Goodbye Cheap Mobile Advertising, Hello Effective Mobile Advertising
A research report, published by M&C Saatchi Mobile, argues that “The Era of Cheap Mobile Advertising is Over.” In the early days of mobile advertising, companies and app developers could use ad networks to reach lots of mobile device users relatively cheaply. But in recent months, the cost of buying mobile advertising has gone up significantly in countries like the UK as more advertisers are competing for the same premium mobile ad inventory and are willing to pay more to reach the customers who are most relevant and most likely to be receptive to mobile ad offers.
In a related trend, TechCrunch recently reported that the CPI (cost per install) of mobile apps has continued to increase over the last six months (between January 2012 and June 2012) on both Android and iOS.
It’s safe to assume that the recent rise in the price of mobile advertising inventory is no short-term fluke, but rather indicates a longer-lasting movement toward greater sophistication and maturity in the mobile ad market. But is the end of cheap mobile advertising a “bad thing?” Not necessarily. For starters, higher eCPMs mean more revenue for mobile app developers, which is a healthy thing for the industry. Second, even though the prices of mobile ads have gone up, this may actually force marketers to be much more effective in their efforts.
As we say goodbye to the era of cheap mobile ads, it is time to say hello to a new era of more effective mobile advertising.
Instead of taking a shotgun approach to mobile advertising, marketers will need to think harder about how to be more effective in the following areas:
- Mobile banner design and effectiveness: Many advertisers still need to get better at the fundamentals of mobile ad design, such as keeping the message concise and focused, choosing your words to capture interest, and using colors and layouts to present a clear and immediate impact. Keep in mind that mobile ads are a very different medium from online banner ads – people respond best to mobile ad messages that blend seamlessly into the overall experience of using the mobile device, that do not interrupt or distract.
- Innovative formats: Many mobile marketers are still discovering the potential of video mobile ads. But rather than just show the same 30-second ad that would appear on TV or a desktop, mobile ads demand shorter videos for shorter attention spans. It’s not enough to just re-purpose existing ads for mobile. Mobile ads are a unique medium in themselves, and they need customized content that takes advantage of the unique capabilities of mobile devices. For example, mobile ads can be created that make the phone vibrate – Discovery Channel did a mobile ad campaign to promote the show Storm Chasers that simulated the sounds and visual effects of a storm by taking over the speakers and made the phone vibrate. The goal of mobile advertising is not to interrupt, annoy or intrude upon the customer – but to interact and engage with the customer and make them want to learn more. Instead of being limited to static text and images, mobile ads offer more innovative formats that more mobile marketers are starting to embrace.
- Targeting: Even though mobile advertising is becoming more expensive, it’s also becoming a better value for the money because there are more options than ever before to target your audience using geo-located mobile ads. Geo-targeting can be done both in terms of country targeting and local advertising. As mobile ads continue to go global, international audiences are becoming more important and more lucrative.
- Testing: Building a successful mobile advertising campaign doesn’t happen on “Day 1.” It takes a commitment to improving and refining your content, and adjusting your targeting over time. Try multiple versions of the same ad, but with different messages and visual content. Run a few different location-based test campaigns to see which ones get the best response, and then reallocate your spending as needed. There usually is not significant added cost to running a few test versions of your mobile ad campaign – and the benefits can be significant if testing helps you avoid mistakes or uncover surprising opportunities.
The end of cheap mobile advertising is nothing for mobile marketers to fear. It’s just the latest development in the evolution of this industry, and even though the cost-per-click or cost-per-impression might be increasing, mobile ads can still deliver a big return on investment for marketers who are able to think innovatively and find creative ways to engage with their audiences.
What’s your take on this? Are you concerned about the impact of rising mobile ad prices? How is your company adjusting and evolving your mobile ad tactics to compensate for the rising prices of mobile ads?