menu close
menu close
back to Insight Page

A Marketer’s Complete Guide to Mobile Advertising

Written by: Laurie Cutts, Director of Marketing

  • 19% of US mobile marketers said they planned to up their mobile ad budgets by 50% or more in the next two years (IAB and Ovum Research)
  • Spending on digital advertising will reach $117.60 billion this year, up 13.0% compared to 2012 levels, while mobile spending will hit nearly $15.82 billion, representing a remarkable 79.7% year-over-year increase (eMarketer)
  • Retail mcommerce sales will reach $41.68 billion this year and by 2017, retail sales made on mobile devices will climb to well over $100 billion (eMarketer).

When reflecting on all of the mobile trends, it’s essential to consider how well you engage your customers with mobile.   With 65% of shopping journeys starting with a mobile device and sales growing exponentially, marketers have a strong case for their mobile investment. To ensure you’re on the most direct path to mobile success, Nanigans rounded up a guide featuring best practices to keep in mind as you embark on your next mobile campaign.

1. Planning Your Mobile Campaign

Think multiple channels and screens.

Smartphones and tablets are highly complementary with other media so mobile strategies shouldn’t be developed in isolation but integrated with the rest of your media plan.  For marketers, this creates highly synergistic opportunities to program relevant or related messages on multiple platforms including smartphones, tablets, desktops, TV, Print.

Consider consumer behaviors.

It’s essential to consider consumer behaviors when planning your mobile campaign.  Tablets are typically shared and used on weekends and in the evenings at home with a WiFi connection when people are more relaxed.  Users are willing to spend more time on ads and as a result have come to expect higher quality creative executions.

Because tablets are used in the home, location based features are less relevant than for smartphone ads, which are optimized for users who are “out” and “about”.   For consumers on the go, Marketers can geo-target their ad campaigns to reach people who are in the right place at the right time. For example, a retailer can choose to have their campaigns display only to people within a certain distance of their store when they are open for business.

Move beyond standard banners

Major mobile publishers have moved beyond the traditional standard banner ad to offer rich capabilities such as video, photo galleries, gamification and social media to enable immersive user experiences.  Touchable and swipeable content typically drives better conversion rates. Considering the user experience when planning your campaign, leads to better creative with greater engagement and appeal.

Complement the in-store experience

Use the mobile to unshackle the in-store and online experience, by empowering consumers with reviews, product information, smart suggestions, gamification, recipes, loyalty programs, and more. This will also help discourage consumers from showrooming.

2.  Designing your mobile campaign

Understand mobile ad formats and sizes.

One of the most important decisions when designing your campaign is which ad formats to use.  While publisher offerings vary by OS/device combination, the most popular ad banner ad size are:

  • 320×50
  • 300×50
  • 320×250

320×50 is the ad size of choice is the dominant banner size for smartphones on Android and iOS.

Common tablet ad units sizes are:

  • 1024×50
  • 768×50
  • 728×90
  • 300×250

For tablets, half, quarter and full-page ad formats are typically the most effective for driving eyeballs and conversion with their larger, interactive canvas effectively presenting content, products and experiences to consumers.

To help marketers more effectively reach people on the small screens of mobile devices, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently added five Mobile Rising Star formats into their standard ad portfolio.

  • Filmstrip – Multi-panel, scrollable vertical or horizontal ad.
  • Pull – Vertically pulls a full screen ad experience over publisher content.
  • Adhesion Banner – Dynamically locks to a designated screen area.
  • Full Page Flex – Full screen experience in both portrait and landscape orientation.
  • Slide – Slide banner to show or close an ad.

These ad formats are intended to work across all major mobile platforms and publishers to allow ad buys with the same scale and scope as traditional online display ad buys.

Screen size matters.

It’s essential to consider the difference in screen size between smartphones and tablets.  Smartphones have smaller screens and ad formats sizes are smaller, so creative is more effective when it is fast loading, easy to read and includes relevant location based information with a clear call to action.  For tablets, screen real estate and ad format sizes are larger, allowing for more sophisticated creative executions.

Engage with imagery.

It all starts with a captivating image.  This provides consumers with an obvious focal point as well as noticeability.   Beautifully polished images of products or people can be presented in a variety of ways to drive eyeballs and most importantly, get users to click.

Get your point across.

Mobile experiences that enhance your offerings should be at the forefront of your mobile strategy. Consider your core messages and make your copy concise and compelling enough so that they will stop what they are doing and pay attention.

Create ads specific to publisher, device, app, website.

Mobile is a game changer for premium publishers allowing them to deliver truly engaging experiences that can be monetized in new ways.  Building your ads around the unique attributes in a given publisher environment can drive heightened relevancy and thus engagement with your message.

3.  Executing Your Mobile Campaign

Ensure relevancy through targeting.

Mobile is attractive because it opens up a whole new world of targeting that doesn’t exist on desktop. Location is a key differentiator for mobile as well as publisher-specific data.  And with mobile you can glean insights based on carrier, device, connection and operating system. Here are some common mobile targeting options:

  • Publisher – Reach customers based on account profiles.
  • Content-Based – Reach consumers on the types of content they are consuming.
  • Contextual — Reach people based on what is happening around them at a specific point in time – Location, Day Parting, Situational (at an airport, during an event)
  • Tactical Targeting – Reach customers based on the characteristics of their device and data connection.
  • Retargeting – Reach consumers who have already expressed interested or intent for your brand or products.

On average, smartphone users are younger than tablet users, 30 vs. 34 years of age. Nearly three quarters of smartphone users are 34 years of age or younger, while more than two thirds of tablet users are 25 years or older. (Flurry Analytics).   Additionally, research from the OPA indicates that household incomes for tablet owners are more affluent than the US average.

Drive purchase Intent with an attractive offer.

Consumers need to be given a reason to purchase now, rather than later. Promotions and incentives are often a good way to create intent to purchase. Offering a percentage off the purchase price is usually enough to generate interest and get users to click through to your site. Effective offers can include same day sales events, travel specials, countdown offers, local offerings and even driving users off-line to physical store locations.

Optimize your landing pages.

Landing pages with clear CTAs and forms that are easy to complete with mobile devices are critical to driving conversions.   Responsive design sites have grown in popularity. Rather than creating a separate site with different content, user interfaces and creative elements tailored for separate devices, a responsive landing page or website will adapt and scale the presentation layer to work best within the available screen size.

Create a consistent experience across screens.

Advertisers and marketers should plan integrated campaigns across all screens.  Language, tags and branding can help to build cross-screen synergies. A multi-screen approach will boost brand recall and response conversion.  Some approaches for mobile include: giving directions to the nearest stores, providing real-time offers and suggesting combinations of products that can be purchased online or in the store.

Simplify the path to purchase.

Advertisers looking to drive conversions should reduce the number of touchpoints on the consumer purchasing path.  Research has shown that conversion rates are directly impacted by streamlined paths to purchase and that conversions should occur within three touch events.

4. Measuring your mobile campaign

Establish key performance metrics.

The first step in measuring your mobile campaigns is to understand your goals and how you will track them. Key performance metrics will inform every step of your campaign execution. Define them in the earliest stage of your campaign—during planning and buying—to ensure that every person involved understands what those metrics are.

Know what can be measured.

Mobile advertising is exceptionally measureable. Standard direct response metrics are commonly tracked in the form of ad impressions rendered, click-through rates obtained and number of conversions received. Many performance advertisers are taking this a step further by optimizing their campaigns for predictive lifetime value to find the most profitable customers.

For rich media ads, expand rate, engagement rate, interaction rate and completion rate are considered essential metrics. It’s important to understand what metrics are available to you and how those metrics differ based on the technology or ad formats you choose.

Make sure your analytics are correctly tagged.

For all of your campaigns, make sure your ads have the correct tagging on them to allow you to understand the sources and media that are contributing to your efforts. Common ad trackers are 1×1 pixel image, a Javascript code, or the ad itself.

Measure the cross media impact.

It’s no secret that cross channel campaign measurement is complex. Different operation systems and versions, device types and properties introduce variables that can make it tricky to measure. Seek out solutions that can provide a consistent set of metrics across channels.

Use insights to drive change.

Don’t just sit on your data. The quicker you can analyze your campaign and customer data, the faster you can customize your creative, messaging, targeting, etc. Once you’ve figured out what works, you can enhance and streamline the customer path to purchase.

With everyone and their grandmother now using a smartphone or tablet, there is a tremendous opportunity for mobile that marketers won’t want to miss out on. It’s essential to understand the mobile advertising landscape and ensure that your customers have a great experience on every channel, platform or device. There’s just no excuse for marketers not to be mobile focused anymore.

If you’d like to learn more about mobile advertising and/or Nanigans performance software, please contact us.

next post

But wait, there's more

Join Our Newsletter