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Lessons online advertising can teach mobile marketers

July 23, 2012

Kurt Hawks is general manager at Greystripe

Kurt Hawks is general manager at Greystripe

By Kurt Hawks

According to a report released in April by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, mobile is the fastest-growing segment of the advertising industry, with spending on mobile advertising up by 149 percent in 2011 to $1.6 billion.

It is no surprise, then, that brand marketers are increasingly choosing mobile as an integral part of their overall strategies. But the effectiveness of their mobile campaigns is contingent upon successfully doing something many of them may not be doing: applying online lessons learned to the mobile medium.

Let us take a look at a few online lessons that can be applied easily and effectively to mobile:

Don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to data
On Oct. 27, 1994, the very first banner ads appeared online.

In the ensuing 18 years, the amount of data around what works and what does not in the online advertising channel has increased exponentially.

Analysis of this storehouse of data provides an understanding that — while customers’ behavior may differ from one channel to another — they remain consistent in terms of their primary needs.

For instance, a mom may use her PC for in depth research and her smartphone for “snacking,” or consuming small snippets of content. While this behavior differs, she remains a mom on both devices.

Applying recent and relevant online data to mobile campaigns also provides brand marketers with advanced customer targeting capabilities, which might be considered the Holy Grail for mobile marketers, given that 97 percent of marketing professionals deemed audience management and targeting tools important in a March eMarketer survey.

Applying this data allows advertisers to reach their customers, no matter where they are. Perhaps, most importantly, applying online data when targeting mobile users doubles click-through rates when compared to standard mobile campaigns created without applying online data.

Use advanced mobile specific capabilities where appropriate, but don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to all creative
Now, let us examine ways that online and mobile are already integrating to provide unprecedented success in the mobile advertising channel.

One of the biggest frustrations that mobile marketers experience is finding a consistent way to use online advertising assets in the mobile medium.

Traditionally, creative developed for the online channel had to be scrapped for mobile due to technology limitations, device restrictions and other obstacles.

Increasingly, though, solutions are emerging that allow creative to be used across all platforms, including PCs and laptops, smartphones and tablets.

While Flash will soon be phased out of smartphones, brand marketers are still looking for solutions that allow them to use one ad creative across all digital platforms.

We are seeing 20 percent of revenue coming from Flash-based advertising creative as a result of proprietary technology that translates Flash-based ads to mobile-friendly HTML5.

Video is another increasingly important component of mobile campaigns.

Providing the ability to use existing 15- or 30-second ad creative and run it across smartphone and tablet devices is not only creating cost efficiencies, but it also allows brand marketers to directly compare online performance to mobile performance, resulting in more informed budget allocation decisions.

Don’t underestimate the importance of privacy to your mobile customers
Concerns regarding privacy and online advertising have long been a hot topic, and the importance of privacy to mobile users is similarly high.

In fact, an eMarketer survey conducted earlier this year showed that nearly half of all smartphone and tablet users said data security and privacy is a top concern.

Just as online advertisers have worked to allay user privacy fears via the establishment of industry-wide regulations and privacy-focused organizations, the mobile medium is also ensuring that advertising solutions are customer-friendly.

For example, advertisers have the ability to run a highly targeted mobile campaign without the collection of PII (Personally Identifiable Information).

Organizations such as the NAI, IAB, Mobile Marketing Association and TRUSTe are also developing recommendations for improving privacy and security in the mobile advertising space.

No time for silos
With global revenue from mobile content and advertising expected to hit $67 billion, according to an April 2012 forecast from Strategy Analytics, getting it right when it comes to mobile advertising is imperative.

Ensuring that all available learnings from your brand’s online campaigns remain un-siloed and effectively integrated into your mobile strategy will be key in the ultimate success of your mobile advertising campaigns – this year and in the years to come.

Kurt Hawks is general manager at Greystripe, San Francisco. Reach him at

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