The growth of mobile advertising is one of the most interesting and important trends in media today. Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic swing in the amount of browsing being conducted via mobile devices. Time that was previously spent in front of televisions or desktops is increasingly being spent in front of phones and tablets. Most notably, shopping and purchasing habits are now becoming more prevalent on mobile devices, meaning that marketers can now capitalize on users in a rich, full-featured commercial environment.
Mobile marketing brings a number of new opportunities to the table and a few new challenges as well. When you’re adding mobile advertising to your marketing mix, here are a few things to consider:
Device & OS: When buying ad inventory on mobile devices marketers are able to target their campaigns based on the operating system (for example, Android, Mac iOS, Blackberry), as well as the specific device model (say, Samsung S3 or iPhone 5). Most modern smartphones have a similar set of features, but screen sizes can vary drastically. Consider the environment for which you are creating banners and design accordingly.
Carrier: In addition to device and operating system, it’s also possible to know the wireless carrier that a user is subscribed to. With the advent of tap-to-pay billing systems, connected directly to wireless providers, this can be a very powerful tool for marketers. By targeting only users on the wireless carriers with whom you have a billing/merchant account, you can assure that the audience you target is 100% tap-to-pay compatible.
No cookies: It’s important to remember that cookies will not always work on mobile devices. In particular, they will never work in mobile apps. Because of this, typical conversion tracking techniques that online marketers use to track leads and sales will not be accurate on mobile devices. Make sure you choose a DSP that supports “postback” conversion tracking; a technology that allows you to track sales and leads without using cookies.
Web vs. app: There are a number of environments in which mobile ads can be bought. In-app ads are great because the entire app has been formatted to look good on a small screen, including the ad space. Mobile Web can be just as good, but make sure it’s mobile-optimized. Mobile optimized websites (usually m.website.com) will be formatted to look good on a mobile screen and ensure that ads are shown correctly. Beware of non-optimized mobile websites, as mobile visitors may be looking at full-sized pages shrunken to fit the screen. In this case, your ads may be so small that they are no longer visible.
Mobile data: Cookies are typically used to build audience lists for retargeting and other audience targeting. However, cookies do not work well on mobile devices. Luckily, this problem has been solved. Each mobile device comes with its own unique ID which can be anonymized and used by marketers in the same way that cookies are used. Building audiences on mobile is a slightly different process, but is equally effective.
For marketers that are not yet buying ads on mobile devices, it’s worth exploring. Some products and services work better than others on mobile, but there is an effective strategy for any campaign. Undoubtedly, mobile browsing habits will continue to increase and the mobile advertising medium will soon be a necessary part of any well-rounded campaign.
—(Video by Allison Schiff; text by Matt Sauls)