Five Tips for Mobile Advertising Success


By Lara Mehanna, GM Mobile, DataXu


According to the GSMA, the number of mobile connected devices will double from 6 billion in 2011 to 12 billion by 2020. Are you ready to take full advantage of this digital juggernaut?  Here are five tips on how you can get the most out of your mobile advertising investments.


1. Look beyond click-through rates when evaluating mobile campaigns.

If you think mobile is just for direct response campaigns, you may be trapped in 2006. Mobile can drive tremendous brand engagement – there’s no reason to evaluate mobile campaign performance through the vantage point of CTR. Over the course of a year, we ran three mobile campaigns for a large enterprise software company through their digital agency. The primary objective for each campaign was to drive various user engagements on the brand’s mobile site (e.g. case study views, click-to-call, send to a friend, Facebook likes, etc.) All three of the mobile campaigns were a tremendous success, driving the largest volume of cost-effective conversions of all digital efforts.


2. Be open to testing…and testing, and testing.

Don’t pigeonhole your campaigns into narrow audiences or device types. Think your campaign will perform best on tablets as opposed to feature phones? That’s fine. Test performance on tablets, but don’t abandon feature phones. Campaign performance is, in many cases, situational. One device does not work universally better than another.  And while you may be convinced that your campaign will resonate with a certain segment, you should still experiment with targeting tactics, and choose a vendor that employs prospecting techniques to identify new, potentially lucrative audiences (“lookalikes”).  Our system can figure out which audiences are really engaging with your campaign, and the answers might surprise you. The most successful brands are where they are because they’re not afraid to innovate, iterate, and learn.


3. Leave all options on the table.

We often recommend that our clients pixel every page of their site. It lets us determine which of our mobile campaigns led to an outcome (e.g., campaign X drove 50 “find a dealer” actions) and helps the client learn what elements are working best.  It also gives us the freedom to optimize against pretty much any metric you choose – content downloads, click-to-calls, app downloads, Facebook likes, etc. Regardless of whether we set up a campaign to optimize off clicks or site actions, our system looks at the same set of criteria to determine which impressions are more or less valuable. We’ve seen campaigns that have a lot of targeting parameters layered on top, and they pigeon-hole themselves into limited distribution.


4. Realize that one size doesn’t fit all.

Display performance doesn’t necessarily translate to mobile performance. We all know that running display creatives in mobile campaigns is a bad bet due to disparities in screen size, but trying to mimic display tactics in mobile isn’t really going to cut it either.  It’s the same reason we ask clients to pixel their entire mobile sites – options are everything.  Sophisticated mobile DSPs have algorithms that work continuously in real time to find new audiences receptive to your brand, so why limit yourself with a single targeting parameter or creative concept?  Let the platform decide what works best. It will show you where your ads are performing best and with whom, and allocate your spend to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.


5. Incorporate mobile as part of a larger campaign strategy.

Mobile doesn’t have to be a standalone channel; we encourage our customers to use mobile as part of a multichannel marketing approach to reach audiences with whom their brands and their messaging resonate. It should be a dedicated part of your integrated marketing mix.  Mobile advertising efforts can tie in seamlessly with campaigns running across other marketing channels, digital or not – QR codes in print ads or billboards to let users download apps or drive them to a WAP site; TV commercials promoting SMS text messaging to allow users to enter a contest, and more.  Remember, mobile is no longer just a supplement to display advertising.  It’s an important vehicle for driving brand engagement. Any digital campaign can benefit from the value that mobile provides.

A version of this article also appeared in MediaPost on January 31, 2012: