Does it matter what time of day a mobile ad is displayed? If a generation’s worth of lessons learned from email marketing mean anything, the answer is… maybe. Truth is, there are coherent arguments to be made on both sides.
However, as marketers intensify their aim at mobile devices, the balance is shifting to the side that believes timing matters. People’s propensity to use tablet devices in the evening to sofa surf — and shop — strongly suggests that it does.
Despite the growing store of knowledge, however, it appears there are still marketers who do not target the low-hanging fruit of a mobile audience.
“Me time” for mobile users most often occurs at home — that is, 74 percent of “me time” is spent there, and 68 percent of all mobile minutes are consumed in the home, said Heather Sears, VP of marketing at Sense Networks, citing an AOL report.
“Many marketers are not taking advantage of ‘me time,'” she told CRM Buyer.
Instead they are relying on a ring fencing approach that targets consumers only when they are at or walking past a retail location.
“Data shows that consumers are unlikely to change their shopping plans because they have received an ad,” Sears said.
A Different Sense of Timing
Is it really that simple? Target a user in the evening between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and call it a day? No — although marketers would be foolish to ignore those peak hours.
The 24×7 nature of mobile use rules out that strategy, Bill Clifford, chief revenue officer and cofounder of SessionM, told CRM Buyer.
“Today’s generation of ‘digital natives’ switch screens on their mobile device up to 27 times an hour,” he pointed out. “As a result, advertisers are having trouble capturing the attention they need to make a lasting brand impression.”
However, they should give some thought to the state of mind their target group is in at any given time.
Mobile is very time-sensitive, but not in the traditional sense, Jeff Licciardi, vice president of Performics, told CRM Buyer.
“Usage tends to spike around morning commutes — more so in larger cities — and during prime time TV viewing hours,” he noted.
However, that usage is geared more toward awareness and research and less toward taking an action, Licciardi continued.
Priming the Pump
Action-oriented mobile use is very time-sensitive, but it typically revolves around the participant’s current environment, state, location or activity, he said.
“For example, if they are out of their home shopping, maybe at a competitor’s store, then the mobile response is VERY time sensitive,” Licciardi said.
For example, suppose a shopper is scanning bar codes while in Best Buy and searching for the products online. Ideally, Best Buy would have made contact prior to the store visit — which might take place during a Saturday afternoon — suggesting reviews and encouraging research. Then, the customer might actually have been prepared to buy something while in the store.
“Strategically, it’s important to be live all of the time for mobile — there is no ‘golden hour,’ Licciardi said.
“That said, there is a need for message variation,” he added.
“When someone is doing research in front of their TV at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday, brands need to supply research-driven material in the form of an advertisement and landing page,” he concluded — not bombard them with coupons and call to actions.