Sky Appoints its First Head of Mobile Advertising: an Industry Viewpoint
With broadcaster Sky strengthening its mobile ambitions with the appointment of Tim Hussein, NMK spoke to Russell Buckley, newly appointed chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association, about what this means for the industry.
The broadcaster’s dedicated advertising sales operative for online and mobile, Sky Digital Media, snapped Hussein up from AOL where he was also head of mobile. This newly created role will see him lead Sky’s foray into expanding its mobile advertising opportunities. Sky’s David Gibbs was also promoted to general manager of mobile.
NMK: What are the implications of a firm such as Sky appointing a head of mobile ad sales?
Russell Buckley: It’s recognition by a major and influential media owner that mobile advertising is beginning to be important and will continue to be even more so in the future.
NMK: Do you expect more media firms to follow suit?
RB: Absolutely. Sky has long been an innovator in media and the appointment will make others carefully re-evaluate how they look at mobile advertising. Some are clearly more advanced than others in their thinking and plans, but this is a major wake-up call for media owners.
NMK: Who else has a head of mobile ad sales?
RB: I’m not aware of anyone else taking this approach. Some organisations do employ mobile specialists, but they tend to focus on strategy or product.
NMK: How does this role differ from other ad sales roles?
RB: Mobile is a close relative of PC-based media in that it’s highly accountable, measurable and cost-effective. Therefore, any experienced digital ad sales person should be able to adapt to a mobile environment relatively smoothly.
However, there are some differences. Firstly, while advertisers do include agencies and brands, a significant number of advertisers are performance-based (often selling mobile content) and looking for demonstrable return on investment. This requires a different approach to sales.
The other major difference is that the sales process often has a wider remit that simply selling the media. For instance, the best way to maximise the effectiveness of a mobile campaign is to think through what happens ‘after the click’ in terms of the customer journey and how the advertiser engages with the consumer to meet their objectives. Many first-time advertisers therefore need help and education around this process and the collateral (such as landing pages) needs to be originated.
So to sum up, the sales process is as much about market education and evangelism as it is about taking an order.
NMK: How do you think consumers respond best to mobile advertising? What’s the growth area at the moment and what doesn’t work?
RB: The best campaigns share a number of common characteristics; great creative execution, are well targeted and relevant as well as demonstrating an understanding of mobile context – in other words, take into account that the ad will be seen on a mobile. In addition, the advertiser will pay a lot of attention to the customer journey that we talked about above. Finally, follow the ABC rule – Always Be Changing. So, monitor your results carefully and in detail, make incremental changes, measure results and make more changes so that you maximise your returns from the mobile channel.
As far as growth areas are concerned, more and more traditional brands are discovering the mobile channel and starting to increase their budgets.
Russell Buckley was appointed chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association in June 2008 and is also managing director for Europe of mobile advertising firm, Admob.