Wednesday, December 30th, 2015 | 8 min read
These days, it seems like the average smartphone gets more action than most adults.
Of the 1,000 participants age 18 and up surveyed by Bank of America, approximately 75% said they sleep with—or next to—their mobile phones. Meanwhile, Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2015 presentation reveals that 87% of Millennials say their smartphone never leaves their side.
People continue to use their mobile devices for more of what they used to do on desktop, from searching for products to checking out brands on social, watching TV shows, and so on. Marketers are taking note, and they’re shifting their advertising budgets towards mobile.
In 2012, U.S. marketers spent $4.4 billion on mobile ads; in 2013, this number almost doubled to $8.5 billion. By 2017, it’s predicted to hit $31.1 billion.
It’s clear that marketers are willing to spend big bucks on mobile advertising, but consumers still come across way too many ads that aren’t actually optimized for mobile, with text that runs off the screen, copy that is completely irrelevant to their demographic or location, or content that falls flat and fails to take advantage of the full range of features available to mobile advertisers.
Given that people’s attention span now hovers at a mere eight seconds, a clumsy user experience represents a huge liability for advertisers. Each poorly-executed mobile advertising campaign, even if it’s just a portion of the ad experience that’s off-base, leads to wasted ad dollars.
We’re here to help; we’ve compiled four advanced tips for optimizing your mobile marketing campaign. Let’s get started.
The difference between desktop and mobile doesn’t stop at format; mobile advertisers need to understand how user behavior changes from one device type to the other and adjust their campaigns accordingly.
Data from Nielsen on mobile media time highlights the consumer preference for mobile apps, which account for 89% of media time in mobile—this makes sense given that most people use their smartphones to browse popular social networks, check email, and read the news. When designing a mobile ad campaign, advertisers should think beyond search and focus on ads within apps that their target demographic uses most frequently. This likely means designing custom creative, copy, and even landing pages for each platform.
Advertisers should also consider the rise of mobile video. The numbers paint a clear picture: smartphone video consumption increased by 55% in 2015 while video viewership on a PC or laptop increased by just 34%. Mobile views of YouTube ads accounted for two-thirds of the total viewership of the top 10 most-popular ads from this year, and, in Europe, the number of mobile video viewers has already exceeded desktop video viewers.
Studies show that mobile video ads drive more engagement and are more effective in influencing purchase intent. Naturally, mobile video advertising is becoming hugely popular—TechCrunch reports that mobile video ad spend in the U.S. more than doubled from 2013 to 2014 (from $720 million to $1.5 billion in), and will reach $6 billion in 2018.
People take their mobile devices with them pretty much everywhere they go, from the office to shopping, going out, traveling, and even the bathroom. This is why location-based marketing is gaining traction; marketers now have the technology they need to deliver content to consumers based on where they are at that given moment.
Location-specific advertising is a practice already employed by many marketing agencies, with billions spent each year. According to the CMO Council, BIA/Kelsey estimated that US mobile ad spending on location-targeted advertisements would rise 56% this year, to $6.7 billion.
With tools like GoogleTrends (whose results you can filter by region) and beacon technology at their disposal, organizations can tailor advertisements to the interests of an audience at a specific location and make the most out of their mobile ad campaign. For example, Google Local Inventory Ads show products available in-store nearby when they conduct a search, and Facebook allows advertisers to target ads based on state, country, province, city, and even zip code.
Hyper-relevant content tailored to a user’s location has great potential to decrease bounce rate, which is one of the biggest obstacles to effective mobile marketing. As Jason Falls of marketing agency Elasticity, points out: “The key to better conversions is relevancy––targeting more effectively. So get as granular as you can.”
In recent years, one of the biggest challenges for advertisers has been correctly attributing conversions to a multi-device user journey. For example, a user might see an ad while browsing the internet on their cell phone at work, click through, check out the product page, and then decide to revisit the website on their desktop when they get home and make a purchase. Traditionally, this would count as a desktop conversion, while data around the mobile interaction would consider it a lost opportunity. But that’s missing the complete picture; the data that links the consumer’s mobile activity to their final purchase on desktop.
Mobile won’t completely replace desktop browsing anytime soon; so, while a mobile-first advertising strategy makes sense, ad campaigns should always envision a user journey that spans both mobile and desktop.
Luckily, it’s now possible to evaluate cross-device conversion rates for a campaign, tracking ad performance as the user switches between desktop to mobile. Both Google’s AdWords and its Floodlight tool offer cross-device conversion tracking. But while AdWords can only track cross-device conversion for an AdWord campaign, Floodlight can estimate cross-device conversion rates for any ad campaign that runs on a DS engine account.
Responsive design is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to optimizing ad experiences for mobile. Advertisers need to think about the entire ad experience, from how the ad will look on mobile across each social platform to what happens once they click the ad and arrive to the website.
Additionally, interactive elements are great for elevating your campaign to the next level. Take a cue from JetBlue, which incorporated voice-activation software in their 2013 mobile ad series, or Nissan, whose 2014 mobile video advertisement included tappable hot spots. These ads stand out because they leverage a range of interactive features that are part of day-to-day behavior on mobile.
Meanwhile, Pinterest Cinematic Pins, Carousel Ads on Facebook and Instagram, and Snapchat’s full-screen, vertical video ads make it easier than ever to weave engaging multimedia content into mobile ad campaigns. And many social platforms now offer buy buttons optimized for mobile ads, which, as Mary Meeker points out, minimize friction to purchase when the user is most compelled to buy.
Thought leaders have urged brands to adopt a mobile-first strategy for a while. Some even champion mobile-only content, where content is created exclusively for mobile. Even if your brand is just beginning to dip its toes into mobile advertising, these four advanced tips will help you create pro-level mobile ad campaigns, resulting in positive customer experiences, less wasted ad dollars, and a more engaged audience.
About the Author: Rae Steinbach is a member of the marketing team at Fueled, an award-winning mobile app development and design agency based in NYC.