From businessmen finalizing billion dollar deals to teenagers seeking solutions to math problems and family members separated by thousand of miles connecting with each other, mobile phones have changed the way the world perceives communication today. Everyone has access to mobile phones and why not? They help to stay in touch with family & friends, company associates and access the world wide web a.k.a internet.

Finally in 1993, it dawned upon marketers, why not reach potential targets through mobile ads? With so many people using mobile phones and the numbers rising by the day, mobile advertising was finally introduced.

What is Mobile Advertising?

Mobile advertising helps marketers connect with their audience and promote their products/services via advertising on mobile phones. Advertising on mobile is a dynamic and flexible process which helps marketers reach their audience as they are on-the-go.

These ads appear in web pages, content websites, while viewing an app, video/audio or even while playing games.

Key benefits of Advertising on Mobile:

 Easy accessibility: Mobile phones are available with people 24×7, hence the ads that you place on mobile phones follow them wherever they go and since mobile phones are switched on at all times, ads reach users anytime anywhere. This way, advertising on mobile has an added advantage over other forms of digital ads. You can reach your potential customers wherever they are and not have to wait for them to log into their computers, see billboards or tune into a TV broadcast to view ads.

 Mobiles reach larger number of people: Its astounding to see how an UN report has suggested that by the end of 2014, there will be more mobile phones than human beings on this planet! Recent reports have also stated that close to 50% of mobile users own android phones and smartphones who have access to the internet. Need I say more? By Advertising on mobile, you can effectively reach large number of people.

 Advertising on Mobile is Cost Effective: Targeting users with advertising on mobile phones costs a fraction of what other medium (digital and traditional) ads cost. When compared to Google Ads (pay-per-click), digital media advertising – texting (SMS), social media, video uploads etc or traditional form of advertising – classifieds, newspapers and magazines; advertising on mobile can be a lot lighter on your pockets. You can a reach a lot more people for a lot less.

 Mobile Ads are Intimate: Since mobile phones are mostly used for personal messages and conversations, if you customize your message according to your customers’ needs, they are likely to pay more heed to your advertisement.

 Instant Connect: With the advent GPS and more and more users connecting through it, knowing the geographical location of your users can be critical in helping you to engage with them. Using location based services or LBS, marketers can converse with customers directly.

 Example: Many times when you walk into a mall, there are banners everywhere asking you to switch on your Bluetooth device. When you switch it on, the mall authorities or the people running the advertising on mobile campaigns knows your location and  are able to connect with you by sending you shopping deals/sale vouchers & details/discount coupons from shops within the mall. This is nothing but location based services.

Location based targeting is highly beneficial for travel companies, restaurants, education institutions and B2C companies to get instant feedback, app downloads, game downloads, click-to-call, view videos from mobile users etc. Your messages or ads can be send via Bluetooth devices, QRS codes etc. Just make sure that the messaging is intriguing and innovative.

But, since mobile phones are permission-based devices, some customers may proactively give you feedback, while some may not. So, don’t lose heart.

 2-Way Communication: LBS gets you instant feedback from users building a 2-way communication channel between you and the user. This enables you to test the waters that you are in, i.e. test your marketing strategy almost real time and measure its performance.

Since you know the location of your users, you can analyse the origins of mobile traffic and help you make predictions about where traffic is most and is likely to increase. With new technology, you can also discover which devices your users are using to view your ads so you can present your ads in the best formats for those devices.

Types of Advertising on Mobile:

 landing page WAP mobile ads – WAP or Wireless application protocol is the technology required to help people access information over mobile phones. These ads are also divided into text and image ads. Text ads have two lines of text, with as many as 12 or 18 characters per line (however, this depends on the language of use). The third line has your website URL, but this is optional. In this ad, you can also add a ‘Call’ link allowing users to call you directly via your ad. WAP mobile image ads look the same way in which you have uploaded the file.

 Example: WAP mobile ads are beneficial for E-commerce mobile websites, travel agencies or educational/coaching institutes where users can get in touch with companies directly through the details provided on the ad.

landing page Mobile Web Banner and Web Poster Ads – These are the most popular types of advertising on mobile. As the name suggests, banner ads appear at the top of a mobile website screen. The ads appear within the mobile website content which allows the user to click through to an external page thereby leading to increased footfall on a website and making them prospective leads. Web Poster Ads appear at the bottom of a mobile website screen and function the same way banner ads perform.

landing page SMS & MMS advertising – These types of advertising on mobile also get favorable results. In SMS advertising, an SMS in the form of an ad is sent to a user’s phone and it looks like a normal text messages. SMS ads can ask users to download something, ask for some feedback or present a link asking the user to visit another website. SMS advertising is a great way to reach millions of users. Multimedia messaging service or MMS mobile ads pop-up while a user is playing a game, watch a video or trying to download some content off the mobile internet.

landing page Click-to-call: Click-to-call advertising on mobile is when a mobile user clicks on a button within the ad and requests a connection with the marketer or another person by phone call or a text message.

CTC can be highly beneficial for E-commerce websites, local search engines, companies in the service sector like hospitals, help desks etc. Here, people who are browsing through a mobile ad can connect with users immediately. This helps solve any queries that users have and enables sales people to get in touch with users and help them convert.

landing page Audio and Video Ads: Audio and video ads on mobile phones capture user attention in a jiffy and engage the user. This in turn increases ad engagement.

landing page Interstitials mobile ads – Interstitial means ‘in-between’ and these full page mobile ads appear to a user when they are being led to another page, mostly their destination page. In most cases, since the user knows that the website they are looking for is coming up in a few seconds, the interstitial ad message is usually read through.

 Example: When you click on this website link, you will be taken to the Google search page. But, before that you will be fed with an Interstitial ad. You have to wait for a few seconds (may range from 5 second to 10 seconds) before you can skip the ad or press enter to go to the destination website.

Another example would be interstitial ads on e-commerce mobile websites. When an user clicks on a link to view a particular product and as the webpage is loading, they can be shown an interstitial ad of attractive discounts/sales on products. Since these ads are bright and flashy, they leave a visual impact on the user and are ideal for new brand/product launch or to get more clicks and engagement on a link.

Metrics to Measure Performance of Mobile Advertisements:

Now that we know what advertising on mobile means and what are the various types, here are the ways in which marketers can measure them for maximum effectiveness.

Click through Rate: The most prevalent way of measuring the effectiveness of a mobile ad campaign has been click-through rate or CTR. CTR is the measurement of keeping track of how many people have clicked upon a particular link. Just like people do not watch TV with a purpose to watch commercials alone, the users who view your ads on mobile do not log into the mobile websites with the sole purpose of viewing your ads. As harsh as it sounds, it is true…hence this is why CTR is so important.

As a marketer, your ads are not just plain text or images, they want to elicit an action out of the mobile user – buy a book/product, read something off the phone, watch a music video or search for a flight/movie ticket. Hence, CTR helps your gauge how many people have clicked your ad link to take users to another website. The users may then even convert to leads.

A high CTR is good and means that the particular link within the ad is getting more clicks. However, a low CTR rate not only lets you know that the ad is not faring well, but also lets you amend the ad for better marketing.

 Cost per Impression:  Most often termed as CPI or CPM, cost per impression is when an advertiser pays for every 1000 times an ad is displayed (this is known as an impression). This strategy of measuring the effectiveness of advertising on mobile works mostly based on estimated viewership or readership.

If your goal is to get users to just view your ad rather than clicking on it, then CPI is a good option. CPM or CPI best suits advertisers who are focused on brand awareness, i.e. getting their brand name in front of people and not website footfall or number of clicks on their mobile ads.

 Cost per click: CPC or PPC (pay-per-click) means that each time an user clicks on your ad, you pay a predetermined amount (this is fixed during the bidding process like it is done in Google ad campaigns).

This type of advertising on mobile is beneficial for marketers who are looking for increased footfall on a particular site or want more clicks on their ad rather than just brand awareness. This ad option is also beneficial if you have a fixed budget.

 Example: If you have fixed Rs 20 per click and want only 1000 clicks on your ad, you will not get more than 1,000 clicks and will pay no more than Rs 20, 000. This also has a drawback. People who click on your ad can either turn into a lead/sale or not, and once your budget is over, your ad will disappear until you renew it once again.

Advertising on mobile is here to stay. Stay tuned for my next blog where I will discuss about the top 5 mobile advertising platforms for B2C companies.

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