With brand marketer budgets surging 142% between 2011 and 2013, mobile advertising is the fastest growing part of the advertising industry. For performance marketers to get real benefits from this growth they need to be aware of the following:

1. The audience

Mobile advertising by its nature targets a widespread and global audience, appearing on an m.site or in-app and across multiple operating systems. Marketers therefore need to be specific about who they want to target – depending on the nature of their campaign – and serve relevant ads to that demographic in order to achieve significant ROI. Time of day, day of week and country also dictate the responsiveness by demographic at any given time.  

2. Mobile video ads 

Rich media ad formats such as video are more effective than static formats such as banners. Mobile video ads are one of the most challenging but most engaging formats and are constantly evolving as new technologies such as 4K and 3D dictate the way video ads are displayed. There is a clear trend in screen sizes getting larger and larger, which makes watching videos on these devices even more appealing

3. Apps vs mobile web

Mobile apps and mobile web both offer the possibility to provide rich advertising formats but of the two, in-app advertising is the more lucrative option. Mobile audiences typically interact the most with apps meaning consumers are more inclined to click on an in-app ad than a standard banner on a mobile site. In fact, in-app is the fastest growing sector of mobile advertising; research by Juniper suggests in-app ad spend will reach $17 billion by 2018.   

4. Behaviour

The more apps a user downloads and uses on their mobile, the more information they are storing on their device about their personality, essentially their mobile DNA. However, the relationship between the types of apps used and the types of ads consumers are likely to engage with is not always as linear as you would assume. For example, mobile users with a large number of entertainment apps aren’t necessarily more likely to click on entertainment ads.

5. Screen size

Screen size can make a big difference to the way consumers interact with their device. For example, the iPhone 6 Plus has a much bigger screen than other smartphones on the market and as such an ad at the top of the page (and out of thumb reach) may not get as many clicks as the same ad on a smaller device.  Understanding how this form factor impacts consumer engagement and ultimately the click through rate, will help marketers better position their ads.

6. Geotargeting

Geotargeting can help advertisers to understand different people’s preferences and habits and consequently, improve the likelihood of reaching them with relevant ads in the right place at the right time. For example, if a group of people frequently visit cinemas (as identified through location data or geotagging) advertisers can push related ads towards them rather than targeting groups who spend a similar amount of time in the local gym.

7. Beacons

Beacons are physical devices located at a retail outlet or venue that send relevant ad content to nearby mobile users. In essence, they are the next step for geotargeting, making it possible to target customers in a specific aisle in a shop and sending them specific marketing material relevant to what is on the shelves in front of them. From an ROI perspective, research shows that shoppers who receive beacons offers and promotions are 19 times more likely to interact with the advertised product – a hugely significant return. However, like any new technology, there are challenges, so marketers need to keep a close eye on developments here in order to decide when is the right time for their brand to invest.

8. Interactivity

Accessing a device’s Software Development Kit, or SDK, allows apps to use the features of the mobile device such as voice activation, movement, camera and so on to engage with a consumer. This equally applies when ads are served in app. By tapping into the handset’s capabilities, the ads become more interactive, encouraging consumer engagement and consequently click throughs.  

9. Measurement

It’s easy to generate views or clicks, but the key to success is knowing that these views were from the right demographic on the right sites. Even more important is knowing that clicks resulted in real interaction rather than it being accidental. As the mobile advertising industry continues to grow, is it important to use more than one measurement tool to track the effectiveness of a campaign. For example, success could be measured through a combination of audience assessment (size and demographic) and the effectiveness of the ad (metrics such as brand awareness, brand consideration and purchase intent among the target audience). 

10. Personalisation

The mobile phone is a highly personal device and research has indicated that consumers are more receptive to ads that are personalised or served to them based on their online behaviours. However targeting needs to be handled with care as there’s a thin line between providing a personal experience and seeming creepy.