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5 mobile advertising best practices

5 mobile advertising best practices Will Cohen

As a practitioner in the field of mobile marketing, one of the most common things I hear from mobile publishers in regard to putting ads on their app or mobile site is a slight apprehension that it may jeopardize the customer's user experience. This is a valid concern. However, using effective integration techniques and mobile advertising best practices can be beneficial to a publisher and even enhance the customer experience.

It's easy to see how a mobile publisher might be hesitant to place ads within their properties, as for most ecommerce retailers, their No. 1 priority is sales conversions. Some companies see mobile advertising as a hindrance or hurdle blocking the customer from purchasing.
However, when done right, mobile publishers can earn incremental mobile advertising revenue without sacrificing their consumer experience. Here are some best practices.

Be relevant, be data driven

Nobody enjoys being served an ad for something in which they have no interest. That's where data comes into play. Mobile retail publishers that have the ability to track users' onsite, in-app or in-store behaviors and purchases, and then segment those users into specific audience verticals, already have a tremendous advantage in mobile advertising. This means that consumers will be targeted with location and content relevant advertising, thus leading to increased time spent onsite or in-app and ultimately to better conversions. This also allows retailers to target previous consumers that are browsing mobile sites and apps, and then be able to drive traffic back to the retailer's mobile properties.

In a recent study by Tapjoy, more than 50 percent of respondents said they prefer ads that are relevant and personalized to their general interests. In a world of privacy concern it is of course important to follow items such as FTC best practices on privacy disclosures and assure no personally identifiable information is collected.

Native advertising

The word "native," in terms of the advertising world, is no longer just a buzz word. It is has now become a core part of the advertising industry. Despite it being somewhat nascent in the mobile industry, native advertising is important for many reasons, especially when it comes to mobile. With less real estate on smartphones and tablets, native ads give digital marketers the ability to blend content within their mobile properties without necessarily having to carve out new or additional ad placements.

Native ads are also typically interacted with and viewed more frequently. In fact, a study by OPA, Sharethrough found that mobile ads in a native format can drive up to four times higher click-through rates than standard mobile banner ads and are viewed more than 50 percent more often by consumers. With all eyes on viewability within the advertising industry, native ads certainly can help alleviate some of that concern within mobile.

Reach your audience where they are

Seventy percent of digital users now access the internet across both mobile and PC. So naturally mobile is an important method through which to reach your audience. Digital marketers everywhere aspire to be proficient in multi-platform marketing, as witnessed by the major change in how digital content is consumed.

However, cross-screen advertising can be easier said than done since cookies and mobile hardly go well together. Many companies have different methods of cross-screen targeting. Having a universal login, such as the Facebooks, Googles and eBays of the world, is one way to market to your audience across multi channels with absolute certainty that you are reaching the correct target. Other marketers without this luxury are beginning to see the rise of a cookie-less environment, making the need to accurately track mobile device IDs and create cross-screen linking, imperative to reach their target audience. Because of this platform shift, many third-party companies are emerging that assist to drive cross-device matching, thereby helping retailers and publishers create seamless and relevant marketing experiences that reach the right audience at the right time on whichever device they may migrate to.

Use video

Mobile video is one of the fastest-growing segments of mobile advertising. It can be sold at premium pricing and is a great revenue driver, but it also provides consumers engaging and useful content while they shop. In a world where more than half of shoppers prefer to use their phones to gather product information, video serves as a tremendous vehicle to deliver this information. That is why mobile video ads housed in native or IAB standard formats can be key to a good advertising experience. A recommendation is to keep the videos short, typically 15 seconds. With 75 percent of consumers using smartphones to watch online video and 87 percent using tablets, it's clear that video is an important tool in the retail advertising industry.

Use your app

A recent study found that 89 percent of consumer media time is spent in smartphone and tablet applications. This does not mean that all retailer apps will represent the majority of their business's traffic or time spent engaging, but it means that apps usually contain "stickier" and more engaging tools and content. Mobile web is of course a tremendously valuable avenue, but it is important that mobile ads are also run within mobile applications as an advertising supplement.

As consumers continue to become more and more reliant on multiple devices, it is important that marketers embrace these changes and use them as a tool to make a shopper's journey more relevant and helpful. As mobile platforms are increasingly becoming the screen of choice, ensuring that consumers are receiving the best advertising experience possible will be how some retailers and marketers will win and how some will lose.

Will Cohen is senior director, mobile at Triad Retail Media.

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"Businessman using laptop and mobile phone" image via Shutterstock.

Will Cohen is the Vice President of Mobile at Triad Retail Media. Triad creates, manages and operates online media programs for leading retail e-commerce websites, delivering innovative, custom digital ad campaign opportunities to national brands to...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Will Cohen

2015, March 10

Thanks, Wade. I completely agree with your message relevance statement This is a great study that you included: "70% of users consider mobile ads on smart phones as a personal invitation rather than an intrusion. In addition, the study shows that users want these ads to help them explore products they're interested in and subsequently enable them to make a purchase decision then and there."

That's very powerful and to your point, really drives home the need for message relevance.

Commenter: Wade Kingston

2015, March 10

Excellent piece. I think the true lifeblood of mobile advertising is message relevance, so your argument about timing and message-to-user pertinence is key. The power and persuasiveness of relevant mobile ads should not be underestimated (reports say 70% of mobile users view relevant ads very favorably -- . http://www.airpush.com/how-consumers-are-driving-a-new-acceptance-of-mobile-advertising/ )