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Everything You Need to Know about Mobile Ads

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Traditionally, advertising has been involved spending a lot of money in order to see significant results. But as our civilization moves more of its entertainment, business, and education into the virtual realm, old-school methods like print or even broadcast and cable television advertising are being supplanted by a new medium that's far more flexible, and affordable, than its predecessors: mobile advertising.

Everything You Need to Know about Mobile Ads

As of 2014, the cost of a half-page national newspaper advertisement hovers between $1,500 and $20,000 just to set up. And that doesn't include the approximately $28,000 per day it'll cost you to run the ad.

You'll reach plenty of people—even in the 21st century, leading newspapers have audiences measured in the millions—but there's no way to track the demographics of the people who view your ad, let alone how long they looked at it or even if they did so.

By comparison, a mobile ad can reach an equally enormous audience at a fraction of the price. Mobile ads aren't just cheaper, of course; employing this tech to send your message and brand out into the world gives you access to all sorts of interesting and useful information about your audience. This information can be reviewed and used, in turn, to finely tune future advertisements, improve targeting, and increase conversions.

Thanks to the growing mobile market and its inherit demand for responsive design, optimizing your advertising for your target audience is easier than ever, because users have the same experience with your content whether they're on their phone, tablet, or PC. Practices such as dayparting let you further refine your mobile ads to reach the right people, at the right time, at the right location. Not an easy trick for television, let alone a newspaper or magazine.

Does mobile mania mean an end to traditional advertising? Not likely. But understanding the importance of mobile advertising, as well as its practical applications, can give you a powerful and affordable way to reach out and touch your audience like never before.

Mobile Ads

Everything You Need to Know about Mobile Ads

On average it costs $2.85 to reach 1,000 iPhone users with a mobile ad. Compare that to a national newspaper ad, which can cost as much as $100 for 1,000 viewers. Obviously, mobile ads are a very effective way to spend your advertising dollars, but how does one get started? Check out a few tips on how to begin your mobile advertising journey.

Getting Started

Determine who your customers are

  • Determine what your needs are, along with the marketing reach you are trying to achieve.
  • If they are nationwide, geotargeting is not necessary, but can still be useful at times. Geotargeting is when advertisements are customized to a specific market based on the geographic location of the buyers.
    • Mobile ads work best for this type of customer.
    • You can cover different business locations or appeal to different demographics who reside in different areas.
    • There are conversion benefits of geotargeting as users may think a business is located in one place close to them, even if they are ordering online.
  • Consider when searching mobile, people are most often on the go.
    • Weekends are busier than weekdays, and evenings are busier than mornings.

Look into conversion points

  • Decide how you want your users to take action - these are your conversion points:
    • Phone call
    • Email
    • Submit contact information
    • Make an appointment
    • Follow your social media account
    • Sign up for an email newsletter
    • Register for an event
  • Once you decide on the conversion points, you can track your conversion rate.
    • Formula: Number of mobile site visitors divided by the number of actions taken, all multiplied by 100 to give the percentage rate.

Know your most valuable keywords

  • Some people find it necessary to zone in on just a few keywords in the beginning.
  • Take the opposite approach and try out a bunch of keywords at first.
    • See which ones perform best, and then narrow in on the best performing words.

Optimize Your Site for Mobile

You have a couple of options for the optimization. Create a native mobile site or a responsive site.

Choose a Responsive web design if you →

  • Want your website to look the same, no matter the device you are using.
  • Want your webpage to adapt to the screen it is on without compromising aesthetics and functionality.
  • Are looking to access analytics from one place instead of multiple places, since the site is the same across the board (it has the same URL).
  • Don't want to have to scroll left and right to have the information fit on the page and want the site to respond to any movement you make.

Choose a Native Mobile Website if you →

  • Want different URL to access the mobile site from the desktop version.
  • Have an abundance of pages and are looking to simplify the information at hand.
    • Example: The New York Times
  • Only want to offer a fraction of the full website and its content.
  • Are interested in a faster load time because there is less information at hand to be accessed.

Most Popular

  • Search Ads
    • Half of mobile ad spending goes towards search ads.
    • Easy to prove someone visited a website and bought a product in response to an ad they clicked.
    • In many categories, the bids are higher for mobile ads than they are for desktop ads.
    • Many companies are utilizing mobile ads that will initiate a phone call when clicked.
      • Comcast did this very successfully - the rate at which users clicked on their mobile ads was 4x greater than desktop ads.
      • In 2012, mobile users made up more than 10% of their sales.
  • Screen Filled Ads
    • Ads which take over the entire screen have been showing success.
    • These ads are not shown on each screen but instead on every 10 or so screens, as to not bombard the user.
      • It is very important to only use these ads sparingly.

The Outcasts

These are still used, but a bit more controversial.

  • Unfamiliar Places
    • Ads are being placed in more random places.
      • In the flow of conversation (think Twitter and on the Facebook timeline).
    • Amazon uses these on Kindles when the device "goes to sleep."
      • Users have an option to pay $15 to make the ads completely vanish.
  • Banner Ads
    • Known as the "Spray and Pray" approach
    • Ads have the reputation of being cheap, crude, and annoying to mobile users.
    • Regardless of people's thoughts, they still take up about 20% of money spent on mobile ads.

Consider Using Dayparting

What is dayparting?

  • Dayparting is dividing the day into certain parts, offering specific programming during each of those times.
  • It is a great way to know your marketing dollars are being spent wisely, at the right time, for the right people.

When to use dayparting

  • This depends completely on the type of business you operate.
    • Restaurants should reach out right before meal time.
    • Brick and mortar should use their advertising spend during business hours.
    • Looking to reach stay at home moms or dads? Optimize during the day, when they are likely to be out shopping while everyone else is at work.
  • It can also be used to leverage other factors
    • GPS
    • Weather
    • Competitor's prices

How to use dayparting

  • If you are using paid search, look at the times of day when your conversions peak.
  • Allocate more spend to those times of day, and pull back on times of day when spend plummets.
  • Don't use another brand's dayparting strategy - your customer's are unique and should be treated like so.

Learn from these Successes


  • This outdoor apparel and gear company used Twitter promoted accounts a month before the Black Friday and Christmas season to engage those followers (new and old) who were interested in their products.
  • Used a sense of urgency in their tweets highlighting offers people could act on right away.
  • Increased their followers by 172% over the prior month and saw a 40% increase in sales.

Karaoke Heroes

  • A Karaoke bar in Connecticut that opened in 2012.
  • Used Facebook advertising to attract the customers they believed would be interested before the company even opened their doors to the public.
  • The mobile ads alerted users to events near them, which made people aware of the location, despite not having a true store front.
  • During opening week, 75% of their customers came from these Facebook ads.
    • After the first week, 66% of new customers were still finding them via Facebook.

Colombo & Heard

  • A law firm who only wanted calls from potential clients when they were actually open.
  • Increased mobile conversion by 3x with a Google adwords campaign.
  • They used dayparting to focus on spend while the office was open.
  • Used a "Call Now" feature that allowed potential clients to click through the ad, straight to a phone number to contact the office.

Mobile Ad Network Guide

Types of Mobile Ad Networks

  • Blind Networks - largest in terms of publishers, advertisers, and impressions
    • Multiple options for targeting by country and content channels.
    • Performance advertising is normal, paid for by Cost Per Click (CPC).
    • Blind Network Examples:
      • BuzzCity
      • LeadBolt
      • InMobi
  • Premium Blind Networks - higher proportion of premium publishers than blind networks
    • These networks attract more brand advertising, paid for on a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) model.
    • Some networks offer cost per action/acquisition (CPA) - where the advertiser only pays if the customer clicks through and then buys.
    • Premium Blind Network Examples:
      • DMG
      • Hands
      • Hunt Mobile Ads
  • Premium Networks - focus on a smaller number of prestige publishers
    • Most campaigns are brand advertising, so the most widely used model is the CPM model.
    • Premium networks attract big brand advertisers who are prepared to pay premium prices to secure the prime locations on top-tier mobile destinations.
    • Premium Network Examples:
      • Twinpine
      • Mobile Theory
      • YOC Group
  • Local Ad Networks - focus on those publishers where users are known to be looking for local information (restaurants, retail stores, etc.)
    • Publishers are likely to include directory services, weather sites, etc.
    • Since local advertising is more targeted, local ad networks cost more, but tend to deliver better results.
    • Local Ad Network Examples:
      • xAd
      • YP
  • Affiliate and CPA networks - advertisers define the type of action they wish to achieve from mobile advertising and specify the price they are willing to pay to the publisher (and ad network) for each customer.
    • The advertiser only pays when a conversion is achieved.
    • Advertisers are able to specify the sites where ads will run, but can't always select which publisher they want to use.
    • Affiliate and CPA network examples:
      • MobPartner
      • SponsorMob


WhoIsHostingThis Team

About WhoIsHostingThis Team

Our writing team comes from all over the world with diverse backgrounds in the arts and sciences. But what links them is their passion for the internet. All together they represent many decades of experience working in all facets of it -- from programming and hardware creation to website design and marketing.


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