In our new series, "media explained," we will take a close look at the most important media channels, drawing on our expertise and insights from our partners.
For each media, we will look into the usage trends, advertising advantages and constraints, specific ad formats available and measurement approaches for different channels. We will answer all these questions and more.
Let's start with mobile advertising.
It would be no hyperbole to say that mobile phones are one of the most important technological breakthroughs in human history. Survey results show that people would rather eat less than give up their mobile phones, or they might not go back to pick up the wallet they accidentally left at home but they would definitely return to pick up their phone. In 2014, the US Supreme Court passed a law establishing that a mobile phone is an essential part of an individual, an extension of their personality. And yet, it is just the beginning of the mobile device revolution, bringing multiple benefits for society. For example, E-commerce is raising the standard of living for millions of people in India, and residents of remote villages in Mexico are receiving professional medical treatment through simple add-ons.
Over the last six months, 79% of smartphone users completed a purchase with their mobile devices. More and more companies are opting for the mobile-first approach to their digital strategy in order to increase engagement and ROAS, and businesses are increasingly focusing on mobile marketing due to the growing number of mobile users and more active mobile web usage in general. Let’s take a look at a few more statistics:
There’s a reason why mobile is the preferred channel for digital ad spend in the US, and while the list of advantages is extensive, we picked a few key points that set the channel apart most significantly.
Consumers are increasingly relying on their mobile devices to support them in their daily life, be it communication, entertainment, or work. Unlike traditional advertising mediums such as newspapers, magazines, or television, mobile advertising gives marketers the opportunity to target users anytime, anywhere, and in a real-time context.
The majority of people carry their mobile phones with them everywhere they go, which allows an advertisement to reach them anywhere at any time. More than half of Americans are reported to spend five to six hours a day on mobile devices, which means the advertising can be tailored to the time and circumstances.
The granularity of data provided enables marketers to gain a deep understanding of usage patterns. In any mobile OS except iOS 14.5, the in-app SDK can provide extremely precise data on the frequency, time, and place as well as the length of app usage on each individual device. It supports better clustering of users for “mass-personalization” and leads to higher ROI efficiency, and there is an opportunity to follow up with users who have not opened an app for a while and targeting them with items related to their in-app purchases or past usage habits.
One of the key advantages of mobile advertising is that it is very easy to measure. In Android, every clicked advertisement can be tracked down (and it is an opt-in functionality for iOS users) and that empowers advertisers to make smart decisions about where to advertise. It also means they can create a great user experience for their current or potential audience.
There are always some constraints to take into account, regardless of the platform or channel that you choose to advertise with. People are exposed to an incredible amount of advertising every day, and mobile advertising is no exception.
Another difficulty that mobile marketers run into is the serious competition. Because access to ad inventory is easy to get for any brand, competing to have your ad displayed can become very expensive. By measuring the results of campaigns that you run, you can work out how to best allocate your budgets.
One of the main challenges that mobile marketers faced this year was the rollout of iOS 14.5 and the introduction of the AppTrackingTransparency framework. What this means for advertisers on iOS is that any user who opens their app has to “opt-in” to tracking. If they don’t give consent, their IDFA (the unique device identifier used for tracking) cannot be used.
"While opt-in rates are higher than expected, particularly in verticals like hyper-casual gaming where we’re seeing numbers up to 70%+ for cross-promoted users, or e-commerce where 17% is much stronger than early predictions of 5%, it’s meant that user acquisition (UA) teams have needed to revisit their entire strategies as they learn to work with SKAdNetwork and conversion values. It’s still possible to create excellent advertising for non-opted-in iOS users, the approach through which it's done is just very different, and Adjust supports clients at every stage of their SKAdNetwork journey."Tiahn Wetzer
There are three main types of campaigns that are run on mobile: acquisition campaigns to acquire new users, monetization campaigns to generate revenue and push for subscriptions, and engagement/re-engagement campaigns to either increase the amount of time users are spending in-app or bring them back more often. To serve each of these campaigns, it’s essential to identify the right ad formats for the particular needs of your app and the individual purpose of each campaign. Each ad format has its own unique benefits.
To maximize the efficiency of mobile advertising, make sure your content is as brief as possible, personalized, and targeted to specific user groups and segments. Depending on the type of app that the user is engaging with, as well as what they are doing specifically within that app, there are many formats that can be used to make the advertisement as effective as possible. For example, when someone plays a hyper casual game, it might be better to cross-promote another game from the same developer to them by using a pop-up or in-game advertisement. If the user is on a social media app, a native advertisement can make the most impact, or if it is an e-commerce app, gamification works incredibly efficient.
Mobile campaigns offer the same metrics as other digital campaigns: typical options include click through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), cost per thousand impression (CPM), return on ad spend (ROAS), conversion rate (CR), retention rate, and customer lifetime value (LTV).
Mobile attribution is essentially the science of matching two data points, such as attributing ad spend to user engagement or installs based on certain variables. Put simply, attribution identifies whether a user installs an app after seeing an ad, and keeps track of how they behave post-install. And these two things are the key to success in measuring the total performance of advertising campaigns run on mobile. It allows marketers to discover where their users are coming from. Some installs might come from video ads displayed in-app, others from campaigns run on social media. Attribution tools record and reveal this information, and then hand it back to the marketer in an objective and easy-to-understand format.
Mobile device usage will only continue to grow as more people rely on them. It’s crucial for brands to understand how and when their customers are using smartphones in order to develop matching advertising and marketing campaigns. The speed and relevance of marketing and advertising campaigns will be greatly impacted as smartphone data collection and analysis technologies become increasingly sophisticated. Therefore, consumers must be reached with relevant messages at the right time through appropriate mobile channels.