Whether or not a mobile campaign proves successful for a small business hinges less on the content of the campaign and more on whether the right audience is being targeted. Seventeen percent of SMBs are now running mobile campaigns, according to a 2014 report by Borrell, however more than half of those businesses say they’re less than thrilled with the results. Having their marketing messages seen by targeted audiences — defined by geo-location, age, demographic, income and a number of other factors — is a strategic way that SMBs can boost ROI on their mobile campaigns.
In many cases, it’s up to hyperlocal vendors themselves to provide this type of merchant education, letting SMB clients know what’s possible in the world of mobile audience targeting. Here are six takeaways that vendors should focus on in those discussions.
1. Focusing on individual ad views. “Most ad services provide some type of visibility in terms of who viewed a given ad, but the granularity of that information can vary significantly. Small business owners should look for services that provide some information on individual ad views, rather than the aggregate figures often employed by larger advertisers running national or regional ad campaigns. We provide a map showing precisely where a user saw the ad and a list of applications where the ad has been seen — on top of the overall view count.” (Andrew Waber, Cidewalk)
2. Making small bets in multiple areas. “We generally suggest that the small business make small bets in a few areas—test and measure results—then double down on the areas that seem to be working best and scale back, or try a different strategy, on the ones that aren’t performing as well.” (Scott Barnett, Bizyhood)
3. Testing boundaries. “It is essential for any local business to target customers that are in close proximity to either go to their location or receive their services. Knowing just how far that perimeter is can help them concentrate their advertising impressions to target customers most likely to give them business. For businesses that aren’t sure, mobile advertising can help test the boundaries of their mobile advertising to see where that sweet spot may be.” (Kevin Bowers, ZettaMobile)
4. Keeping business owners involved. “There has to be a measurement and analysis step for any type of advertising to be effective. The key is understanding [the business’] customers, both current and prospective, and what message and message delivery works most effectively. Especially for the hyperlocal business, I don’t think anybody understands their customer base better than [business owners] do, so they should be intimately involved in the creation and measurement of the campaigns. If they outsource this, it’s not a good thing.” (Scott Barnett, Bizyhood)
5. Using popular keywords. “The campaigns that have typically resulted in the best returns for Cidewalk users share some common characteristics. For one, the ad copy contains keywords that the target audience is searching for. Crafting specific, rather than generic, ad copy is probably the biggest factor in effective targeting. Ads looking to summarize a great deal of information tend to get ignored, but being as specific as possible drives better results simply by speaking directly to the target market. Businesses can use tools like Google Trends for some initial guidance here.” (Andrew Waber, Cidewalk)
6. Asking customers what works. “It’s not easy for SMBs to know how or why they have customers. One thing that many SMBs seem to neglect is just asking customers how they discovered their businesses, or what brought them in to the business. Asking if mobile played a part can go a long way in strengthening their strategies.” (Kevin Bowers, ZettaMobile)
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.