Advertising on Mobile Devices - Another key component of your mobile marketing strategy is that old standby, advertising. Mobile advertising is a bit different than traditional web advertising, however, because you have size considerations as well as audience considerations to take into account.
That’s right, creating effective ads for mobile devices requires yet another set of skills beyond that of normal PPC or online display advertising. That’s just the nature of dealing with evolving markets.
How Important Is Mobile Advertising?
Mobile advertising is an increasingly significant part of the overall web marketing mix. Not surprisingly, however, its importance depends to some degree on what type of business you’re running.
If you've never done any mobile advertising, one of your first questions no doubt concerns effectiveness does this crazy gizmo really work? Well, according to those who've done it, the answer is yes. Based on a recent survey, 87% of current mobile advertisers say that the medium met or exceeded their expectations.1 That ain't bad.
In fact, nearly a third (30%) of mobile advertisers say that it has become an indispensable part of their media mix. Another 67% dub mobile advertising “somewhat valuable;” only 2% say it’s not valuable at all.
How Much Should You Spend?
If you want to join the mobile advertising bandwagon, how much should you spend? The largest number of mobile advertisers (31%) indicate that they spend between $100,000 and $249,000 a year. There is some competition from larger advertisers, with 15% of all advertisers saying they spend more than $1 million yearly.
Determining What Type of Advertising to Do and Where to Do It
The mobile Web features both text-only and image ads. Text-only ads are guaranteed to work across all mobile devices, while image ads work only on smartphones that display full images onscreen.
Comparing Text and Image Ads
What does a mobile ad look like? When it comes to text-based ads, they look a lot like normal PPC text ads, but with less copy just 24 to 36 characters of text, followed by your destination URL.
A mobile image ad looks even more like a traditional banner ad, but with a very small banner that fits easily on the mobile screen. You have to upload the image for the banner, of course, which then becomes clickable.
Speaking of clickable, you have the option of what you want a click to do. By default, clicking a mobile ad takes the consumer to a landing page on the advertiser’s website one designed for mobile viewing, ideally.
But you can also opt to include a “click to call” link in your ad; clicking this link initiates a phone call to a number you specify. This is a great way to connect directly with customers on the go.
Comparing PPC and CPM Ads
As with traditional online advertising, you have your choice of pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-thousand (CPM) campaigns. PPC ads are typically keyworddriven; CPM ads on the mobile platform are more like PPC ads in appearance than typical display ads, if only because of the screen space involved.
Not surprisingly, most mobile advertisers today go the PPC route. It’s what advertisers are most familiar with, and it has the advantage of being very much a “pay for play” type of approach; you only pay when you get results.
Choosing a Mobile Advertising Network
Also not surprisingly, one of the more popular mobile PPC ad networks today is Google AdWords. With AdWords, you create mobile ads the same way you create traditional PPC ads; your mobile ads are integrated into your other AdWords campaigns.
AdWords, however, is not the only mobile advertising network available. (It’s not even the largest.) Other popular services include the following:
Creating a Mobile Ad
Because mobile ads are so small, there’s not much to creating one. For example, if you’re using AdWords, you start the ad-creation process by specifying whether you’re creating a text or an image ad. If you’re building a text ad, you then enter the ad title and description and provide the destination URL.
It’s pretty much a by-the-book process. If you choose to create an image ad, you get to determine what size ad you want to create. You can upload an image file in JPG, GIF, or PNG formats, in any of the following sizes: 300 x 50, 216 x 36, 168 x 28, 300 x 75, 216 x 54, 168 x 42, or 192 x 53.
As there is no standard display size for mobile devices, it’s tough to know which image size to use when every device is different. That said, the 300 x 50 pixel size is most common, especially on iPhones and other smartphone devices.
When you’re creating an image ad, make sure the image is clearly visible on a small mobile screen. Don’t get too detailed with fiddly small graphics; big and bold works best, even if you have to limit the number of items you can fit into a small mobile banner.
Once you've created your ad, it’s a simple matter of selecting on which keywords you want to bid, setting a maximum CPC rate, and entering the ad copy. If you want to create an image ad, you have to upload an appropriately-sized image. That’s really all there is to it.
Targeting the Mobile Customer
What should you advertise to mobile customers? The mobile platform is unique in many ways, especially in the immediacy it affords to consumers. They can pick up their phones and find the information they want right now, no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
Your advertising needs to play to that immediacy. To that end, I wouldn’t recommend using mobile advertising for straight brand or image building. Instead, it’s better for more targeted promotions.
Indeed, one of the most appealing features of mobile advertising is the capability of very precise customer targeting. Depending on the ad network you use, you can target ads by any or all of the following characteristics:
- Cellular service (carrier)
- Device type (iPhone, Android, WAP phone, etc.)
- Usage (how often they use the phone and in what context)
That kind of targeting lets you serve very specific ads to identified consumers. For example, if you run a local auto repair store, you can target your ads to mobile users who live in or near your ZIP code. Or if you’re selling a service delivered via an iPhone app, you can target frequent iPhone users.
In addition, you can schedule your ads only to run during specific times of the day. You might, for example, want to target commuters using public transportation, who have a bit of time on their hands as they travel to and from work; in this instance, you’d schedule yours ads to run in the pre and post work rush hours only.
The key is to use mobile advertising’s targeting capabilities to fine-tune both the ads you serve and the people you serve them to. The goal is to achieve a much better match between message and consumer, using the unique features of the mobile medium.
Mobile advertising is a bid and apparently effective business. It’s particularly useful if you have a local business, product, or service to promote; it can be a very targeted form of advertising.
Mobile ads can be either text- or image-based. Whatever type of ad you create, it’s going to be relatively small, like a miniature banner ad on a mobile website. The ad should link back to a landing page on your mobile website, or include a “click to call” feature so consumers can respond directly from their cell phones.