TechBytes with Adrian Velthuis, Chief Revenue Officer, Mobile Posse

Adrian Velthuis

Adrian Velthuis
Chief Revenue Officer, Mobile Posse

The last couple of years have presented more questions than solutions for marketers hoping to cash in on the audiences that are glued to their mobile phones. How does one make subtle suggestions, target the right crowd, speak up through the noise and most importantly, compete with giants like Facebook and Google.  Adrian Velthuis, Chief Revenue Officer at Mobile Posse puts those doubts to rest.

MTS: Tell us about your role at Mobile Posse and the team you handle.
Adrian Velthuis:
As Chief Revenue Officer at Mobile Posse, my team has responsibility for advertising revenue and operations as well as overall user development and growth. We maintain a laser focus on data insights to maximize revenue and user growth. Through continuously studying the mobile ad process, my team can optimize the efficiency and monetization of ad delivery, user engagement, and platform health.

MTS: What are the greatest barriers for traditional marketers in adopting mobile content discovery platforms for better reach?
All marketers need to reach their target audience at sufficient scale, and they need to do so in a brand-safe environment. Content discovery services like ours can provide that scale, but marketers are less familiar with growing publishers like ourselves than they are with Facebook and Google. Sadly, the sheer scale of these two players allows them to dictate the rules to the buyer. Further, both Google and Facebook (and their associated properties – SnapChat, YouTube, etc.) tend toward content and advertising overload. It’s easy for the advertising message to get lost and lose impact in these environments. Increasingly, marketers need to identify how to take advantage of the highly popular content discovery arena before consumers disappear into the vortex of the dominant players. Simply put, “How can I reach the consumer first, BEFORE I let Google or Facebook control their buying journey for me?”

If you look at companies like Outbrain and Taboola, they, like Mobile Posse, have recognized that seamlessly integrating content with advertising can have measurable engagement benefits to the mobile consumer journey. By reaching customers organically – through the native smartphone experience – and presenting interesting, contextual content, advertisers can take advantage of consumer behavior and the data insights that come with it.

MTS: What are the core tenets of Proactive Content Discovery?
Adrian: Proactive Content Discovery is what Mobile Posse excels at. It anticipates a smartphone user’s desire for something better than what they have today. Today, people look at their phone more than ever and in increasingly short bursts of time, constantly looking for content to occupy them while they remain “on the go.” Nearly HALF of the time when a user unlocks their smartphone, they have no specific goal in mind, other than to be updated or entertained. Despite this fact, consumers continue to experience the same static “home screen” that was designed when smartphones were introduced over 10 years ago – either the last app that was used, or a sea of app icons –  neither of which do anything to anticipate the user’s real needs.

The smartphone has, indeed, evolved in regard to features, capabilities, networks, and affordability. Shouldn’t the user experience that greets us when we unlock our phone evolve with it? Proactive Content Discovery recognizes this gap and fills it by differentiating when a user is involved in a task versus seeking a distraction from boredom. Recognizing those key moments provides the opportunity to improve the user experience and enrich the mobile subscriber’s journey with Proactive Content Discovery. Of course, these moments provide a tremendous opportunity for marketers to really communicate their message.

Pretty much everything we own with a digital component “learns” about us through our behaviors. Amazon suggests things I might like, Uber predicts my next destination and my smart fridge promises to tell us what we need to buy. Shouldn’t our phones learn what we want considering we interact with it more than anything else?

MTS: How should marketers better leverage “First Dibs” opportunities?
Adrian: What we call “First Dibs” is the opportunity to connect with consumers in that moment when they are most impressionable and attentive, when they are actively seeking distraction yet passively seeking information. Half of the time, when consumers unlock their smartphone, they immediately dismiss what is present and seek out something new. Proactive Content Discovery intersects the user journey and provides that “First Dibs” opportunity to marketers. Marketers have long valued the first impression of a user session because they understand its value and impact. “First Dibs” moves the media experience (and brand opportunity) to the start of the smartphone session.

Giants like Facebook certainly understand the importance and value of “First Dibs.” Facebook is the number one beneficiary of the legacy smartphone experience. By being the last app displayed before a user locks their phone, Facebook most often remains present as the first app viewed after a user unlocks their phone, more frequently than any other app.

You can expect to see wireless operators, device OEMs, and content publishers jostling to get their content seen earlier in the mobile journey through innovative and new solutions like Mobile Posse’s platform. Marketers should pay attention to these opportunities, as they will deliver higher impact and ROI than traditional social or content apps.

MTS: How do you see B2B mobile marketing platforms riding the AI-wave? Is it safe to say that AI is the new-normal strategy for content discovery?
Adrian: When it comes to content discovery, customer segmentation is critical to success. When asked, consumers will report that they desire a highly curated content experience, which delivers on their existing interests. Reality is much more subtle. While a subset of users responded to this approach, the majority of subscribers are more concerned with FOMO – the fear of missing out. For this segment, trending content needs to reflect a mass market appeal. Lastly, to truly deliver on the promise of content “discovery,” AI needs to balance the self-selection problem of just giving consumers what they “say” they want. Content discovery must introduce the user to new and different ideas to be truly compelling, rather than leave the user to “have a conversation with themselves.”

MTS: Thanks for chatting with us, Adrian.
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