Forget About Mobile Cannibalization: Its Rise Bodes Well For All

The media business has grown to a certain level of maturity. The ecosystem affords brands, marketers and agencies a vast tableau of options, along with tools to plan, operate and optimize across channels, platforms and screens.

Yet, as an integrated digital marketer, I’m always surprised how much we tend to sweat the mix, scrutinize the allocation and fret the demise of one channel, platform, screen or another. It often takes no more than an infographic or chart to sound the alarm — take the recent eMarketer chart below illustrating the rise of mobile that’s circulating among buyers, publishers and suppliers alike as an example.

From this chart, we might infer that mobile is subsuming display or desktop ad marketing. And, it’s never long before someone in the trades or on a panel actually uses the C Word — cannibalization. When monitoring the mix and shifting allocations, we can’t help ourselves.

Images via

Images via

Sure, if you are purely in the business of selling display supply or infrastructure, you might be right to be alarmed. But, in the interest of the overall media economy and, upon honest reflection on how audiences and consumers really engage with media, surely we can all see that this is progress. And it’s an opening up that we should embrace as marketers.

We’ve Come Further Than We Think

Not only is mobile’s economic rise a sign of fresh air and confidence in the market, but it should spur you to take a closer look at the true state of mobile, a state that’s been misrepresented to some degree. The mobile advertising infrastructure — campaign management options; audience targeting and development capabilities; real-time optimization functionality — are all so much further along than the industry at large believes.

Yes, there are still obstacles to overcome, but that’s happening. It is increasingly possible — thanks to the efficiency and consumer data analytics capabilities of today’s top systems and solutions — to achieve targeted reach and do so at scale. Clearly, those marketers and agencies that are getting in, partnering with the right suppliers or solutions providers, and truly integrating robust mobile executions to their ad marketing work are scaling their efforts and driving this growth.

Mobile’s Growth Generates Data That Can Be Leveraged

And, through the combined power of machine learning and a team’s strategic thinking or guidance, you can grow steadily smarter about your whole mix. Leveraging learning across the mix — email, search, display, social, video, mobile — it’s what we say we do. All of us.

And, since this market rise also signals a growing appreciation for the consumer’s increased use of mobile, it’s worth noting how much more we can come to understand about the consumer in this environment. Yes, any study or chart about this phenomenon will attribute the spending rise to the fact that a huge portion of Americans are now on smartphones. But, there is beauty in the fact that more than being “on” a smartphone, navigating on mobile implies a highly engaged, probably decisive state — often very, very close to the point of sale.

Really Getting Consumer Focused

For me, the tendency to stress shifting allocations and speak of cannibalization anywhere in the mix is a distraction — a distraction from the fact that we as an industry are showing a greater thoroughness and thoughtfulness around environment and opportunity. And this thoroughness and thoughtfulness is tuned to audience or consumer like it’s never been before. Any growth that development yields is good growth.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Mobile Marketing | Mobile Marketing Column


About The Author: serves numerous media and data technology clients for WIT Strategy as a Senior Associate in corporate affairs and media relations, as her primary engagement. She also runs collaborative pursuits through her company, Influence Collective, LLC. -- advising and supporting media and tech entrepreneurs in cooperation with other trusted partners and firm principals.

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