Mobile Advertising (© Minerva Studio / Fotolia.com)
Mobile Advertising (© Minerva Studio / Fotolia.com)

Not only is mobile advertising one of the newest forms of marketing, it is set to become the biggest and most successful method in coming years and decades. But for those in the marketing or advertising profession, there is a lot to know about mobile advertising.

We’ll be covering this subject in detail in this article, from the origins of mobile ads to the most modern ways advertisers are using them today.

Mobile Advertising Definition

The definition of mobile advertising is any advertising that is done specifically on mobile applications or websites, or advertising that is targeted towards mobile users. Because mobile devices are being used now much more often than computers, mobile advertising is more important than ever. In fact, experts are predicting that within the next five years very few people will be using computers to work, play or browse the internet.

The fact is that mobile devices can do nearly everything that a computer can online, and in many cases, the mobile device can do it better. That's why businesses are making mobile advertising their number one priority. But what does mobile advertising mean to the marketing professional, and how can you make sure that you were getting everything you should be getting out of your mobile advertising efforts?

The Current State of Mobile Advertising

In 2009, mobile advertising was just getting started. Even back then, digital advertising was estimated at $1.1 billion on computers and laptops while digital advertising revenue for mobile devices was estimated at $4.6 billion. But now, digital advertising has even surpassed television when it comes to ad revenue, and mobile makes up for most of that. As of 2016, digital ad revenue had increased to more than $72 billion from the $59.6 billion reported the previous year. It surpassed television advertising, which brought in just $71.3 billion.

How Is Mobile Advertising Done?

Mobile advertising, in many cases, works exactly the same as it does using the regular internet that you access with your desktop or laptop. Just as with your internet browser on your notebook computer, Google offers paid search advertising for keywords through their bid and pay-per-click program AdWords.

But there are some differences as well. For example, now you can pay to be featured within a pre-installed mobile app. That means that you can estimate your reach very accurately by knowing how many people have installed the app that you were advertising on. You are also able to advertise on mobile sites that have been designed specifically for those devices, as well as advertise on regular internet websites that are dynamic and change to be able to be viewed on all of the mobile devices out there.

The Advantages of Mobile Advertising

There are obviously some advantages to mobile advertising. Some are rather obvious, like the fact that mobile advertising has more reach then just about any other medium out there right now and it can only go up, but there may be some advantages that you haven't even thought of yet.

For example, mobile advertising may be changing the way the people target their ads. Imagine if you owned a restaurant in the downtown area of your city or town, and you were able to specifically target people that were at work and had a lunch break coming up - and were only a few blocks away from your restaurant. In fact, you could target those who were at work as well as tourists, shoppers and anyone else who happened to be passing within a few blocks of your restaurant. If you were offering a deal, and those people were looking for a great lunch or dinner that was close to them, you would probably be one of their first choices.

That's the power of mobile advertising. Being able to target advertisements two people that are at the right time place at the right time is just the beginning. Many experts are predicting that mobile advertising will change in advance so much in the next two decades that will be it will be almost unrecognizable. Privacy advocates are concerned because it may be possible for advertisers to find out about someone because of their mobile-use footprint; they can target a very select group of people and get conversion rates anywhere from 30% to 70%. That’s how powerful this medium could be in just a few years.

Challenges Facing Mobile Devices

However, there are challenges that face mobile advertisers. One example of this is how mobile device Developers and engineers are starting to run into bottlenecks when it comes to things like formats and battery life. Data is also a problem for some users, and while most mobile networks now have unlimited high-speed data plans, data usage keeps growing as well.

Mobile Advertising Services

There are a few different categories to be aware of when it comes to mobile advertising. Knowing what is out there, and what kind of tools are being offered to both the advertiser and the person selling the ad space is vital to being able to use mobile effectively.

The demand-side platform is a service that helps ad buyers get exactly the ad they want from a broad range of publishers. Advertisers can use a single platform and be able to place an ad across multiple websites and mobile apps. DSP's allow you to place bids on ads in real-time based upon the goals that you set, and as mentioned, targeting is getting more and more precise. Here are just a few entrees on the long list of DSP’s out there.

  • Appnext
  • MediaMath
  • Kwanko Mobile
  • Ezmob
  • Avazu Mobile DSP
  • Appreciate
  • Sizmek
  • Bucksense
  • AppLift
  • Mobusi
  • Smarty Ads
  • Targetoo
  • Liftoff
  • Adikteev
  • PocketMath
  • Adelphic
  • Go2mobi

Supply-side platforms are another type of mobile advertising service. Supply-side platforms, sometimes called Mobile ad servers, promote competition among the various ad networks to compete for the available spaces with the publisher. Here are a few of those companies.

  • AdMob by Google
  • MoPub
  • Epom
  • Propeller Ads
  • Smaato
  • Appodeal
  • Avocarrot
  • AdColony
  • OpenX Mobile
  • IronSource
  • Fyber
  • MobFox

Another type of service is called the app install platform. Advertising on mobile apps is very effective and there are various bidding formats that you can choose from. CPM is a standard advertising format do you have definitely heard of before if you have advertised online. It stands for cost per mil; or cost per 1000 impressions. There's also the CPC, or cost-per-click, model, the cost-per-action or CPA model, which charges the advertiser when a user takes a specific action; and the cost-per-install model, which charges you whenever someone installs your app.

Finally, the middleman of mobile advertising is the mobile affiliate network. Mobile affiliate networks connect mobile publishers to advertisers looking for space. These affiliates get a commission whenever they sell ad space, just like with any other affiliate program.

Analytics and Tracking for Mobile Advertising

If you want to improve your advertising, and get more for less money, then you're going to have to track your ads and use analytics to see what is going on. When it comes to mobile, your best bet is to go with one of the services out there that provide analytic solutions. Many of them support supply-side and demand-side platforms all ready. They are all little different, with some offering general analytics tools that work for pretty much all kinds of advertising, and others specifically designed to be used in one particular area, such as mobile gaming. Here is a list of some of those services.

  • Upsight
  • TUNE
  • App Annie
  • Appsflyer
  • Adjust
  • Apsalar
  • Leanplum
  • Voluum
  • Singular
  • Branch
  • Localytics
  • Kochava

Mobile Advertising Automation

The last thing that you need to be aware of is that there are mobile marketing applications that provide you with a great deal of automation for both buying and selling ads, as well as how you use those them. Most of these are set up with the advertiser in mind, automating things like push notifications, SMS and messaging inside the app. Two of those platforms are Appboy and Upsite but there are many more out there. Some of them are very comprehensive and offer all kinds of automation services, while others are more specialized and are intended to provide a specific type of automation. There are lots of great choices.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that you have to go where the customers are, and for the foreseeable future that is going to be mobile. Internet advertising for computers is not dead by any means. Even when people stop buying personal computers and laptops in favor of mobile devices that allow them to have the same speed and functionality that their laptop, they're still going to be those who prefer to work with a keyboard and a mouse and a giant computer screen. That's particularly true for the business world. Depending upon the audience that you are trying to reach, you may want to try out mobile advertising though, because it is definitely one of the most effective ways to sell a product or service today.



         



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