helping brands make perfect sense of social media, from IAB UK’s social media council

By Harriet Clarke, IAB

Mobile creativity has come on in leaps and bounds in the last 12 months. There are great examples of creativity in the mobile space, whether it’s been through apps or general mobile campaigns. At the IAB we’ve even decided to set up a Creative Showcase award dedicated to mobile (more on that in the next week or so, watch this space!). One of these reasons is because WE NEED MORE CASE STUDIES! We know social media on mobile is big, but there needs to be more proof…

Mobile internet usage is growing rapidly with social media being one of its biggest drivers. Alongside the growth in usage has been an explosion in exceptional mobile creativity, that successfully taps into the mobile mindset. Just this month AKQA and Nike won first place in the Creative Showcase awards for their True City app, which allowed the user to share content and shed light on why the city they live in is so great. The user could then upload this content from their iPhone to their own Facebook profile – an award-winning, totally innovative yet incredibly simple campaign.

Another great example is The Last Call created by Lean Mean Fighting Machine in September last year. The basis of this campaign was to promote the Samsung Beat DJ phone which boasted a state of the art sound system, and a competition was devised to highlight the music credentials of the phone. One hundred individuals from across Europe competed in The Last Call, a 24 hour silent disco contest, and if they received a call/text within the 24 hours then they were disqualified, with the last person standing winning 10,000 Euros. Each competitor was required to be ‘anti social’ by warning family and friends not to contact them on their mobile on the day of the competition through their social networks. (See the campaign creator, Dave Bedwood, talk about it below.)

The ‘craze’ that is social networking on mobile handsets is here to stay. As evidence of this, nearly the same percentage of iPhone owners access Facebook through their mobile (71%) as through fixed line internet (77%). (Ipsos, “The Future of Mobile” study, December 2009). According to Essential Research the biggest driver of mobile internet adoption to date is social media, whilst Facebook is currently the single most downloaded app in the US. The fact is, mobile is an always on media, and with the mobile internet being freely available on all UK networks this activity is becoming even more popular.

The advances in handsets such as the iPhone and other smart phones have increased the ease with which the internet can be accessed. Admob recently carried out some research into how mobile internet differs from PC, showing that 55% of all feature phone users, 47% of smartphone users and 38% of iPhone users report using social networks from their phone “often”. Additionally, high-end mobile device users are more likely to use Facebook and Twitter while mobile; 63% of respondents use Facebook on the mobile device and 30% Twitter, which is slightly higher than reported PC usage patterns.

It is clear to see that mobile phone usage has gone beyond standard phone calls and SMS. People love to update their social networks on the move as and when they get that ‘creative urge’ or when they see something sharable. It’s not just mobile social networking that is on the rise either; consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to apps. With over 100,000 iPhone apps on offer it seems like every brand has jumped on the ‘app wagon’. But some, of course, do it better than others.

Burger King has always seemed to be one of the most significant digital pioneers, and their recent app is no exception. Burger King entered the mobile commerce environment by creating an app that lets their consumers place orders and pay for it on their iPhone before they even get to the fast food outlet. This allows them to skip the queue and make their fast food even faster whilst driving brand loyalty and a stronger bond between the consumer and the brand.

Burger King is not the only brand that has adopted mobile marketing as a key element of their marketing mix., the online travel and leisure retailer, has created an app that will show you nearby restaurants and any deals or offers that are available near you. This app amplifies the brand as being the resource to go to for an immediate relevant response when looking for places to eat out while you are on the move.

Obviously mobile has come a long way in the past 18 months but what we’re likely to see is the really creative mobile stuff having ‘social’ at its heart. With Google Buzz gaining most of its positive reviews for the mobile element of its offering, perhaps this is what brands need to bear in mind when devising their mobile strategy. Every medium has a USP, and increasingly we’re seeing that mobile is more about sharing, instant interaction with brands and making the consumer’s daily life a bit more interesting. If brands can start integrating social media with mobile now, then it should work wonders for the future of mobile creativity.

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