Reviewing campaigns from Coca-Cola, MasterCard, Walmart, and AT&T, the Mobile Marketing Association measured mobile's impact scientifically, and found that a bigger mobile budget will lead to greater ROI.
A new study from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), the Smart Mobile Cross Marketing Effectiveness (SMoX) Report, examines every dollar spent in campaigns from four major brands – Coca-Cola, Walmart, MasterCard, and AT&T – to scientifically assess the value of mobile ad spend. The report’s findings show that mobile generates results across all stages of the purchase process, from raising brand awareness to driving more sales.
For example, when Coca-Cola launched its campaign Gold Peak Tea, mobile accounted for 6 percent of the sales despite only making up 5 percent of the budget. According to the study, if Coke had allocated 10 percent of its budget to mobile instead, the soft drink giant would have seen an extra 4 percent in sales - enough bottles to line up from New York City to Toronto.
During an MMA Forum panel, Tom Daly, group director for global connections of Coca-Cola, said that while marketers intuitively know about mobile's importance, they want hard numbers before they change their budgets.
"[Marketers] don't have the fact-based foundation to kind of adjust what they're doing," Daly said, on his decision to participate in the study. "These are real dollars and real capital investment - there's a lot on the line. It was really important to bring a set of facts to the discussion."
According to the MMA, dedicating just 8 percent of its budget to mobile would help MasterCard reinforce its image as a good card to carry while traveling by seven times.
"I was surprised at how effective [mobile ads] were in relation to other media," said Adam Broitman, vice president of global digital marketing for MasterCard. "We could make a big impact very quickly with video and social, but unless we change the creative, we're just wasting money."
Broitman said that while he does plan to make mobile a bigger budgetary priority, it can't happen overnight. Daly agreed, pointing out that operations and creative development have to change, while agencies have to be on the same page, as well. "There are also decades of muscle memory around TV," he added.
The study also found that ads that contain audio, video, and social components, as well as native advertising, all drive significantly more return on investment (ROI) than a standard mobile display ad.
Another big ROI booster, according to the report, was adding location targeting. When Walmart experimented with audience targeting - sending ads to consumers who have visited the store in the past - it didn't find a significant increase in foot traffic. However, using proximity targeting to reach people within range of the store proved 1.5 times more effective for the retailer.
According to Rex Briggs, chief executive (CEO) of Marketing Evolution, which provided analysis for the study, mobile has been treated like the red-headed stepchild of the digital world.
"It actually has some very specific characteristics that are not possible in other media channels," Briggs said. "It's not that mobile is a stepchild; it's more like the princess."