By KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity.
For many years the mobile advertising industry has been heralded as the ‘next big thing’ which will revolutionise the advertising industry. However, despite the hype, the mobile sector continues to be overlooked by media agencies.
Most mobile advertising spend is siphoned off from direct marketing budgets and despite its obvious potential, it has failed to established itself a major player in the industry.
If mobile is to assert its authority, it needs to be able to command the big ad budgets and demonstrate ROI. Below are some of our thoughts about how we can all work towards achieving this goal – by creating best practice campaigns, we can showcase the possibilities of mobile and progress the industry so it commands the budgets it deserves.
1. Understand the mobile device
The mobile is a personal device and advertisers need to think about how they can use it to communicate with their consumers – simply moving an online advertising strategy onto the mobile internet will not cut it. Campaigns need to be permission-based, respect privacy and adhere to local legislation.
Companies must seek the explicit permission of subscribers, consumers must only be sent what they have signed up for and must be given the opportunity to opt out. If companies fail to do this they risk breaking down a crucial level of trust with the consumer which will potentially jeopardise the long term future of the mobile advertising industry.
2. Make it personal
Just about every mobile campaign, by its very nature, is targeted at a particular audience and yet many companies still do not target their ads strategically. Before serving any ads it is important to identify the correct audience and also the right time and date on which to target them. It is best to run campaigns when mobile internet usage is high and different consumer groups have specific behaviours related to date and time.
Student for example, don't surf on holidays and in the UK and Nigeria, mobile surfers tend to check messages early in the mornings. It is also important to identify the technical capabilities of different mobile handsets and match your ad to technical features e.g. Bluetooth, Flash, GPS, music players, Real Player, etc.
3. Make it relevant and interesting
As the mobile is such a personal device it is important that advertising is relevant to the viewer. By gathering information on subscriber demographics, users can be targeted by age, gender, topic, location and device type, meaning that both advertisers and consumers stand to gain from enhanced relevance.
It is also important to make sure that the ad itself offers value; does it enhance the consumer’s mobile experience? Design a campaign which is visually engaging and which runs on mobile sites that offer real value – these will be the ones with huge public appeal and which are likely to attract the most ads. Bus schedules, sports scores and weather reports are just a few examples of high traffic sites.
4. Look beyond the App
Much of the recent media – and indeed, industry – focus on the mobile advertising market has been centred on the applications market, fuelled by the popularity of Apple’s App Store. You may therefore be under the impression that to run a successful mobile campaign, all you need to do is develop an app and then run some advertising on it.
This is fundamentally untrue - applications are not media platforms and they do not generate sufficient traffic to warrant advertisements. Let’s look at a quick example from AdMob:
• AdMob served advertisements to 2300 mobile applications in May 2009
• More than half of these apps (54%) had fewer than 1000 users
• Assume that each user sees 10 ads per month and that the going ad rate is US$1 – 2 per thousand views , the application is likely generating about US$10-20 per month in ad revenue
If you are serious about generating money from mobile advertising, you need to stop being dazzled by the iPhone and start thinking realistically about which handsets will give you the greatest penetration with consumers.
5. Measure it
By its very nature, mobile is highly measurable and measuring its success is crucial if a brand is planning on buying click traffic through advertising. The advertising sales team must be fully equipped with the information they need about a site’s visitors and through careful measurement advertisers will be able to prove the value of the campaign and will be in a stronger position to secure the next mobile campaign.
6. Spread the word
A driving factor in the future success of the mobile marketing industry will be the willingness of brands, content providers, and most importantly, advertising and marketing agencies, to understand the potential of the mobile market.
Showcasing best practice and highlighting ROI, will be a critical factor for achieving success. If you run a good campaign, don’t keep it to yourself - shout about it from the rooftops
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