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Vizeum is a strategic agency created for the new era of media. We exist to step-change our clients’ communications.  We do not start with an ad. We do not start with media. We start from a different place. We combine our unique understanding of underlying human motivations and the new human behaviours enabled by the digital age, to help our clients grow their business.

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The Ad Industry is Saying Mobile First – Is Anyone Thinking Consumer First?

Ever since I was a kid I have been unknowingly obsessed with technology. This was not because my mind was wired to understand how to code or how a computer works, but because I grew up at a time that gadgets and tech were ever evolving and I was in awe. I remember when I was eight years old, my dad got his first mobile phone and it fascinated me that he could go anywhere in the world and we could contact him (we never did though, think of how much landline to mobile calls cost in the 90s!).

In 2004, I felt I couldn’t be any more connected with my friends; I had set up a myspace account to keep in touch with those in America and I was allowed to go on MSN for 1 hour every evening. Bebo, Broadband, Facebook, Viber, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat later, I realise that the acceleration of technology has had a huge impact on my life and how I communicate. But the change it has made to my life is miniscule in comparison to what technology has added to lives all over the world, and what it will add in the future.

In the latest Spotlight Video we have talked with Fintan Gillespie, Industry Head at Google, about upcoming trends and the areas Google are focusing their research and attention. Gillespie speaks clearly and concisely about a number of ongoing Google projects; from virtual reality and voice search to Project Loon where high altitude balloons are connecting people in rural and remote areas. Quite quickly, it becomes clear that the common denominator across all projects is “mobile”.

Mobile devices, mobile 5G, mobile searches… Are you surprised? I wasn’t. As I write this I look around at my colleagues desks, although we all have a laptop, desktop monitor and a landline to connect us to our clients and suppliers, each of us have our mobile phones on our desks – as close to our hand as possible. If we take a look around on public transport, in cafés or simply walking down the street, mobile devices are always present. We are always a finger tap away from being connected to the internet, connected with friends or being part of a bigger social conversation.

In 2015 a study by Statcounter showed that Ireland had the highest penetration for mobile internet access in the Western World. The number of time spent online on mobile in Ireland has increased 19% in only 2 years (2013-2015, GWI). Mobile first as a trend is obvious.

As an industry we have been ‘predicting’ it for years. Publishers have been built on mobile first platforms for years. Consumers have been annoyed by slow loading pages for years. Mobile interstitials have been accidently clicked on for years.

What isn’t obvious is how we, as advertisers, integrate our brands’ messages into mobile friendly formats that improve the user experience. We still haven’t got it quite right. Our mobile devices are so personal to us; they allow us to work on the go, track our health & well-being and store our memories. This is true for not only smart phones but for wearable tech too. In a space so personal, an intruder or a disruption is not always welcome.

When Gillespie spoke to Vizeum about how wearable tech is influencing voice activated search and the new opportunities in Android Auto and Android Home, it struck me that this is going to completely change our behavior. The first sign of madness will no longer be talking to yourself! This is a hugely exciting time for many brands as they embrace the newest technologies and communicate in new ways.

With this in mind it begs the question, how do we integrate these advancements and activate our advertising campaigns without alienating the consumer? We are all guilty of being quick to get excited about upcoming opportunities and how we can be the first to use the shiny new toy without understanding if the consumer will want or permit us to play. As an industry we have to be careful not to approach new opportunities with an outdated mindset that the user will want to engage with our brand or our ad.

It’s time for us to stop saying ‘Mobile first’ and start thinking ‘Consumer first’.

In less than three minutes, Gillespie has provided us with a huge amount to consider and a perspective on what our world may look like beyond 2018. Once we establish a deep understanding of the consumer, the latest tech in the market and formulate a brand playbook, it will allow brands to adopt that new toy without getting kicked out of the playground.