The rise of mobile marketing and app integration

It wasn’t long ago that mobile marketing was more likely to refer to door-to-door salesmen than to mobile devices, but that is clearly no longer the case. These days, everyone is on their mobile devices, and they’re taking them everywhere. Many people characterize mobile usage with kids hanging out with their friends in virtual space via programs like SnapChat and mobile1Instagram, but with the rise in popularity of BYOD policies in the workplace, more adults are staying connected through their phones and tablets than ever before. The result is that nearly everyone from adolescents to senior citizens uses mobile devices just about every day. This technology is the most convenient method of accessing the Internet and connecting with friends, family and co-workers, so it’s no surprise that people check their devices when they wake up, commute, work, take lunch, make dinner and before going to sleep, which means that mobile marketing strategies are more important than ever.

Mobile web traffic
At the beginning of this year, CNN reported that mobile Internet usage has officially eclipsed browsing from traditional computers. In January 2014, 55 percent of Internet usage in the United States came from mobile devices. Broken down further, 47 percent of all Internet traffic came from apps, while a mere 8 percent came from mobile browsers. That means that app data usage alone accounts for more traffic than all of the PCs in the country. That’s an amazing figure when you think about it, considering that smartphones have only really taken off in the past seven years after the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. So what’s taking up all that bandwidth? Are we really sharing that many pictures on Facebook?

In 2013, users downloaded more than 102 billion mobile apps, and 91 percent of those apps were ad-supported. This means that instead of having the user pay a fee, the app developers receive money from advertisers who can then promote their product inside the mobile app. In it’s most basic iteration, mobile app advertising features a banner promoting a product or service, not dissimilar from what you would see on a website. However, as the technology evolves, so too do marketing strategies in the mobile industry, especially when it comes to games.

mobile2Paying attention rather than money
It used to be that if you wanted to play a video game, you would have to go to an arcade and put quarters in a machine. In the 80s, with the invention of the home video game console, you could go to the store and buy a game to play at home. Now, if you want to play a game on your phone or tablet, you don’t need to get out your credit card, because most of them are free to play. Instead of paying currency, gamers pay attention to ads. So instead of needing to insert a quarter into the machine to get a new life, instead you have to watch an advertisement. But unlike when you’re browsing random websites on a PC, the advertising that you get through your apps is oftentimes extremely well targeted. That is because through the magic of big data analytics, advertising companies are more adept at ever at identifying demographics and narrowing their efforts to make sure that their ads are more likely to reach potential customers.

Open field
For the most part, both users and advertisers find this arrangement agreeable. It’s nice not having to pay real money for apps, and there is a distinct advantage to being able to narrow your focus to target a very specific demographic. So how does it work? Most advertisers pay app developers per click, and the price tag associated with each click is contingent on various factors such as whether the ad is associated with an industry, retail or other. What is interesting, however, is that despite the massive amount of time people spend on their phones and tablets, the mobile advertising space is actually less competitive than almost any other medium. According to the Houston Chronicle, approximately $503 billion was spent on ads across all channels including television, social media and print. Out of that, only 3.7 percent, or $6.2 billion, was spent on mobile ads, which means that this market is comparably open.

Optimizing the mobile experience
As with any advertising, a good deal has to occur for an ad to turn into a lead. Obviously, the first thing that has to happen is a potential customer has to see the ad. By doing your research in advance and leveraging the power of big data analytics, you will be much better equipped to select a potential partner for your advertising. Once you’ve found an app that is commonly downloaded by a demographic you wish to target, you then have to create content that is enticing enough to get your potential customer to click on it. But this is where it gets tricky. People click on things all the time out of curiosity, but most users are savvy to blatant advertising, and leery of what might be on the other side. You also have to remember that people will be accessing your website from a mobile device, which means that you need to take a slightly different approach from that used with PC users.

mobile3With this in mind, the first thing you need to tend to is your mobile landing page. After the ad, your landing page is your chance to make a good first impression. As such, it should be neat and organized with a clear message, but most importantly, it needs to load fast. No one has patience for slow advertising, so it’s best to forgo flashy graphics or anything that detracts from the main message. Keep it simple, clean and focused. Still, that doesn’t mean you should completely forsake UI in favor of a wall of text – you should try to balance simple graphical elements with relevant information that is likely to pull your prospective client deeper into your website.

At a certain point in the client conversion process, it may be necessary for your prospects to enter information such as how frequently they perform tasks that are related to your product or service. For instance, if you’re a company that specialized in movie ticket sales, you probably want to ask prospects how frequently they go to the movies. If you query your clients for information, it is important to remember that they are on mobile devices. This means that entering information can be tricky. On a PC, text fields are easy to navigate, but on a mobile device, clicking on a text field usually brings up a virtual keyboard, which can clutter up the page. Sometimes this also causes elements on your page to resize and reposition automatically, causing the layout to look chaotic and confusing. To this end, it is much more effective to use drop down menus that do not affect the layout of your page and make it easier for users to answer your questions.

Ultimately, the biggest rule of thumb for effective mobile marketing strategies is to optimize the mobile experience. All of the leads generated by mobile advertising will be accessing your site using mobile devices, so you need to make sure that their experience is streamlined and consistent.

What kinds of apps do you think would best reach your target demographics? How have you customized your mobile landing pages?