Abstract Mobile advertising is a fast-growing part of marketing communications. In this paper we will discuss how mobile devices have become the medium of the future and how it affects advertising. This paper will explore the different approaches for mobile advertising as well as the creation and design of advertisements for mobile devices. Targeting your audience, technical challenges, current trends, as well as the future of mobile advertising will be touched upon. We will also take a look at the other types of advertising opportunities on mobile devices.
A New Medium Mobile advertising has become a fast-growing part of marketing communications today. It provides an exciting and interactive way to promote a product or service to the public. A 2007 studied showed that 255.4 million Americans had a wireless subscription. These devices serve as an important resource to those who want to stay in touch and informed (Laszlo, p. 27). Mobile devices allow for instant gratification for communication, information, or entertainment whenever and wherever a consumer is. This proves that mobile communication devices have become the newest and greatest advertising medium.
Device Types There are many device types that are available which provide a wide spectrum of capabilities that differ from a PC. Devices can be broken into down into three categories and one exception: (Laszlo, p. 34)
Device Typesa) Basic mobile phones – are cheap. Their media capabilities are limited to text messaging and a WAP-based browser. These are now the minority.
Device Types b) Feature phones – the most common mobile devices. They include a variety of functionalities and features. These typically include a large color screen, a browser, ability to purchase and download ringtones, games, and other media, and a camera. Some other capabilities may include a video camera, Bluetooth, and the ability to store MP3 or other music files.
Device Types c) Smartphones – are user extensive and usually offer a full QWERTY keyboard. They are highly optimized for email and browsing the internet. An example would be a Blackberry or Windows Mobile device.
Device Types d-) iPhones - have been a game changer. “The iPhone‟s multi-functional touch screen has transformed the nature of high-end mobile phones, which are now seen as multi-purpose mobile Internet devices that also can be used for voice, text, and multimedia purposes” (Okazaki & Barwise, Has the Time Finally Come for the Medium of the Future, 2011, p. 60).
Mobile Interactivity Uses Mobile interactivity helps to keep use in touch and informed. It some ways it shares similarities with PC- based internet which is beneficial to an advertiser who can take advantage of this new medium. Consumers today typically use mobile interactivity for one of two reasons; to save time and to fill time (Laszlo, p. 30). When creating a mobile advertisement marketers need to determine if they are looking to reach time saving versus time filling mode consumers. Messages can differ between the two.
Mobile Interactivity Uses Users are able to save time by finding information quickly and then returning to their previous task. These quick usages can be for looking up an address, check travel or traffic information, weather information, and so forth.
Mobile Interactivity Uses Users fill time by engaging in entertaining or informative mobile apps. Users are looking to fill a slow moment in their day and this can be done by playing a mobile game or other type of media.
Mobile Device Displays The mobile world presents marketers with numerous opportunities to reach consumers. The multiple mobile features available, such as text messaging, ringtone and wall paper downloads, and mobile video, provide opportunities for marketing and advertisement. All of which are very important to marketers. There are two forms of displays that are used on mobile devices: display advertisements delivered on the device itself or display advertisements in other media that feature a mobile call-to action (Laszlo, p. 30-31).
Mobile Device Displays On-device display ads include formats such as text ads, graphical banners, graphical banners with text links, video, and traditional TV commercials. These types of ad formats are typically clickable or entail some other form of interactivity.
Mobile Device Displays Off-device mobile displays refer to traditional offline advertising such as live events, television, and PC- based ads that have an interactive measurable call-to- action via SMS, MMS, or WAP.
Mobile Campaigns Since there is a vast amount of consumers who use their mobile devices for information, entertainment, and communication, there is a lot of room to deliver mobile advertisements and promote their brand. These consumers can be reached and targeted with the help of mobile campaigns. “As with any other platform or medium, a successful mobile campaign requires a solid media plan and effective creative targeted to the right audience at the right time” (Laszlo, 2009, p. 34). Joe Laszlo provides us with a list of goals for direct response campaigns that have a high level of engagement and click through rates. They are as follows: Driving click-through to an informational page Driving calls to a call center Collecting phone numbers Delivering coupons Fielding product interest or information request surveys Collecting email addresses Offering a store locator
Mobile Creative Given the numerous types of devices there is also a variety of mobile display creative and different forms. Graphical banners are images that suggest a marketing message and can be animated, still, and interactive. Text ads are the oldest type of mobile advertising and are text based advertisements. Video is also another means of creative but can be very tricky due to the different sizes of consumers‟ screens. “The range of device categories in the mobile world, and the array of different screen sizes and resolutions within those broad categories, also complicates matters” (Laszlo, 2009, p. 35). Due to this complication advertisers must come up with designs in a variety of sizes and formats if they would like to reach a vast majority of the mobile population.
Mobile Device Browsers When consumers are using their mobile device‟s browser marketers need to consider the problems that can arise if the creative was designed for a PC. There can be slow page loading and poor formatting as a device screen and a computer monitor have different resolutions, poor navigation considering the lack of a mouse, and the presence of flash or other rich media that handsets do not support.
Opportunities Other Than Browsers Besides browsers there are other opportunities to get a marketers context onto a mobile device. This can be achieved through games, downloadable applications, push publishing environments (advertisements in a background), ticketing/couponing, passive display (logo in a screen saver), and person-to-person messaging.
Better Capabilities Mobile devices provide marketers with better capabilities than any other medium (Laszlo, p. 37). These mobile portals can help with successful targeting to achieve relevance, positive response, and acceptance (Okazaki & Barwise, Has the Time Finally Come for the Medium of the Future, p. 61). Mobile devices enable marketers to personalize content and the ability to track personal identities and capture consumer data.
Advertising Opportunities Consumers are making the most out of mobile interactivity and the number of consumers will only continue to increase, which leaves marketers with many opportunities for advertising on mobile devices. “The IAB characterizes the key opportunities around mobile advertising into three broad categories: driving response and brand relationships, delivering more personally and locationally relevant messages, and timing efforts to gain early experience in a dynamic and growing market” (Laszlo, 2009, p. 39). Mobile advertising helps marketers connect with more customers and deliver information about what they want and with the use of links they can direct people straight to a specific page on a website or mobile site. Marketers are also able to build their brands by targeting specific users by demographic, interest and behavior, and other countless possibilities.
Technical Challenges Marketers must also consider the technical challenges they may face in order to ensure goal achievement. Technical challenges in the mobile world revolve around measurement. “…the sate of mobile platforms makes it difficult to measure unique users against lots of polluting traffic (bots, spyders, etc.), track international traffic versus U.S. traffic, and measure advertising impressions in intermittently connected content like games or downloaded audio” (Laszlo, 2009, p. 39). Developers are looking for solutions to these challenges and hope to provide the data that agencies require to determine successful campaigns.
Mobile Advertising Trends While mobile advertising has become increasingly important there have been some trends that have surfaced. There is a continued importance of SMS messaging and it has become one of the most popular forms of communication.
Mobile Advertising Trends The experimentation with rich media is also an up and coming trend. “… Rich media ads offer more in-app interactivity via video, sound, gaming, and so on” (Swallow, 2010). These ads are more attractive than SMS based ads which provide an advantage.
Mobile Advertising Trends Another trend marketers are seeing is the choice between mobile sites and mobile apps. “One of the biggest decisions for mobile marketers this year is whether they should build a mobile site or app – or both. And for advertisers, the question is whether to advertise on mobile sites, apps, or both” (Swallow, 2010). With the numerous amounts of devices, multiple operating systems, and screen sizes, the decision is not an easy one to make.
Mobile Advertising Trends There has also been an interest in geo-location. In 2010 article titled “Google launches mobile banner ads which know where you are” Cody Barbierri wrote about Google‟s announcement that it had launched location-aware display advertisements for mobile phones. “Through Google‟s „location extension‟ feature, advertisers can now include their location and phone numbers to appear in display ads on iPhone and Android mobile websites” (Barbierri, 2010). Marketers are definitely very excited to be using this technology. Barbierri also stated that local businesses may benefit from this option since those who already use the technology saw an 8% increase in click through rates.
Mobile Advertising Trends There has also been a growth in mobile video. “While video isn‟t a huge focus for advertisers right now and many cite broadband and technology inadequacies as barriers, many predictive stats tell the story of video‟s increasing importance” (Swallow, 2010). With video becoming widely accepted and proving to be an asset in marketing, advertisers should definitely take advantages of opportunities to try out this form of mobile advertising.
The Future The future for mobile advertising is bright being led by technology innovators who continue to change the landscape. In Joe Laszlo‟s article he expresses the steps that marketers should expect to see within the near future. These steps are: faster data connections, improved devices, improved embedded software, more content and more discoverability, advertising standards, better targeting capabilities, discounted or advertising- subsidized services, flat-rate data services, and better location capabilities. There are many more possibilities for future developments of mobile advertising and the mobile landscape. Technology only keeps getting better and mobile phones are becoming more efficient leaving the opportunities to reach consumers endless.
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