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Gut Check: Are You Thinking Like a Mobile Advertiser?
// Alison Hill - December 3, 2014

In our increasingly mobile world your global ad dollars are rapidly shifting to reach viewers on their mobile devices. eMarketer projects an 83% increase in mobile ad spend this year, totaling nearly 10% of all media ad spending.

Mobile is no longer just a test market; real dollars are on the table and real results are required. While many of the same tactics that work in television and digital desktop translate to mobile, if you’re not vigilant your engagement rates can lag behind your expectations.

Here are three gut-check questions to help you hone your mobile advertising instincts:

  • Am I targeting my best audience?

A mass banner campaign may be exactly right for what you are advertising. But one of the biggest differentiators in mobile is the volume of data available that allows you to very specifically pinpoint your audience. Do some testing to see if transferring spend to highly targeted geographic, interest, social, or contextual campaigns might make sense.

Reaching a tighter “best audience” instead of throwing away extra impressions on a larger but only “accurate audience” can make a huge difference in increasing your engagement numbers.

  • Did I choose the right ad unit?

While some argue that the mobile banner is dead, it is actually just pretty far down in the pecking order of user engagement. Special placements like direct user notifications are definitely at the top. But for standard mobile media buys, high impact units like native video, followed by just native or video should bring your highest impact. After those, any sort of interactive banners are a step up from the standard banner.

The right ad unit selection is based on the goals of the campaign. Do you want clicks? Awareness? Downloads? Start there first, and then look at what ad unit will drive the best engagement.

  • Was I thinking mobile…the whole time?

This may all seem like Advertising 101, but mobile requires a different perspective: smaller screen size, shorter user attention span, increasing competition for time, etc.

Creative needs to bold and clear, copy should be concise – but think for the small screen.

Be careful that offer buttons are not tiny; they should still jump off of the screen and be easy to tap. Any form fields should be minimal (pre-fill as many as you can).

Re-use elements from other mediums when it makes sense. But a 30 second television spot will likely not be as effective as 15 second mobile video, and a desktop banner will probably not size down well to mobile.

Above all, keep the mobile user experience in mind – if you wouldn’t take action, they won’t either.

Whether you are just beginning a mobile campaign or are reviewing a mobile campaign in progress, step back and think through these three core advertising principles that are distinct for mobile. Minor modifications could make major differences in your engagement rates and campaign success.


Total US Ad Spending to See Largest Increase Since 2004 eMarketer