With about 2 billion mobile devices in use around the world already and a continuous increase in the daily time being spent on mobile phones, any ad executive will give you the same sage advice – don’t underestimate mobile advertising.
But despite spending thousands of dollars each year on hiring top ad executives to produce several mobile advertising campaigns each year, most companies fail to see any improvement in sales or brand recognition. Most such failures can be traced back to one of these 5 most common mobile advertising mistakes to avoid.Continue Reading..
Are you a little intimidated by the idea of running a mobile display banner ad campaign for your business? Does the idea of getting involved in mobile ads sound complex and difficult? If that sounds familiar, then this post is for you. I've taken an excerpt from my book Go Mobile and adapted it for our blog so that you can learn everything you need to know about using mobile display banner ads to drive new customers to your business.
Ready to get started? Great -- let's go.
In the glory days of Madison Avenue during the 20th century, if you wanted to run an ad campaign, it was pretty simple. You’d call up the newspaper, a few radio stations, some TV networks and perhaps a magazine or two and run the campaign. Given how streamlined the media planning and buying process was during those Mad Man days, it’s no surprise they had three martini lunches all the time – there was nothing else to do.
But today, media planning and buying is much more complex (and interesting). In order to be successful, you have to be intimately familiar with all the different ways to distribute your ads, which might include dozens of radio networks, hundreds of cable channels, thousands of paid search campaigns and millions of different websites. (It’s all so complex that perhaps the only way to deal with it is to go back to drinking three martinis at lunch again.)
We’re kidding about the three martini lunches but you get our point – 21st century marketing is so complex that it requires a statistician to keep track of everything.
In order to help with that, mobile ad networks were invented. A mobile ad network provides you a network of “channels” (websites, apps, games, etc.) that attract the kinds of people you’re interested in reaching. So, for example, if you were Sports Illustrated and you were interested in reaching men over the age of 25 who index high for their interest in sports, then you’d contact a mobile ad network and have them plan and place the ad for you across hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of websites, apps and games.
There are dozens of mobile ad networks to choose from. Some of the larger and more familiar would be iAd from Apple, AdMob from Google and MillenialMedia, which is independent. In addition, you’ll want to check out 4INFO, BuzzCity, CellTick, JumpTap, HipCricket, Medio, Mobclix and Microsoft’s ad network.
There are a few online publishers such at the Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times and others that are able to sell mobile inventory on their own. This works great if you have a very simple mobile marketing program or if you’re just buying one of these channels as a way to round-out your offline marketing program. But if you really want to have a successful mobile marketing campaign, you’ll need to buy more than just a handful of publications and rely on a mobile advertising network instead.
Mobile Display Ad Specs. Mobile display ads come in all shapes and sizes. As of this writing, there are no one-size-fits-all standards, but the information below should give you a sense of some of the more common sizes.
You can run standard display ads, which are just like the banner ads you see on traditional websites. Or, you can run rich media ads, which use video to enhance the experience. Also, with the advent of the iPad and other tablet computers, there are now two general categories of mobile display ads that you’ll want to be familiar with.
Smartphone Display Ads
Large Image Banner: 320 x 250 pixels; images can be GIF, PNG or JPEG under 10 KB file size. Animated GIF for animation.
Standard Image Banner: 320 x 50 pixels; images can be GIF, PNG or JPEG under 10 KB file size. Animated GIF for animation.
Medium Image Banner: 168 x 42 pixels; images can be GIF, PNG or JPEG under 4 KB file size. Animated GIF for animation.
Small Image Banner: 120 x 30 pixels; images can be GIF, PNG or JPEG under 2 KB file size. Animated GIF for animation.
Text Tagline (Optional): Up to 24 characters for X-Large; Up to 18 characters for Large; Up to 12 characters for Medium; Up to 10 characters for Small. Not used for XX-Large.
Smartphone Rich Media Ads
Full Screen Video: 320 x 50/300 x 250 pixels; file size less than 3 MB; maximum animation length: 30 seconds.
Slider Video: 320 x 50 pixels; file size less than 5 KB (50 x 50) and less than 15 KB (270 x 50); maximum animation length: 30 seconds.
Overlay: 320 x 50 pixels that expands to 320 x 480 pixels; file size less than 20 KB.
Tablet Display Ads
X-Large Horizontal Image Banner: 728 x 90 pixels; images can be GIF, PNG or JPEG under 40 KB file size. Animated GIF for animation.
Large Square Image Banner: 300 x 250 pixels; images can be GIF, PNG or JPEG under 40 KB file size. Animated GIF for animation.
Sky Scraper Image Banner: 120 x 600 pixels; images can be GIF, PNG or JPEG under 40 KB file size. Animated GIF for animation.
Medium Horizontal Image Banner: 468 x 60 pixels; images can be GIF, PNG or JPEG under 40 KB file size. Animated GIF for animation.
X-Large Image Banner: 320 x 50 pixels; images can be GIF, PNG or JPEG under 10 KB file size. Animated GIF for animation.
Tablet Rich Media Ads
In Line Video: 300 x 250 pixels; file size less than 40 KB; maximum animation length: 30 seconds. User initiated on click.
Click to Video: 300 x 250/728 x 90/120 x 600/468 x 60; file size less than 3 MB; maximum animation length: 30 seconds. User initiated on click.
Full Screen Auto Play: 300 x 250/728 x 90/120 x 600/468 x 60; file size less than 3 MB; maximum animation length: 30 seconds. Auto play.
Understanding the technical specs of a mobile display campaign is important, but the really important stuff is what you do with the ads. After all, it’s one thing to run a traditional mobile banner ad that’s static, but it’s another thing completely to run a banner ad that engages your prospects and converts them into customers.
Here are some innovative techniques you can use to help drive more customers to your business:
Drive Users to Your Location: If you’re interested in connecting prospects to bricks-and-mortar locations, you’re in luck. It’s pretty easy to use geo-locational technology to identify where a prospect is located. Once the prospect clicks on your ad, they can be driven through to a map that identifies the store that’s nearest their current location. When they click on the map, the contact information for that location is displayed on their smart phone. This technique is perfect for bookstores, car dealerships, auto repair shops, hardware stores, movie theaters … come to think of it, this technique is perfect for any bricks-and-mortar business.
Connect Users with Your Brand: If you’re looking for a way to get prospects and customers to interact with your brand, there’s a simple technique for that. Once they click your ad, they’re taken to a screen that encourages them to upload a photo from their photo file that shows them interacting with your product. You can run promotions where the person who uploads a photo of themselves holding your product in the most exotic location wins a year’s supply of your product. Variations on that theme are pretty easy to execute.
Run a Viral Coupon Promotion: Interested in driving a lot of business to your location? Then you can run a display ad that allows users to send an SMS text message to themselves and to their friends with a discount code in the message. Once people receive the code they can keep it on their phone until they arrive at your location. Best of all, they can forward it to friends who will also take advantage of the promotion. Remember to include an expiration date for the promotion so that it caps the length of the discount.
Become Part of Your Prospect’s Contact List: Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your company contact information added to your prospect’s contact list on their phone? Bingo, consider it done. You can run a display ad that sends a push notification to the person who clicked your ad asking for permission to add your contact information to their phone. From that point on, you’re in their database so they have easy access to your contact information. This is perfect for B2C as well as B2B companies that are looking to open up a channel of easy communication with prospects and customers.
Run an Email Promotion: One of the best things about digital communications is that, in many cases, it costs virtually nothing to expand your reach. When a user clicks on your ad, you can encourage them to spread the word about your promotion by emailing friends about it. Imagine the impact on your business if you’re a restaurant that wants to drive people to your Cinco De Mayo event or if you’re a music venue that wants to drive ticket sales for an upcoming concert. By encouraging people to email their friends, you’re driving extra business to your company without having to spend a dime more on marketing.
Add an Event to Your Prospect’s Calendar: What if you’re having special sale that runs a few weekends out? Or, what if you want prospects to mark their calendars for an Arts or Music Festival? Or what if you’re a TV network that wants to promote the season premiere of a hit show? Good news – you can run a display ad that sends a push notification to prospects that can add your event to their calendar. Once they approve the notification, your date is added to their calendar with a reminder notification that pops up a few days or a few hours before the event.
Incorporate User Photos into an Ad: Want to deepen your relationship with prospects and customers? One of the best ways to do that is to incorporate a photo of them into your ads. All you have to do is run a display ad that encourages them to take a photo of themselves (preferably using your product) that they can then upload into a customized version of your ad. It’s a great way to make your brand a deeper part of your prospect’s and customer’s lives.
Okay, now that we’ve covered all the cool ways you can use display ads to connect with prospects and customers, let’s talk about another really interesting aspect of mobile display advertising – targeting.
Targeting Options for Mobile Display Ads. In doing research for Go Mobile, the book I co-authored with Jeanne Hopkins, we interviewed Raphael Rivilla, who was the Chief Digital Officer at BKV Digital and Direct Response. Raphael is an expert at all things mobile, particularly mobile media planning and buying.
Raphael says that there are so many options for targeting people with mobile media that it’s often hard for marketing directors to figure out where to start. Do you want to target people who only visit the top 100 websites? Sure, you can do that. What about targeting only people who are AT&T customers? That’s no problem. How about targeting only Android users? Yup, that’s easy.
But it gets even better. Do you want to target by WiFi usage? For example, do you want to send an ad to business travelers who are accessing the mobile internet in airports across the globe? You can do that. Or what about wealthy individuals who are vacationing in high-end resorts? You can do that, too.
You can target by time of day, you can target people who have recently switched mobile service providers and you can even target people who are within a very narrowly-defined geographic location (which is perfect for restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other small businesses).
And that’s still just the beginning. What if you were interested in targeting people who have exhibited certain behaviors? For example, what if you wanted to target only people who were reading an article on CNN’s mobile site and who had previously clicked through on an ad for a red Chrysler convertible? You could do that. No problem.
In our interview with Raphael, we asked a tough question – “What if we only wanted to reach doctors, who owned Mercedes-Benz automobiles, who lived within 5 miles of the seashore, who make more than $250,000 a year and who have downloaded the Food & Wine app to their iPads? Would that be possible?”
Surprisingly, Raphael’s answer was yes, that by combining mobile targeting techniques with data available from companies like Experian and Trans Union, you could target those individuals.
What Raphael was kind enough to gloss over was the fact that there are probably only 20 people in the U.S. who match those exact criteria, which would make a campaign that tightly-defined unpractical. But you get our point – you can get very specific with your targeting using mobile display ads. And the more tightly-defined you get with your campaign, the more interest your prospect probably has in your product, which improves the ROI of your campaign.
Buying Mobile Display Ads. You can buy mobile display ads in a variety of ways: CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions), CPC (cost-per-click) or CPA (cost-per-acquisition). Let’s take a look at which type of mobile display ad might work best for your company.
CPM: When you buy on a CPM basis, you’re basically buying a guaranteed number of impressions. By impression we mean the number of times your ad is displayed to an individual. So, for example, if you’re buying ads on CNN.com and paying a $3.00 CPM, then you’re paying $3.00 for every 1,000 people who see your ad. (Before you run out to CNN with $3.00 in your hand, please remember that there are minimum spends and that you have to show your ad to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people before the economics of a CPM approach work out.) Buying on a CPM basis is good if you’re interested in creating brand awareness for your product or service. It’s not as good if you’re interested in driving people to a mobile site where they could buy something there – like a book, a song or an event ticket. For that, you’d probably want to use CPC or CPA.
CPC: Buying on a cost-per-click basis is good if you’re interested in paying Google, Yahoo or Bing only when someone clicks on your ad. In other words, you can run an ad on Google and agree to pay them 25¢ for every person who clicks through on your ad. It might take 100 people to click through on your ad to make a sale, but if it costs you $25 (i.e., 25¢ x 100 clicks) to sell a product for $250, then it’s a no brainer – fire away. Interestingly, CPC is also good if you’re not expecting a lot of click-throughs on your ad. Why would you want to run a CPC ad that doesn’t get a lot of click-throughs? Because you’re still getting the brand imagery associated you’re your ad. In other words, tens of thousands of people are still seeing your brand name on the ad and, assuming the don’t click through, you don’t pay a dime. It sounds crazy, but it’s true.
CPA: Cost-per-acquisition (also known as cost-per-engagement or cost-per-download) ensures that your mobile marketing campaign will deliver the exact action you’re seeking. You only pay when someone actually buys your product. Now, before you jump out of your seat and run off to find a CPA deal, understand that there’s more to it than meets the eye. Companies that will run CPA programs for you will often need to charge set-up costs, which can be tens of thousands of dollars. So, it’s not as simple as it looks. After all, nothing is free. Well, except air. And love. But other than that, most things cost money.
Mobile Video. Mobile videos can run before, during or after a visitor has clicked through to content on a mobile site. They can also be imbedded within mobile display ads.
A terrific example of the use of mobile video can be seen with Pandora, the online radio station that plays music selections based specifically on your individual taste. At various times during user’s engagement with Pandora, they’ll run short video ads on the site. These short ads are great ways for marketers to introduce their products to new customers. Better still, data can be tracked if a user clicks through on the video to your company website.
Animal Planet also used mobile video to build awareness of their River Monsters series. It was part of an integrated campaign that ran across multiple platforms, including a YouTube campaign that generated more than 900,000 views in the weeks leading up to the premiere. Animal Planet created interactive video ads on the AdMob network that gave viewers the opportunity to watch a preview of the River Monsters show, share the video through social media, learn more about the show’s mobile website and watch additional videos, all from within the mobile ad.
The campaign was a huge success. Mobile videos promoting the show generated more than 3 million impressions with 84% of the viewers watching the entire video. And interactive video ads on the AdMob network generated another 6 million impressions, with 75,000 users engaging with one of the interactive elements in the ad creative.
If you’re going to use mobile video as part of your mobile marketing campaign, you’ll want to make sure you keep a few best practices in mind. For starters, make sure your video will render well on a small screen. (For example, dark and fast-moving images won’t look great on a mobile device.) Also keep video ads very short. 10 seconds is an eternity for a mobile video ad. 15 seconds is an eternity and then some. 30 seconds … well, you get the idea. Keep ‘em short.
One other thing to keep in mind is what the post-click experience is going to be like. Many businesses focus so much attention on the production of the video that they forget to put any emphasis on the post-video experience. That’s a no-no.
Mobile Display May be the Most Important Part of Your Campaign. You might find it easy to breeze through the mobile display chapter in this book, but that would be a mistake. While mobile apps, mobile websites and location based services like Foursquare might get a lot of the good press in mobile marketing, the heavy lifting is done in the mobile display world. Think of it this way – fighter pilots may get all the attention, but no war has ever been won without the support of the ground troops. Think of mobile display as your ground troops – it’s the nuts-and-bolts side of the equation, but, man, those are some important nuts and bolts.
Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications agency that works with well-known brands and organizations. He is the co-author of "How to Make Money with Social Media" and "Go Mobile" and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.
Connect with Jamie Now
The 60 Second Marketer is an online magazine read by hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. Some of the posts are provided by our sponsors. 100% of our posts have been reviewed, edited and approved by the 60 Second Marketer. Come on in and enjoy the ride.
Looking for a Speaker?
Watch Jamie Turner on CNN
Connect with Our Readers
Find Stuff on the Website
Join Thousands in Our Community and Get Access to Our Resource Library Now!