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Mobile and Tablet Advertising: What Lies Ahead

By 2014, there will be more mobile devices in the world than people, and mobile phones will overtake desktop PCs as the most common web access device. So why is mobile advertising taking so long to catch on?

While there is an increasing amount of conversation around mobile ads, it still strikes me that most marketers see it more as a ‘nice to have’ non-essential, as opposed to a serious opportunity. 

mobile advertising

Marketers don’t understand the mobile platform.

According to an interesting study conducted by IAB, 53% of the agencies surveyed claimed to have no experience in mobile advertising, and that 70% of which said they’d spend more on mobile if their client’s understood it better.

So let’s try to understand this. Here’s what the projections say about increasing mobile ad spend in the US:

online advertising 

The first hurdle we need to tackle is ‘do mobile ads work’? Every marketer wants to allocate his or her marketing budget to the areas that deliver the most return, so this is ultimately what it all comes down to.

Of course, it depends what your goal is, but mobile ads have been confirmed to be the most effective paid method of driving page likes, and Google has said that smartphone users are unusually responsive to advertising with 42% of mobile users click on ads, 49% of which go on to make a purchase.

I’m always wary of these statistics, as there are so many variables to take into account (niche, ad creative, targeting, budget etc.) that it makes these ‘average stats’ almost redundant. That said, my personal experiences with mobile ads do support these claims. 

With increasing infrastructure to support mobile conversion tracking, answering this question of ‘does it work?’ should become much easier.

 social media mobile 

On average, mobile news feed ads have the highest CTR and the second highest conversion rate

Mobile browsing behavior is different.

The next thing we need to understand is how people use mobile. I’d first recommend taking a look at this infographic on mobile consumer behaviour by Trend Blog, as it sums up the main points quite well. 

People spend more time on apps than mobile websites. Tablets are more geared towards online shopping. On mobile ecommerce sites, features like side-by-side product comparison, 360-degree zoom, customer ratings, and an easy checkout process are most important to shoppers.

It sounds obvious, but if you want your mobile ads to be effective, you need to make sure your landing pages are also set up in a way that makes sense to mobile users. A 4-step checkout process might be bearable on a desktop, but it could be a conversion killer for mobile users.

 The barrier to entry is low. 

Several years ago, if you wanted to build a branded mobile app, you’d have to pay tens of thousands of pounds to get a bespoke app developed – for the minority of smartphone users who’d actually download it. Now there are more smartphone users, more people browsing the Internet on their mobile phones, and with platforms like Mobile Roadie’s self-serve app creator, it no longer requires the expertise or budget that it used to.

The benefits of adopting mobile marketing are stacking up for brands, and the barrier to adoption is decreasing. Will 2013 be the year that mobile advertising strategies become commonplace?

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