What your mobile device says about you

How many times have you been plugging away on your smartphone, being productive on the go (or playing "Words With Friends"), when an ad completely interrupts you? To make matters worse, not only is the ad interruptive, it's irrelevant. Research tells us that smartphone users are actually less likely to click on a mobile ad than tablet users. Somewhere along the marketing pipeline, someone didn't do his/her homework.

The devices we use tend to shape our behaviors, providing marketers an extra layer of insight into click-through habits and preferences. These are the demographics that matter for today's marketers -- device demographics. In the 21st century, marketers need to be aware of the behaviors that are specific to mobile device owners. The more marketers know about consumer behavior, the more relevant their campaigns can be. The channels have changed, but the fact remains the same: Consumers demand relevancy.

What your mobile device says about you

Device demographics play a critical role in whether or not a targeted customer is likely to respond. Below are a few key demographic statistics that marketers should consider when planning a mobile advertising campaign:

  • An iPhone user is most likely young, optimistic, and open to spending more money. Given this, click-through rates for mobile Apple users are typically higher. Depending on the price point and desirability of your product, pushing out an ad to someone who falls into this demographic might make more sense than targeting Android users, who have been found to be more pessimistic and less likely to spend money.
  • The majority of Android users earn under $75,000 annually, whereas iPhone and BlackBerry users tend to earn over $75,000 annually. This information is particularly useful when marketing a more high-end product.
  • In the U.S., the South and Southwest are largely Android-based, while the Midwest and Northeast lean toward iOS. This tip can be critical for marketers deploying regional campaigns.
  • Only 45 percent of iPhone users have never paid more than a dollar for an app, compared to 62 percent on Android and 63 percent on BlackBerry. This is a key insight for app developers to understand how revenue is generated (through app purchases or in-app advertising).
  • Location-based content is very well-received, with an overwhelming 80 percent of mobile users preferring ads that are locally relevant. Marketers can improve their advertisements by providing a financial incentive in the form of a coupon or voucher for a business in proximity to the consumer.
  • Windows OS users tend to be suburbanite and "not particularly well-traveled." BlackBerry users are more likely to be well-traveled, politically liberal, and city-dwelling. Therefore, deals on city restaurants, airfare, and hotels are more likely to resonate with this audience.

How does all this play into a marketing campaign? Let's say you are in charge of marketing and promotions for a popular wine company. In your audience research you would find that Android users prefer Moscato instead of, say, Chianti. After a little more digging, you would discover that Android users are more likely to prefer to save their money and not spend a lot. Knowing these two simple preferences, you are in a better position to concentrate your advertisements to Android users about a sale on Moscato at a local liquor store. To do this, marketers need to leverage device detection technology that will ensure the ad is delivered to the right device and in the right format. The capabilities of smart mobile devices enable marketers to more efficiently reach relevant audiences with the highest purchase intent.

Device demographics enable marketers to take predictive targeting to a level not previously attainable. It's simple: The more predictive the marketing spend, the greater the ROI. Understanding the consumer profile of an iPad user versus a BlackBerry user gives brands an even deeper level of insight and an ability to deliver pre-formatted content that ensures an optimal viewing experience. Mobile technology gives marketers real-time insight into how campaigns are tracking, which can then be adjusted accordingly during rollout.

The name of the game is knowing your audience, just as it is with TV commercials and print advertisements. Mobile marketing spend is growing, but marketers can easily waste that spend if device demographics aren't considered more carefully. With research into this new set of demographics and the proper technology to implement specific targeting, marketers can target more effectively -- that is, who, when, and where to target. Savvy marketers will take advantage and reap the benefits. The others will be left wondering why no one clicked on their "Words With Friends" pop-up ad.

Martin Hayward is the director of marketing at Mirror Image Internet.

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