A Crash Course in Mobile Advertising

By Anton Ruin, CEO of Epom

Mobile is one of the most promising advertising segments, but companies often find it difficult to run effective campaigns on the channel.

There are substantial hurdles in terms of audience reach and engagement, which can take a toll on the effectiveness of mobile ads. Like in every digital initiative, however, there are a significant number of best practices at the ready to overcome the channel's obstacles.

Concerns & Limitations

Even though mobile advertising has shown considerable growth during the past few years, there are still some serious issues that lower mobile ad performance rates considerably, including:

User interface (UI) flaws

Even today, many websites are not optimized for mobile viewing. This has a negative impact on the quality and speed of mobile ad display and thus decreases profits on this channel. Fortunately, it is possible to cope with issues in mobile UI by optimizing the website's design, making it responsive and increasing page loading speed.

Lack of context

Naturally, mobile advertising is a very specific channel in terms of audience demands and requirements for potentially engaging and interactive ads. In particular, mobile customers tend to value ad context much more than one would expect, and such context is what many mobile ad campaigns still lack (a contextual ad example would be a shoe store promoting rain boots when it's raining or a happy hour text on a bus rider's commute home). Nevertheless, this hurdle can be crossed if businesses conduct deep research and analysis of their audience data and further determine when, where and which mobile ads should be shown based on consumer context.

Missing data

Since there are no available cookies on mobile, some companies find it difficult to target their clients via ads on the mobile Web and within mobile applications. The lack of information about people's browsing history prevents them from increasing ad relevancy. However, it has already become evident that advertisers can apply a wide range of other mobile-specific targeting options, which seem to be as advantageous as cookie targeting. These include targeting via device vendors, mobile carriers, mobile browser versions, etc.

Did You Know?

- Facebook earns more than 50% of ad revenue from mobile.

- Twitter's mobile advertising revenue is more than 75% of its total advertising revenue. Opportunities & Best Practices

Despite its limitations, mobile advertising presents a number of opportunities for savvy businesses, including:

Precise targeting capabilities

Brands often leave a substantial part of their first-party data aside, hence decreasing their ability to figure out who and how they can reach on mobile devices. If a company invests in research and analysis of its most valuable mobile audience (geography, demographics, and interests) and then includes these results in its mobile ad framework, it can significantly improve customer reach and engagement.

Mobile-specific ad messages

Naturally, mobile customers differ from those who are viewing ads on their computers and laptops in terms of their habits, tastes and preferences. In particular, the most beneficial approach for businesses looking to improve mobile ad efficiency is to create short, meaningful, catchy and interactive mobile ad messages with clear calls-to-action.

Additionally, split-testing device-specific (e.g. tablet specific) ads is increasingly seen as a best practice. If particular ads create satisfactory conversion rates, advertisers should consider using them in a campaign along with cross-device and cross-screen ads.

Measurement and optimization

It has already become possible to measure mobile ad effectiveness with precision. However, the primary goal for businesses lies in determining their mobile-specific key performance indicators (KPIs), so that their measurement activities are not in vain. Moreover, it is always crucial to optimize a mobile ad campaign according to its previous performance in order to improve its efficiency and increase generated demand.

There's no two ways about it, mobile advertising is an essential component to the modern marketing mix. The companies who understand its wide-ranging capabilities and leverage its emerging best practices, are those positioned for greater digital success.