I don’t think I’m taking any giant leaps at this point by assuming most everyone in this industry has come across at least one study, report, or opinion piece suggesting the incredible opportunity that is mobile advertising. Reports of the mobile ad industry’s tens of billions of dollars potential have however been questioned repeatedly due to its slow growth in actual revenue. While part of this underwhelming performance is simply due to the fact that the market is still new and unfamiliar to consumers, a much bigger part of the delayed success simply stems from advertisers using the technology improperly.
I’ve written before about the enormous potential mobile marketing presents in terms of connecting other marketing mediums to mobile, but that is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what advertisers can achieve in this space. One of the biggest and most effective means of optimizing mobile advertising comes in the form of taking advantage of social media.
Sponsored Stories Outperform Mobile Ads
Advertisers can be a very stubborn bunch. Many advertisers have difficulty shaking the strategies that have been successful in the past, and mobile ads tend to be the victim of said stubbornness. A huge factor in the under-performance of mobile ads is that many of them are designed with the same notion as desktop banner ads. The small screen real estate makes a flashing or intrusive mobile banner simply ineffective and frankly quite annoying. A huge number of the clicks that these ads receive are simple accidental touches, and more often than not advertisers will fail to properly optimize the landing page they take users to anyway.
The far more effective option for mobile advertisers, is to place ads within sponsored stories on social feeds. Almost 40% of mobile subscribers report accessing social media sites primarily through their mobile devices, and sponsored stories outperform mobile ads and desktop ads for both Facebook and Twitter alike. While mobile users are extremely action-oriented, expecting them to leave the apps or mobile site they are visiting in order to read up on an unrelated product or service makes far less sense than leading them to your content while they are already in a browsing-first environment like social media.
Social Sites Are Perfect For the Second Screen
Speaking of catching consumers in a browsing-first mindset, what better time to do so than in situations where they have time to kill? While connecting mobile messaging to out-of-home and on-the-go mediums can be a great opportunity, attacking the areas of life when consumers are hungriest for content is the way to dominate mobile. Places like airport terminals, waiting rooms, bars, and public transit are the perfect opportunity to get your brand in front of your audience, and with social media being a HUGE outlet for mobile traffic, connecting these social sites to your advertising can result in massive returns.
Getting a little creative with these down time targeted ads can make all the difference. Place an ad in a waiting room that features a URL or QR code leading to an optimized mobile site which gives the user exclusive content they can then share through their social channels with one quick tap. Link a scannable barcode to all your social sites that enters users into a Facebook contest, checks them in on FourSuare, or Tweets about their current status. Place a promoted tweet that targets public transit users and give them the chance to engage on the go.
I’ve heard it said many times that Social Media was web 2.0 and Mobile will be the next generation. True, mobile is the future (and present) but Social Media is not being replaced by mobile, it is being taken to a whole new level. Those among us that can figure out the formula to successfully merge these two amazing innovations, social media and mobile marketing, will quickly be miles and miles ahead of the pack.