TECH SENSE: What to Consider When Running a Mobile Ad?

PointRoll Mobile AdsAccording to eMarketer, content on mobile devices grew 272% over the last four years, and where consumers go, advertising is likely to follow.  What does this mean to a marketer? It means they now need their brand message to run across these devices at scale. Each consumer may be presented a different version of the creative or message, but it is the marketer’s (and more commonly their agency of record’s) responsibility to ensure the brand stays consistent across all of these different experiences.

Before we dive into what a mobile strategy at scale looks like, first make sure you understand the advertising goals. These goals could be launching a new product, increasing brand favorability and increasing direct response or customer retention to name a few. Once you know what you’re trying to do, the “how to do it on mobile” becomes easier to visualize.

The IAB refers to mobile as “encompassing media on feature phones, smartphones, and tablets, as well as eReaders and portable gaming devices.” It is very important to remember that, even within mobile, there are multiple channels to consider to reach consumers, including mobile web, in-app, mobile video, mobile search, branded applications and any other interactive messaging consumed on these different devices. If you have a tight budget and less time to execute, stick with mobile web and in-app display ads. Because mobile is still in its infancy period, and because both budgets and turnaround times tend to be tight, keeping it simple and consistent should be the marketer’s main considerations.

Plan for mobile. Mobile is frequently added late in the planning stages when extra budget is uncovered. This is not only a drain on resources, but the message has a stronger chance of being diluted and putting the success of the campaign at risk. Mobile will bring the best returns if it is brought into the plan from the beginning and considered as part of the overall media conversation.

Marketers should take three things into consideration when planning a mobile web or in-app campaign.

1) Tailor the idea to the platform, not just the creative execution. Be careful not to dilute the brand’s message while tailoring it to a specific platform. The message should always stay consistent, even while the manner in which it is delivered changes. For example, phones are highly personal devices, so the message should be brand-consistent but more personal to the consumer.

2) Audience size is key. If you want to track campaign success across all platforms, you have to have a clear understanding of that scale. For example, mobile web generally offers broader reach, while in-app limits the audience size but opens up creative opportunities. You may favor one over the other, but utilizing both mobile web and in-app can have a great impact.  According to the IAB, rich features available for in-app are increasingly available for mobile web, and planning for both is highly recommended.[1]

3) Marketers need to make sure the duration of the campaign is long enough to generate statistically sound sample sizes.  Media planners today are often buying mobile inventory with leftover budget, which creates inconsistent messages and ends up hurting the campaign more than it helpsing. If you don’t have a big enough sample size to get sound reporting, you’ve wasted your spend.

Most marketers equate mobile display buying with traditional display buying. While they may appear very similar at top of the mountain, the further you down you descend toward the planning stages, the more they appear to be different beasts. Marketers should recognize the growth of mobile  and treat it with the appropriate gravity.  Start the planning early in the media conversation, and align yourselves with partners that understand the mobile space and can help execute your vision.


[1] IAB Mobile Buyer’s Guide 2012


About The Author

Dan Johns

Dan Johns is a Technical Sales Director at PointRoll. Dan has a strong technical foundation in all online advertising products including dynamic content optimization, audience intelligence, mobile, video and social. He is primarily focusing on ad product development and seamlessly integrating these products across all media channels. Dan has been instrumental in growing and producing websites and products for leading companies, entertainment, non-profit organizations and academic institutions. He has contributed lines of code to the open source community to help streamline and expedite the development process as well as simplify social media integration within content based web distributions. Working with start-ups and small businesses, he has tackled everything from building and managing web properties, troubleshooting and creating custom advertising campaigns, and creating and nurturing relationships between "technology," "product" and "business development" teams within the online space. Dan is a lifelong San Franciscan, attended San Francisco State University and has worked with and for companies such as Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Wrigley's and Disney.

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