5 Misconceptions SMBs Have About Mobile Advertising

phoneEven as small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly warming to digital marketing, questions and misinformation persist about how mobile campaigns reach local consumers and influence their behavior. Studies may show people on the go engaging with mobile ads and converting into customers at high rates, but many local business owners still carry a certain skepticism about mobile as the latest “next big thing.” 

We asked a few folks who work in the mobile sphere to give us a taste of the kind of concerns about mobile ads that they’re hearing in the field from SMBs. Here are five misconceptions — and the clarifications.

1. Their online presence can’t translate into mobile.
“A misconception SMBs may have is that because they don’t have a mobile-enabled website, they can’t advertise in mobile. Most local listing partners ([whom] the SMB may already work with) may provide a mobile-enabled landing page … Some SMBs who are doing SEO may already have ads on mobile. Their keywords listings may already appear [on] Google’s mobile ad network.” —Matt Kojalo, Chitika

2. Mobile campaigns are too complicated and expensive.
“They do not understand what mobile ads are and where they will display — in email? as a text pop-up? on mobile web sites? on all apps? … They don’t believe that mobile ads ‘work.’ Many are hesitant to allocate budget to any new marketing tactic that does not have historical, or peer group, acceptance. All of these misconceptions can be overcome through education and the increased use of mobile ads within the SMB community.” —David Peterson, Sense Networks

3.  Mobile and desktop behavior is the same.
“Since mobile customers are typically on the go and have more urgent needs then desktop users, behaviors/intent [are] often vastly different [than on desktop].  As a result, SMBs need to keep an open mind when approaching a new media and not rely so heavily on preconceived notions from the desktop world.” —Monica Ho, xAd

4. They need highly targeted mobile ads.
“The reality is that even if a hyperlocally targeted ad were able to perform an order of magnitude better than a nontargeted ad, the density of those impressions is still not high enough around your average SMB and ultimately can’t drive the kind of foot traffic through the door that SMBs desire. … At the end of the day word-of-mouth is still king, so an SMB that can generate buzz within [the range of] 1,000 people in a day can perform better than getting one specific consumer to walk through the door with a targeted discount.” —Jeffrey Peden, Crave Labs

5.  They think mobile is just for offers and are missing other ways to use it.
“Forty-five percent of mobile consumers say they research something on their mobile phone and then purchase in-store. While large brands and retailers have tapped into this trend, SMBs are still largely pursuing a daily deal or coupon approach and missing this complementary opportunity. SMBs that know who their customer is and what percentage of [their] sales come from people who live within 10 or 20 miles are in a great position to use mobile as a highly efficient marketing channel.” —David Staas, Jiwire

Isa Jones is an editorial assistant at Street Fight.