How to Optimize Your Mobile Advertising CPC Campaigns
Many mobile advertisers make the mistake of thinking that “if we build it, they will come” – that simply by purchasing some cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, the clicks will soon come and the sales will soon roll in.
Of course, the reality is more complicated. Without a smart strategy and a compelling advertisement, your mobile advertising campaign might cost more than it’s worth – or underperform your expectations.
To get the most out of your CPC mobile advertising campaigns, you need to think carefully about the unique demands, limitations and opportunities of the mobile advertising medium.
CPC services like Google’s Admob serve up ads to mobile device users based on a combination of the click-through rate (CTR) of your ad and the per-click bid that you make. So if you want to maximize your mobile advertising budget, you need to build a high-performing ad that will help you spend less per click.
Here are a few ideas for how to build a better mobile ad that will attract the interest of users and achieve higher CTRs (and thus save you money on your overall CPC advertising spend):
- Testing: Since mobile ads are relatively small and cheap to produce, it’s easy to create multiple versions of the same basic concept and test, test, test. See what works and what doesn’t. Add different elements and combinations and tweak them until you find out which version resonates best with the audience. The most sophisticated mobile advertisers sometimes test hundreds of different combinations of text, images, targeting, and offer in an attempt to optimize their campaigns. After all, on a small screen with a limited attention span from users, and a narrow window of opportunity to break through the clutter of daily life, even the tiniest adjustment in font, text size, or type of image can make the difference between achieving a click-through and getting ignored. You don’t need a big budget to test your mobile ads, and even the smallest developer can benefit from testing. Just remember to change only one variable at a time so that you can see the impact of your efforts. A common model for this kind of mobile advertising testing is A/B testing, where a baseline model is compared to a series of variable test samples to check for varying response rates. For example, you could try one mobile ad that compares several different versions featuring different sizes of your company logo, different font sizes, different font colors, and different taglines or offer headlines. You might be surprised at the big results that can come from minor changes.
- Play where you can win: Sometimes it is better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. There are thousands of well-intentioned app developers who want to be the next Angry Birds, but the reality is that it’s hard to compete with an established blockbuster product. Be honest in evaluating where your marketing money can have the biggest impact. Especially if you have a non-freemium app, getting into the top 25 is everything, or else your app is likely to get lost in the clutter. Instead of taking a scattershot approach to your mobile advertising budget (and spreading yourself too thin), take a focused approach based on a specific strategy. Focus on targeting a few countries, categories or markets with a high level of commitment rather than spreading your ad spend around to too many places.
- Master the basics of ad design: Mobile advertising design is often a matter of “Keep it Simple, Stupid.” Given the small space on a mobile device screen, and the limited window of time to engage the user’s attention, it helps to have a simple call to action, use no more than 5-7 words on your banner, pick a few bright colors that represent your brand and call attention to your advertisement, but without going overboard. And again, keep testing multiple versions to see what your audience is responding to.
- Analyze everything: One of the biggest benefits of mobile advertising is that it gives you a great deal of visibility into the click-through data and other metrics. Take advantage of every opportunity that you have to capture data (especially conversion data). You can find out what is working, and adjust as you go along. Once again, it is better to focus on a small set of ads that you can optimize over time rather than to bite off more than you can chew and target every country with a range of ads.
What’s your take on this? What have you been most surprised by when testing various versions of mobile ads? Do users respond better to certain colors, font sizes or design patterns? How do you know a “good” mobile ad design when you see it?