Is Sound the Key to More Immersive, Effective Advertising on Mobile Platforms?

Unless you’ve been asleep in a cave for the last couple of years, you know that the mobile market has become the fastest growing consumer sector. According to Pew Internet, at least 91% of all Americans at least have a cellphone, with more than 60% owning a smartphone. Subsequently, it should be no surprise that Facebook, Google, Apple, and a slew of other big names in tech are racing for dominance of the mobile world. Facebook, for example, recently bought WhatsApp, a social messaging app, for $19 billion, only to follow that purchase up with a $2 billion acquisition of VR firm Oculus Rift. The company now has over 1 billion mobile users to peddle its brand and advertising partners’ wares to.

Moving Beyond Textual, Visual Content to Holistic Marketing Design
Whether it’s Facebook’s marketing apps or Google’s successful push to promote content and marketing partners through the Google Play store, the name of the game has been visual and text-based content. This has even been evident in the development of hardware. How many times have you heard “retina display” or “HD display” uttered in the same sentence as “iPad” or “smartphone?” The marketing method has undoubtedly been effective, but if recent studies are any indication, focusing on only the sense of sight might actually be hindering the success of mobile marketing campaigns.

While the industry continues pushing new displays and increased fidelity of imagery, most mobile devices, whether phones or tablets, have awful sound quality. There’s no other way to put it. For Jeff Orr, senior practice director of ABI Research, this overarching design flaw won’t be acceptable to consumers forever.

“As users customize and personalize their mobile device, they increasingly want a better audio experience,” he notes.

Employing better sound quality isn’t just a matter of pleasing consumers, either. According to Brafton, a popular web marketing firm, sound plays a much bigger role in marketing than many give it credit for. Yet when asked, 60% of brands say they have no idea what their brands sound like to consumers. What consumers hear, or, perhaps, what they don’t, can positively or negatively help them to form opinions about a brand. If marketers aren’t taking an active part in sonic marketing, they are missing out on an important opportunity to shape consumer opinion, on mobile and beyond.

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