLA was founded in 2006 to promote Los Angeles as a network of creativity and innovation in media, marketing, and advertising. They connect LA’s creative community; grow ideas, business and talent; and inspire through education, social and philanthropic events.

Opera Mediaworks shows strong growth in Q1 2015 – Revenues up 162%

Today, Opera Mediaworks’ parent company, Opera Software, reported financial results for Q1 2015. Opera Mediaworks, Opera Software’s U.S.-based mobile advertising subsidiary, demonstrated strong growth for the company, once again, continuing to contribute more than half (52%) of the overall Opera Software revenues.

Some highlights:

  • Opera Mediaworks reported revenues of $83.2 million for Q1 2015 — a growth of 162% year over year.
  • Since Q1 2014, Opera Mediaworks has seen a 72% growth in global platform reach from 500 million unique consumers to 850 million.
  • Overall, Opera Software, publicly-listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, reported $126.8 million in revenues (up 46% year over year) with adjusted EBITDA of $18.2 million.


Revenue growth in Q1 2015 was driven primarily by increased revenue from premium and performance advertisers and “app-install” driven spend from primarily the mobile gaming sector. Opera Mediaworks runs campaigns for many of the top revenue grossing app developers in the world.

Video Rules the Roost 

Opera Mediaworks’ strong performance in Q1 was also related to some key brand customer wins in a variety of verticals with the top 5 being: CPG/FMCG, Entertainment, Automotive, Technology/Consumer Electronics and Finance.

The key driver of growth was Opera’s mobile video business, which is the fastest-growing ad format globally. This time last year, Opera Mediaworks revenues from video amounted to 12% of overall revenues. In Q1 2015, that number grew to more than 50%. Mobile video revenue is expected to grow 3 times faster than desktop through 2020, according to Business Insider.

Part of the success of mobile video, was the launch of the Native Video Fund earlier this year, as a result of the acquisition of AdColony. Opera partnered with more than 15 global brands and agencies, including Adidas, Lenovo, Carl’s Jr., to help them create and execute mobile video ad creative that is less than 15 seconds and is designed for impact in a native, in-feed video environment.

Q12015 video

Global Expansion

Opera Mediaworks’ plans for global expansion saw lots of activity in Q1 with the establishment of an office in Singapore and a growing team spread across the APAC region, with plans to expand further in with offices in South Korea and India. Key geographies such as USA, Europe, Latam and Africa continued working with major brands and agencies in their respective regions and working on bringing our key acquisitions and talent under one umbrella.

One great example is the AdColony Instant-PlayTM video product, which has been introduced globally as part of our unified global offering. In Latam, this has helped with the influx of performance campaigns and, in Europe, it has helped contribute to video growing to 30% of the total revenues.

Premium Programmatic

In Q1, we announced Opera Select, a private marketplace to connect buyers and sellers who work with Opera Mediaworks. Opera Select is a curated marketplace for premium display and rich-media ads where advertisers will know their premium brands will appear alongside premium content. Later in the year, Opera Select will launch programmatic offerings for video and as well as native advertising.

User Acquisition 

In Q1 2015, the ratio between display advertising and user acquisition advertising revenues remained close to 50:50, as customer spend evened out more between those two categories since the same time last year.

AdColony (a division of Opera Mediaworks) was rated 3.5x higher than Google for both providing high-quality app installs and for driving user acquisition at scale in the AdColony User Acquisition Survey. This survey gathers insights, benchmarks and trends from the top 100 grossing app developers globally.

“We’ve kicked off 2015 with a great start in terms of financial performance, global expansion and providing tremendous value to our customers. Our performance rates us as the top independent mobile ad platform in the world,” said Mahi de Silva, CEO, Opera Mediaworks. “For the rest of 2015, we will continue to focus on some key efforts such as mobile video, native advertising, premium programmatic offerings, and on growing our user acquisition and brand advertising business globally.”

More information on the Opera Software earnings can be found here.

How to create a custom audience

What if mobile advertisers could identify the mobile user who has intent to buy? What if they could also pinpoint those users who are in a state of mind to actually make a purchase?

While audience data and targeting capabilities have been around for years, the use of custom audience creation methodologies is gaining momentum. (See our full report, released this week: Intelligent Audience Creation.)

It’s all about “big data” these days, in which publishers and app developers are gathering more and more data from their users and developing new ways to collect, store and leverage that data to target their advertisements. And this means that identifying the mobile users with an intent and with a state of mind to make a purchase is actually feasible.

Behavioral targeting has become one of the most critical components of mobile advertising. By examining a mobile user’s past actions, demonstrated interests and purchase intent, advertisers can hone in on a very specific subset of consumers that will be the most receptive to the campaign. And that can make for a higher ROI and a more effective ad spend. Because at the end of the day, now matter how captivating the ad, it falls flat if you don’t reach the right audience at the right time and in the right context.

So just how can we accurately observe and understand a users behavioral activity patterns? That’s where the practical use of the data comes into play. By capturing large amounts of data over a significant amount of time and from a series of contextual events, patterns and habits become evident.

Past behavioral patterns have proven to be particularly accurate indicators of future actions. Take for instance a user who has installed apps in the past as a result of a response to an ad. That means he is more likely to do so in the future, so advertisers are more inclined to show them a similar type of ad, and expect a similar type of response. Users who have not installed an app in the past, on the other hand, might be shown a lower paying “house” ad, since the expectations of that user to make the purchase are also lower.

The time of day and week also seem to have an influence on a users engagement with advertisements. For example, in Western Europe, user engagement over the course of a 24-hour day showed two primary engagement periods: one in the morning (6-10am), which was driven primarily by an interest in news, and one later in the day (6-9pm), where we see an increased interest in sports, weather and social networking.


Another component of behavioral targeting involves determining whether mobile users are in a “need” or a “want” state. In a “need” state, the user accesses a mobile site or app with the intent to satisfy an immediate desire or purpose, such as searching for a nearby Starbucks or locating the right tool for a home project. And in this case, the user is not receptive to advertisements. In a “want” state, however, the user is most receptive to brand advertising messages, as they appear to be browsing in a more recreational manner, and are more open to discovering new information.

The frequency in which a user accesses a site or an app is another important metric when it comes to understanding his or her behavior. Some sites, like sports, news and social sites, typically see their users early in the time cycle. For example, over the time span of a month, sports sites will more than 50% of their monthly users within the first week, with an additional 20% identified in the next 10 days. Other sites, such as style and fashion or food and drink sites, may go much longer before they acquire the same amount of users.



While frequency does reflect interest, helping mobile advertisers decide which period of time to focus on, the time spent on a particular site or app is another important consideration to make. After all, if the user is on only briefly, they must not have a vested interest. It’s also important to consider that time spent is influenced by such factors as cost of data plans, the availability and quality of high-speed networks and the mode of engagement (web vs. app).


Now, up until this point, data on user behavior has mostly been collected and analyzed through their use of a single site or mobile application. But with the advent of cross-site activity analysis, behavioral targeting just became next level. Not only does understanding cross-site activity provide a deeper understanding of a user, it allows mobile advertisers to develop a more complete view of who their audience really is, and as a result, how they should gear their advertisements.

Behavioral targeting helps mobile advertisers get more granular in their selection of audience variables, and ultimately, achieve a higher ROI. With that said, it is important to recognize that the more granular the audience segment becomes, the smaller it will be. So mobile advertisers will need to learn how to balance targeting efficiency with scale potential. After all, the idea is still to increase your audience and grow your piece of the pie.


As we launch into 2015, it’s safe to say that two things are certain: Android and social media.

As revealed in today’s release of our Q1 State of Mobile Advertising report, not only Android dominate traffic volume in 2014, it also started to make more money than iOS. The shake-up started in the first quarter of 2014, when Android took the lead over iOS as the top platform for traffic, and continued in the first quarter of 2015 when Android crept past iOS to become the leader in revenue generation across the platform.

While the change undoubtedly challenges the traditional belief that iOS applications make more money for mobile developers than Android applications do, don’t count iOS out just yet. In terms of monetization potential, that is, the ratio of revenue to impressions, iOS still leads among all device platforms. And within iOS, it’s the iPad that stands at the top for highest revenue generated per impression by device/platform combination. In fact, its monetization share in Q1 was more than 4X its traffic volume.

It is important to note, however, that Android tablets are gaining momentum, as revenue increase this quarter to now be just over par with their traffic volume. And a large part of the reason Android devices have not reached higher monetization levels? Because those devices have a larger share of their impressions from markets where advertising rates are well below the standard rates in the U.S. or Western Europe. So expect the upward trend in Android monetization to continue, especially as mobile continues to expand.

Mobile expansion and adoption has also supported the ongoing globalization of the mobile advertising market. While the U.S. is still the frontrunner in terms of traffic and revenue generation, there has been a serious expansion of mobile advertising in Asia, the Americas and Africa. And video advertising appears to be growing at a particularly rapid rate across multiple geographies. In the U.S., the market share of video ads is 2.5X its share of total reach of users, meaning that American consumers are viewing substantially more video ads than consumers in the rest of the world.

In tandem with the expansion of mobile advertising has been the continued rise of Social Networking. Not only do Social Networking apps continue to reign supreme in terms of total traffic, they have also edged out Music, Video and Media to become the largest revenue producer. And part of that reason can likely be attributed to the evolution in consumer appetite.


According to a 2014 Pew poll, nearly half of adults who use the Internet report getting their news from Facebook. It’s another reminder that the way Americans consume information has fundamentally changed.

And, with this change, companies such as LinkedIn have discovered opportunity. A few weeks ago, the business-minded social networking site revealed Elevate, a paid mobile and desktop app that suggests articles to its users — based on algorithms from its news recommendation services Pulse and Newsle, as well as “human curation” — and then lets users schedule and share those links across LinkedIn and Twitter, with the aim to add more networks like Facebook over time.

Wake up, retailers – mobile is now a must



As smartphone and tablet sales continue to climb north, mobile commerce is expected to make a major jump. For all intents and purposes, this is good news for online retailers, that is, as long as they make the requisite changes to their infrastructure.

According to a recent trend report from Cisco and DHL, an estimated $8 trillion will be generated through new connections over the next decade. The study cites a number of factors driving this value, such as enhanced customer experience — something Google has very publicly deemed a priority.

Earlier this year, Google announced big changes coming to its search algorithm. It will start favoring mobile-friendly websites (those that have large, readable text, easy-to-navigate links, and webpages that resize to fit the screen they are being viewed on) and ranking them higher in search results. This means that many high-profile retail brands could potentially fall in the rankings if their mobile sites aren’t up to snuff. And for e-commerce companies, even a slight drop in organic traffic can be a huge, direct hit to sales and revenue.

The change, which occurred this week and many are calling “Mobilegeddon,” reinforces Google’s mobile focus. As of now, more than half of online traffic comes from mobile devices and with its new mobile-friendly algorithm; Google is making it a point to guide users to websites where they can have a positive experience.

Since the update was announced back in February, brands have been scrambling to make the requisite changes to prevent their sites from falling off mobile search results. Google has even created a mobile-friendly test for businesses to evaluate how their website will fare.

It’s a pivotal moment in digital development. And making the shift towards a more friendly mobile user experience is arguably overdue. Still, the changes businesses must make extend well beyond investing in good technology and design. They must begin to understand how to transition into a mobile era where thousands of devices have been linked together, creating what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Mobile search, rankings and communication will also be impacted by automatic identification technologies like near field communication (NFC). Right now, there are roughly 1 billion NFC-enabled phones across the globe.

According to Mathew Bright, Chair of the NFC Forum’s Retail working group and director of technical marketing at Thin Film Electronics, “the tag will guide consumers to information without having the person type a query into a box.”

“The point of using NFC and not typing something into the search box is the event triggers the capability to guide consumers to information mediated by the brand, rather than Google’s search algorithm.”

While Google’s search algorithm focuses on making websites more visible, in the future there is likely to be a shift towards Internet-connected objects like wearables, smart meters, cars and other devices that make use of embedded NFC tags. Even previously unconnected products, such as food, beverages or clothing will eventually come with NFC tags attached, turning consumer goods into Internet-connected advertising platforms that close the gap between the physical and the digital.

Consider a retail store where NFC tags are placed on products, allowing customers to access more personalized information about the product by simply scanning them with an app that integrates their personal information. For example, if you are allergic to wheat, the product scan would be able to determine if the product contained wheat (or was processed in a factory containing wheat) and let you know. The scan would also be able to provide instant coupons, ideas for usage, or various payment options.

Not only does this provide consumers with a more enjoyable shopping experience, it provides retailers with a significant amount of information and data about their audience. And in turn, presents opportunities for marketers and media to leverage the data that arises from so many connected things.

Aside from beacons and messaging, retailers must focus on creating even greater efficiencies in the entire consumer experience, from beginning to end. According to the Cisco and DHL report,  this includes mobile payments, checkout optimization, in-store shopper guidance, and what the study calls hyper-relevance, which enables consumers to find what they want, when they want, and in exactly the way they want it.



For an example of “sensory marketing,” take a look at Singapore Airlines. They not only implement highly consistent visual themes, they’ve taken things up a notch by infusing the hot towels and perfume worn by flight attendants with a single fragrance, Stefan Floridian Waters. The patented aroma was specifically designed to complement the airline’s brand, and has since become a distinct trademark of Singapore Airlines.

The company also mandates that their flight attendants adhere to stringent appearance criteria, and wear uniforms made from fine silk, which coincidently, incorporate elements of the cabin decor. Each of these finely tuned details aims to serve one purpose — to create a unique experience that evokes feelings of comfort and luxury that the customer associates with Singapore Airlines. And for all intents and purposes, they do.

What Singapore Airlines understands, and what mobile has yet to truly embrace, is the power of sensory marketing.

Sensory marketing is a tool used to stimulate a consumer’s relationship with a brand and to create a long-lasting, positive emotional connection. Our senses — sight, sound, touch, smell and taste — help build emotion, and thus stay with us longer.

While sight is the most stimulated sense, sound is an effective complement. Certainly we all recognize the specific Intel notes at the end of their commercial, not to mention catchy jingles like Rice-A-Roni’s “the San Francisco treat.”

What about the less obvious – but equally impactful – examples? Did you know that Audi associated the sounds of a steady heartbeat, a piano and a breath with its cars? Or that Mercedes Benz established a team to create the most appealing sound for a closing car door? These sounds are not merely more pleasing to the ear, but are a great way to inspire lasting memories that tug at people’s heartstrings.

Yet sensory marketing goes beyond first impressions. As detailed in a recent article in Adage, research has shown that it can actually influence people’s purchasing behavior. No wonder real estate agents bake cookies in a house for sale, and wine stores play classical music.

So how can mobile make a move towards sensory marketing? By playing to its strengths. Mobile hardware natively contains sensory elements that stimulate people’s emotions and create engaging experiences. And mobile users are actually pre-conditioned to respond to sight, sound and touch. By leveraging these points, brands can make not only make ad viewing engaging, they might even make it fun.

Consider a user playing a mobile game. When he or she succeeds, the app could vibrate, sounding a “reward” tone, then provide the user with a branded ad and coupon to reinforce the positive moment. Or an ad for the film American Sniper could deliver vibrations that correspond with action scenes, like guns shooting and bombs exploding. These types of ads create highly immersive and memorable experiences, and can strengthen the brand’s ability to connect with the viewer.

Take, for example, the mobile ad unit Gyro360, which engages both the consumer’s visual and tactile senses. Designed to view panoramic or 360-degree images, such as the interior of a car, the user rotates their mobile device, which simulates the turning of the head. The image can be viewed within the banner or expanded to full screen, creating a fluid and immersive experience. Research has shown that this unit has high interaction rates and is uniquely effective at driving brand awareness and building brand loyalty.

Of course, there is such a thing as going overboard, and brands must be careful not to annoy their viewers. There’s a fine line between engaging and just plain distracting. But by partnering with ad technology vendors that have thoroughly vetted sensory marketing features and have thoughtfully tested their mobile products to ensure a positive user experience, brands can make an important shift in their mobile thinking to deeply leverage the medium’s unique attributes.

Photo Credit: Patrick Hoesly via Compfight cc