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Assessing the Changing Mobile Marketing Landscape – An Agency Point of View Article

The ‘year of mobile’ thing became a joke that was never really funny. It’s what people in the industry used to laughingly say through gritted teeth at industry events. Thankfully It’s not something you really hear anymore, as it now seems to be broadly accepted that mobile is an important part of any marketing or advertising strategy. It’s no longer a nice to have; it’s an absolute imperative. So what’s changed?

Well, it’s 2016 and here at M&C Saatchi Mobile we’ve just celebrated our 10th Anniversary. For the past decade we have been leading from the front in establishing and growing the mobile advertising industry we know today. During that time we have had the pleasure of working with some of the most recognisable brands in the world by helping them understand and leverage the mobile channel to reach and resonate with their customers.

In many cases, our client relationships call for work that goes beyond mobile media planning and buying, spanning services including digital and mobile education and opportunity-sizing as well as strategy, creative and data consultancy. And in recent years we have seen relationships with a number of our clients evolve from mobile-only to mobile-first. Increasingly we find ourselves stepping outside of what would historically have been the remit of a mobile agency by helping our clients with broader integrated digital marketing and advertising strategies as well as planning and buying, albeit with a mobile-first lens.

This tells us that not only do clients still rely on us for specialist mobile support, but that the role of mobile within integrated communications is becoming broader and more important. And with mobile being such a key component of the entire digital landscape, integrated strategies increasingly need to have mobile baked in.


Our early client roster consisted of brands whose entire business was centered on their mobile product. However, more and more of our clients, from travel to retail brands are beginning to place a higher value on the role of mobile throughout the customer journey, requiring marketing strategies that cater to this “mobile first” mindset.

Mobile-First was the industry buzz phrase three years ago, quickly forgotten as Big Data, The Internet of Things and Virtual Reality appeared and got everyone excited. So, Mobile-First is not a new thing, but I believe it is the most important thing for brands to understand today.

In most integrated agencies, mobile is treated as an adjunct or an afterthought, in some cases even with a separate trading desk. This is not the right way to plan and buy mobile media because it doesn’t reflect the way customers interact with their mobile devices as part of a complex and often interrupted user journey or path to purchase.

Path to Purchase

For a long time, and often in isolation, understanding the fragmented landscape of mobile has been the job of mobile specialists. While understanding that complexity and delivering performance remains something only a few agencies have mastered, it has become crucial that mobile is baked into an integrated approach across the entire consumer journey, from TV, to print, out of home and all across all digital channels.

As illustrated in Mary Meeker’s most recent Internet Trends Report, user behaviour on mobile has changed. In 2008, she predicted that mobile would overtake fixed Internet access by 2014. In reality she was probably a year early. In 2015 Google announced more search took place on mobile than on desktop. While other statistics tell us that mobile is the dominant screen in our lives, and that more video (which will dominate internet traffic in a few years) is viewed on mobile than on desktop. Adding some financial figures to this, eMarketer has said that mobile will represent 63.4% of total digital ad spending in the US this year.

Second Screening

Whatever the statistic it is clear that mobile is becoming, or perhaps already is, the most important channel for brands as part of an integrated approach. However, as we’re starting to demonstrate with some of our clients, because of its increasing size, complexity and importance, mobile needs to be more than simply part of an integrated strategy – it needs to lead it.

By James Shepherd – EMEA Commercial Director, M&C Saatchi Mobile

M&C Saatchi Mobile is the leading specialist mobile first media agency with a global footprint spanning Europe, America and Asia Pacific.

James Shepherd is responsible for driving business growth and shaping the strategic direction for M&C Saatchi Mobile clients across EMEA. James has extensive experience in full service, digital and mobile agencies and has a decade of experience in the mobile, marketing, advertising and digital space. He has previously led mobile strategy at Havas Media Group, Ogilvy One, Engine Group and Blippar.

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