We live in a connected age with a rapidly growing percentage of the population always online—carrying mini-computers with phone capabilities, do-it-all tablets and even “books” capable of browsing.
A large percentage of time spent online can be considered passive shopping, or a precursor to active shopping. This can take the form of reading reviews of new products on blogs (frequently the result of free samples sent to bloggers), scanning Pinterest for new spring fashions or sitting through commercial breaks while watching a show on Hulu Plus.
At the same time, mobile browsing is taking up a larger portion of overall internet usage. So, why hasn’t mobile advertising received the attention, respect or funds to match that growth?
This is potentially due to the fact that marketing developments have undeniably lagged behind technology, leaving many business owners with the impression that mobile advertising is too limited to be taken seriously. Delving into the recent advances in mobile advertising reveals the true story, making its potential value obvious.
Creating and targeting ads for the mobile experience is vastly different from doing the same for computers. For one thing, the screen is obviously smaller—much smaller on a smart phone—and simply scaling down computer ads may not be aesthetically pleasing. Secondly, information about browsing habits cannot be gathered in the same way that it is on a computer, so targeting tactics have had to evolve.
Furthermore, mobile ads can’t be tracked in the same way those on a computer can. Conversion, the connection between viewing an ad and making a sale, is easy to keep track of on a computer, because people make purchases on the same device that showed them the ad. Mobile ads are different; people viewing an ad on a phone or tablet are more likely to go to a store or computer to make the purchase, rather than using the mobile device.
So, how can ads be targeted more efficiently and effectively for mobile platforms?
Click-to-call ads are one way to bridge this gap. If you are searching for hotel options for your next destination while traveling, you are more likely to use your phone or tablet than to find Wi-Fi and break out your laptop. Google provides the option to read reviews of certain hotels and then simply click-to-call, without leaving the page.
Click-to-call marketing sidesteps the downfall of many types of online advertising—the annoyance factor that occurs when you are prevented from seeing desired content or have to read an article while attempting to ignore flashing banners or pop-ups.
The main goal of advertisements is to be compelling, and nothing is more compelling than convenience. Who wouldn’t want the option to click directly from the name of a restaurant on an ad to make the call for reservations or open up a map that provides directions?
Recent Spotify ads have used similar technology to provide the option to add a calendar alert after hearing about upcoming concerts. All of these marketing strategies have one thing in common, they provide people what they want—convenience—instead of forcing them to do what the marketers want—reading an ad or watching a commercial.
Although mobile phones can’t track browsing history with cookies in the same way that computers can, they do have access to one valuable piece of information that computers do not—location.
This is especially meaningful considering that people searching on phones are more likely to be ready to buy—searching for local stores that carry a specific item or for a local coffee shop to satisfy an immediate need for caffeine.
These multi-purpose advertisements that link to phones, calendars and maps and the use of location targeting are the future of mobile advertising, and it is a future that is targeted to personal interests and habits more than ever before.