Mobile advertising is type of advertising that appears on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets that have wireless connections. As a subset of mobile marketing, mobile advertising can take place as text ads via SMS, or banner advertisements that appear embedded in mobile web site, in downloaded apps or in mobile games. Mobile technology used by companies such as Google and Facebook tailor mobile advertisements based on individual’s web browsing history, geographic location, and with data collected by shopping habits. Because mobile devices typically have smaller screens than computers or laptops, this form of digital advertising is usually optimized for small displays by being concise.
As mobile devices outnumber television sets now by almost 3 to 1, the chances of a potential customer seeing a mobile ad are greater than that of most other forms of advertising today. One of the popular models in mobile advertising is known as cost per install (CPI), where payment is based on the user installing an app on their mobile device. CPI mobile advertising networks work either as incent or non-incent. In the incent model the user is given virtual points or rewards to install the game or app.
Mobile Advertising History
The earliest form of mobile advertising took place via SMS test messages, but has quickly evolved to mobile web and in-app advertisements. Many apps offer a free version that can be downloaded at no cost, but which is paid for by placement of advertisements within the app. Such advertisements can be removed by purchasing a full or premium version of the app. Mobile versions of websites also have advertisements which have been optimized for the smaller mobile displays than would appear on the full version of the same website.
Mobile Adverting Platforms
Mobile advertising also works hand in hand with mobile marketing, which uses personal data collected and technology such as location services to personalize ads based on user preference, habits, or location. Some mobile advertisements may appear only when a mobile user is in close proximity to a certain store or service provider. Mobile ad placement works by way of a programmatic bidding process for ad placement, in which advertisers bid in real time for the right to place an ad on a mobile device. The infrastructure that allows for this process is known as a demand-side platform (DSP). Use of such platforms allows advertisers to optimize their performance as based on a number of key performance indicators (KPI), such as effective cost per click (eCPC) and effective cost per action (eCPA).
Mobile marketing utilizes multiple distribution channels to promote products and services via mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. It makes use of features of modern mobile technology, such as location services, to tailor marketing campaigns based on an individual’s location. Mobile marketing is a way in which technology can be used to create personalized promotion of goods or services to a user who is constantly connected to a network. Mobile advertising is a subset of mobile marketing.
Mobile marketing may include promotions sent through SMS text messaging, MMS multimedia messaging, through downloaded apps using push notifications, through in-app or in-game marketing, through mobile web sites, or by using a mobile device to scan QR codes. Proximity systems and location based services can alert users based on geographic location or proximity to a service provider.
Mobile marketing an indispensable tool for companies large and small as mobile devices become ubiquitous. The key players in the space are the brands (and companies that they represent through advertising), and service providers that enable mobile advertising. Mobile advertising targets audiences not so much by demographics but by behaviors (though demography plays a part, such as the fact that iPad users tend to be older and wealthier). One notable behavior in the mobile marketing space known as “snacking,” which is when mobile device users check in to media or messaging for brief periods. Such seeking of instant gratification equates to more points of contact for marketers.
In mobile marketing, the device (especially screen size) does make a difference — users of smartphones and iPad tablets react differently to mobile marketing. For example, smartphone users tend to find informative content to be the most relevant, yet iPad users tend to be captivated by interactive advertising that features rich media presentations with eye-catching imagery (the message of the content is a secondary concern).
Mobile Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing
Unlike traditional marketing efforts, mobile marketing takes advantage of the fact that many users of mobile devices carry them around with them wherever they go. As a result, location-based services can collect customer data and then offer coupons, deals or promotions based on their proximity to a store or a place frequently visited by the consumer. These marketing campaigns can be more targeted and specific to the individual user, and should therefore be more effective for the company doing the marketing. One example may be a marketing campaign that sends food-related coupons to a customer any time they come within half a mile of a specific supermarket.
Mobile Marketing Concerns
There are privacy issues concerning how the data collected by mobile devices is used and whether or not companies have the right to collect such data without explicit consent. Such data can be used for identity theft or to send spam if it falls into the wrong hands due to data theft or poor security of the information. Also, the tracking of individual’s locations and movements may be considered crossing the line by some.