Is Mobile Advertising the Next Big Thing for Big Brands?
Mobile advertising is not just for app developers, technology companies and start-ups – it’s becoming part of the marketing mix for some of the biggest and best-run organizations in the world. Big brands like Target, Coca-Cola and American Express have recently invested in mobile advertising campaigns.
Samsung Mobile’s U.S. division doubled its spending on mobile ads during the first quarter of 2012, with Samsung’s marketing director saying that mobile ads cost 1/7th the amount of online ads, but are twice as effective.
As big brands start to use mobile advertising to engage with customers, we’re likely to see bigger budgets and more sophisticated creative work to use the unique properties of the mobile advertising medium.
Here are a few examples of how big brands are using mobile advertising:
- American Express is using mobile advertising to create an interactive user experience on smartphones to help customers create a customized “panorama” that relates to their lifestyle interests in dining, travel, shopping and sports. The goal is to help customers find special offers and experiences in the shopping categories that they value the most, while deepening the customer relationship with American Express.
- Nissan Leaf created mobile ads for their 100% electric car that showed customers “how far you can drive on $1,” comparing fuel efficiency between the Nissan Leaf and other competitors’ vehicles.
- Dove made a series of mobile ads called “Men+Care” featuring Major League Baseball players Albert Pujols and Andy Pettite, showing men how to be “comfortable in their skin” with Dove body care products.
- Samsung Mobile is sending targeted messages to people who buy the latest Apple iPhone, offering them $300 to trade in their iPhone for a new Samsung device.
As big brands start to see growing value in mobile advertising, all companies should follow their lead and start using this important medium for reaching customers.
Here are a few reasons why mobile advertising is becoming more important than ever before for big brands (and smaller companies):
- Best way to reach consumers in emerging markets: The developing world has 4.5 billion mobile subscribers, but only 25% of these people have Internet access at home. This makes mobile devices the ideal way to reach billions of consumers. If your company sells to a global audience, mobile advertising is becoming one of the most direct ways to do it. Coca-Cola senior vice president Wendy Clark says that most of Coca-Cola’s future sales growth will come from the developing world, and that mobile ads are a large part of the company’s plans.
- Mobile advertising is flexible: Big brands aren’t just using interactive rich media smartphone ads, they’re also using more simple and “old fashioned” mobile marketing tactics. For example, Coca-Cola pays to promote search engine results for restaurants that offer deals on Coke, and prints special bottle caps that ask people to send text messages in order to win a prize. Mobile marketing doesn’t always have to be about flashy ads. It’s often a matter of creating conversations and connections with customers, whether that communication starts with the customer via text message, or starts from mobile phone in-app advertising.
- Mobile advertising spending is growing astronomically fast: Although mobile ad spending in the U.S. is only about 1% of the total amount spent on advertising, this slice of the pie is going to get a whole lot bigger very soon. Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts that the U.S. mobile advertising market will grow from $3.6 billion in 2011 to $18.3 billion in 2015.
As with any new innovation or technology, the biggest rewards often go to the earliest adopters. If your company can get a foothold in the mobile advertising market and learn the best ways to engage with your customers through mobile ads (before your competitors do), you can use mobile advertising to help build a competitive advantage.
Although you don’t need a big budget to succeed in mobile advertising, the rise of big brand mobile ad campaigns are likely to show us some exciting new possibilities for the mobile advertising medium.
What’s your take on this? What are your favorite mobile ad campaigns from big brands? What are some tactics that you’ve seen in “big budget” mobile ad campaigns that you’d like to adapt for a smaller scale mobile marketing effort?