It’s time for Mobile marketers to take brand engagement seriously

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Andy Wise, New Business Director at Engine Creative

The key for any brand campaign is to grab the attention of consumers, but with such an overwhelming number of digital channels available to consumers and research showing that only 9% of current digital advertising is being viewed for more than a second, how can the eye-watering spend on UK digital advertising (£8.61 billion in 2015 alone!) be anything more than a waste of advertiser’s money?

How can brands engage with Mobile consumers?

As an agency, our focus for some time now has been on the power of Mobile to elicit a truly emotional reaction from consumers that lasts considerably longer than a second.

We’re aiming for dwell times measured in minutes rather than seconds as we believe that greater dwell times are a strong indicator that a consumer is truly engaged.

Why is brand engagement so important?

Brands that manage to go beyond simply a transactional interaction with their audiences (i.e. clicking on a banner ad) will always out-perform less engaging brands and we believe that this should be the new default position for brands – a focus on increasing brand engagement.

Loyalty to a brand is one key factor for defining true brand engagement and measuring KPIs such as dwell time or retention rate is a much clear indicator that your brand is going to deliver business growth rather than relying on the number of clicks achieved.

It’s time for Mobile to enter a new reality

Mobile is certainly the key to achieving these all-important increased dwell times but if we look at the biggest mobile success of the year – Pokemon GO – we can see that Mobile as a channel is entering an exciting new reality, an immersive phase where digital and physical worlds converge.

And just look at the amazing levels of engagement that Pokemon GO has achieved: it has been downloaded more than half a billion times and has seen more than double the industry average retention rate with 7 out of 10 people who downloaded the app returning the next day.

Pokemon GO users are incredibly loyal and engaged (obsessively so if you read some of the stories!) and this level of engagement is achieved in no small part through the clever use of augmented reality. Blending the digital and physical worlds through augmented reality isn’t new but it’s only with Pokemon GO that we have finally seen the technology deployed in such an effective way to mass audiences.

A new breed of augmented brand experiences

Whilst our recent win at the MMA Smarties for our work with BiC didn’t quite reach half a billion downloads, we believe that the big idea behind the app was exactly the same.

The BiC Kids Drawybook was created in a similar mould to Pokemon GO – it is a free to play, augmented reality game which merges the physical and digital worlds to enable users to place

themselves at the centre of a creative gaming experience.

The audience for the DrawyBook app is much more targeted (4 to 10 year olds and their parents) but the ability to augment the user’s world around them on their Mobile devices is, if anything, even more complex than Pokemon GO augmented reality as it involves a whole range of augmented experiences triggered from a companion colouring book.

We’ve seen these new breed of augmented brand experiences achieve the type of dwell times that most marketers dream of. Our work with cosmetics brand Cosnova achieved an average dwell time of an incredible 6 minutes and 27 seconds over a quarter of a million sessions, and we regularly see high retention rates and dwell times that way outperform traditional Mobile experiences.

It’s time to take brand engagement (and augmented reality) seriously

With clear evidence that augmented reality has the potential to help brands achieve unrivalled brand engagement, we believe that 2017 is the year for brands to move away from failing digital channels (only 9% of current digital advertising is being viewed for more than a second for goodness sake!) and embrace AR to help them achieve their business objectives.

Who knows, you might even make it onto the stage at next year’s MMA Smarties as well.

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