7 Ways to Increase Engagement With Mobile Ads

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phoneMarketers of all sizes are flocking to mobile ads in an effort to reach consumers on their home turf, sending targeted messages to smartphone users inside certain establishments (like coffee shops or bookstores) or within the confines of geotargeted perimeters. Mobile ad revenue jumped 111% from 2011 to 2012, according to a report by the IAB, rising to $3.4 billion for the year.

Industry statistics tell marketers how important mobile advertising can be for their companies, but numbers alone can’t tell a marketer the best way to go about launching a mobile campaign or increasing engagement (and ROI) once a campaign has gotten off the ground. For those answers, we turned to the experts.

Here are seven ways that brands of all sizes can increase engagement with mobile ads.

1. Incorporate proximity in targeted ad buys. Mobile devices are the most personal devices consumers own, so getting the best engagement out of mobile advertising can be easy when a brand leverages the unique characteristics of mobile. Brands should incorporate proximity in targeting ad buys, and they should have a message that feels “social” and not canned. Messages should be relevant to what’s going on here and now, and they should direct consumers to a landing page that’s up-to-date with the latest content with optimized calls-to-action. (Jeff Peden, CraveLabs)

2. Add path-to-purchase features. When it comes to mobile ads, there are two buckets of engagement. One is oriented to interacting with the brand and developing positive feelings, and the other relates to “path-to-purchase” and actually helping the consumer make the purchase of a product. Retailigence has seen as much as twice the engagement when path-to-purchase oriented engagement features are added to mobile ads (such as the real-time lookup of product availability at nearby brick-and-mortar retailers). (Jeremy Geiger, Retailigence)

3. Take advantage of the PPC model. One of the greatest benefits to mobile, at least with Tapjoy’s platform, is that advertisers only pay on a PPC (pay-per-completion) model. This is unique from traditional formats, where costs were based on CPM. With CPM, there is no measure of engagement. With the PPC model, advertisers—regardless of size—can set ad campaigns that fit within their budgets, and they only pay when a consumer actually clicks on and completes the requested action (like watching a video or signing up for a newsletter). This is an effective model for maximizing a company’s ad budget. (Pete Dille, Tapjoy)

4. Look at time as an indicator of engagement. Mobile ad engagement is more than measuring user interaction (such as CPA, CPI, CTR, and conversions). The time spent with an ad should also be looked at as a strong indicator of engagement. For example, did a user expand the video, swipe through to the next screen, or share the ad on social media? Customers who are actively participating in an ad are engaged with that ad, and that is something brands should take into consideration when looking at the outcome of their campaigns. (Max Teitelbaum, WhatRunsWhere)

5. Get the right ad to the right user. Getting the right ad to the right user at the right time — and location — will increase click-through-rates and user-engagement with the advertiser. Advertisers should work with an ad network that is able to look at the history of the traffic and clicks, and then determine the best time and location for each individual ad. (Matt Kojalo, Chitika)

6. Maximize contextual relevance. Alongside local relevance, contextual relevance should be a major factor considered in targeting strategies and mobile creative development. Businesses should leverage elements like time of day, day of week, and weather triggers to prepare their campaigns for the many variables that could otherwise make their campaigns obsolete to the audience. For example, an ad for an ice-cold beverage during a fluke cold spell would greatly decrease ad performance. Applying weather triggers to ad serving would account for those instances and lead to higher engagement levels. (Dipanshu Sharma, xAd)

7. Think one step ahead. Marketers should be cognizant of the next logical step in the user’s purchase path when deciding on the call-to-action. For example, a hyperlocal ad for the only Target in town may not benefit from adding a click-to-map secondary action, since most people will already know exactly where the business is located. In that case, adding the option to view a “best sellers list” for the advertised product category may be more interesting and ultimately lead to more closed sales. (Heather Sears, Sense Networks)

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.