mobileOver 30 per cent of Singaporean consumers say they use smartphones and tablets to shop, according to a study by Nielsen. Singapore is followed by Hong Kong, but China and India are big in mobile commerce, too, as per reports released by eMarketer. China’s “Single’s Day” event yesterday seemed to back that trend with reports of Taobao clocking over USD 100 million in mobile sales in less than an hour, indicating that mobile strategy should be front-and-centre for eCommerce marketers in Asia. For online shops, dynamically personalised mobile display advertising is the latest shiny object in the digital marketing arena. Until recently, mobile display was viewed as a place to drive app downloads. While many e-commerce marketers have flirted with the channel, few have depended on it to boost their sales.

Today, thanks to programmatic buying and messaging mechanisms that enable on-the-fly personalisation of banner pricing and creative, marketers are finally getting the chance to drive transactions — not just downloads — across tablets and smartphones, too. However, many of the world’s mobiles do not support the Flash-based display ads that have become the standard for dynamic display campaigns. In order to take advantage of display personalisation across the full spectrum of connected mobile devices, marketers need to adopt device-agnostic HTML5 for their personalised mobile campaigns. Here are 5 reasons why HTML5 is about to revolutionise mobile display advertising.

Rohit Kumar, Sociomantic Labs

Rohit Kumar, Sociomantic Labs

1. Flash is dying

For more than a decade, Flash has been the first choice for animated display ads on the desktop. Today, it may be on the path to extinction. Flash’s biggest weakness is its dependency on its creator, Adobe. While on the one hand Flash is maintained and updated within the “black box” of a single company, on the other hand HTML5 is a transparent and open coding standard that is maintained by the global programming community. As far back as 2011, Adobe even announced that in the future it would focus on the development of HTML5-technologies instead of its flagship Flash player. So it’s clear that marketers who hope to keep up with the personalised display game need to invest in HTML5 technologies early on, in order to stay ahead.

 2. Personalised display – no installation necessary

Marketers are aware of the growing personalisation trend, but with most display ads still based on Flash, the technology they rely on to reach consumers with personalised ads is far behind. Aside from its dependence on Adobe, Flash is problematic because it needs to be manually installed on a device, and constantly updated thereafter. Some mobile devices, such as Apple’s iPhones and iPads, do not enable the installation of Flash at all, which can severely limit the reach of marketers who are still using Flash for their display campaigns. HTML5, on the other hand, is a device-neutral coding standard that works across desktops, tablets and mobile devices — both in browser and in apps. The future of personalised display campaigns on mobile will largely depend on the implementation of HTML5-technologies.

3. Cross-device marketing

HTML5 allows marketers to extend the dynamic display strategy to all connected mobile devices — regardless of screen size, platform, browser, operating system or app. When marketers go one step further and connect their display campaigns to their CRM systems, they get the chance to not only reach consumers across devices, but to actually connect their messaging strategy across the multi-device customer journey. That gives marketers the incredible opportunity to reach the same consumer who browsed on a mobile device with personalised display ads on his desktop computer, where he may be more likely to convert. The result is a seamless user experience and a consistent pricing and messaging strategy that brings order to the wild west of multi-device marketing.

4. Personalisation is king

In the social media era we live in today, personalised content is not only accepted — it’s expected. Static banners no longer meet users’ expectations for relevance on the web. Personalised ads optimised by intelligent recommendation engines enable marketers to serve the right ad at the right time with the right message to the right user. Creepy and obtrusive ads chasing you throughout the web are a thing of the past, and so are ads that nobody is interested in because they are not relevant. This is proven by higher click-through rates (CTR) and better performance, because thanks to dynamic personalisation, display is no longer just a banner ad, but an individualised window-shopping experience that — with the help of HTML5 — can reach users across screens.

5. The user-individual marketing plan

In the past, a target audience was an imprecise bucket of users that was defined based on demographic characteristics that were used to make inferences about purchase behaviour. The result: one marketing plan for everyone in the bucket. Dynamically personalised ads enable marketers to address each and every user with an individual message, from products shown to product pricing, from call-to-action to special offers, and more. The beauty of programmatic display is that this is made possible at scale, thanks to machine-based decisioning that lines up the perfect creative in mere milliseconds. With HTML5-based dynamic ads, every single impression can be served with a personalised banner, allowing marketers to take advantage of the full potential of the user-individual marketing plan across all connected devices.

Though the popularity of personalised mobile campaigns is rising quickly, it’s still the early days for dynamic display on mobile devices — and the early marketing birds are certainly getting the conversion worms. However, with more marketers adopting HTML5-based dynamic display campaigns to drive conversions across desktop and mobile devices, we are sure to see the competition heat up in the months to come. Read more about the trends in mobile commerce here.


 The author Rohit Kumar is the Managing Director – South East Asia, HK & Taiwan for Sociomantic Labs.