Mobile Advertising: A Growing Opportunity for Small Businesses

Modern consumers are smart, social, and increasingly mobile. With over one billion smartphones used every single day, the reach that your business can achieve with a successful mobile advertisement is like nothing we’ve seen before.

Over 91.4 million Americans own a smartphone, with 89 percent of owners actively using their phones throughout the day. Smartphone users are, on the whole, young, affluent, and responsive to advertising – for many businesses, an ideal demographic.

Given the rapid growth of mobile advertising and the huge reach that’s available to advertisers, you might be surprised to learn that mobile advertising is wide open as a marketing medium.

Because of the rapid growth of the smartphone industry and the massive number of mobile users, opportunities for mobile advertisers are growing as the industry gets bigger and bigger. Impressions, now highly competitive in online display and search advertising, are becoming available in higher and higher numbers.

Businesses that invest in mobile advertising today have a huge range of options at their disposal. These options include:

  • Mobile search advertising, using services like Google Adwords and Yahoo.

  • Mobile display advertising, using services like Google Display Network and InMobi.

  • Mobile social advertising, using Facebook’s wide range of mobile advertising solutions.

  • In-app advertising, using banner advertisements and alerts to market to users as they use smartphone applications.

Talk about versatility. Every aspect of the PC advertising ecosystem is available on mobile, along with a few unique options. The wide range of ad options that mobile offers is a huge benefit for online advertisers, who can easily port over campaigns from PC-based display, search, and social advertising networks.

As well as its incredible versatility, mobile advertising offers some unique benefits for advertisers that, in many cases, simply aren’t available with traditional display, search, and social ads. These benefits include:

1.  The ability to target users based on their mobile handset and operating system. Instead of using keywords and location data, advertisers can target their ads to display only for iPhone, Samsung, or HTC users.

This gives advertisers the ability to tweak their spending on a handset or operating system basis. Got a product that iPhone users will love? Using handset-based bidding, you can market it exclusively to them.

2.  The ability to target users that have displayed interest in your product or service before, while they’re on the move. Using retargeting systems, advertisers can reach their prospects while they use a mobile device.

Run a restaurant in your city? Instead of marketing to users while they’re at home, make a connection with your potential customers while they’re out of the house to easily close the deal.

3.  The ability to let users immediately download a new mobile application. One of the biggest benefits of mobile advertising is that it allows users to access apps with ‘one touch’ – a single step from clicking an ad to downloading an app.

The mobile advertising ecosystem is constantly growing, with more users switching over to smartphones every single day. With billions of ad impressions available each and every day, will your business capitalize on the huge reach of mobile advertising, or will it continue to focus on crowded, ultra-competitive forms of advertising?

Location-Based Advertising: The Future of Mobile Ads

Imagine you’re walking down the street beside a pet store. Your phone vibrates. On the screen, there’s no text message, no email, no social notification, but a promotion for the pet store you’re walking past offering you a lucrative discount on pet food.

We’ve seen keyword-based ads, interest-based ads, and device-based ads. What we are just beginning to see is location-based advertising. With over 700 million GPS-enabled phones in use, location-based advertising is truly the way of the future.

The irony, however, is that the advertising of the future has been in use, albeit on a much less precise scale, for over a decade. Geographic targeting has been a mainstay of the display and search advertising world since the early days of Google Adwords.

Thanks to geo-IP databases, almost every online advertising platform offers some form of location-based advertising. The results, which are overwhelmingly positive for businesses that implement it properly, say good things about the future.

Studies show that consumers respond more favorably to advertising that’s for local businesses. Clickthrough rates, conversion rates, and other metrics that indicate ad success all increase when an advertisement is local to the audience it’s targeting.

At the same time, there’s a downturn in interest when consumers get too close to the source of their advertising. BI Intelligence recently found that ad CTR is lower when a business is within a mile of its target than it is when a business is further away.

Part of this can no doubt be attributed to intent – after all, when prospects are very close to your business, they may not need advertising to buy something. But another part could be precision, or a distinct, industry-wide lack of it.

One of the biggest problems location-based advertisers currently face is a lack of precise location data. Despite over 75 percent of smartphones using GPS, just 10 percent of mobile ad network impressions can be delivered based on GPS data.

Because of this, many location-based advertisers currently use IP and zip code data to calculate the location of their audience – data that, on most platforms, has been a targeting option since the early 2000s.

Despite this, the precision of location-based advertising is constantly increasing as GPS latitude and longitude data becomes more available. As such, location-based advertisers are no longer being held back by the traditional ‘rules’ of advertising.

With clickthrough rates of three to four percent very possible – figures that are as much as four times the industry average for display advertising – location-based advertising looks very promising indeed.

Given the fact that the smartphone industry is rapidly expanding, with more users than ever before purchasing GPS-enabled smartphones, location-based advertisers are poised for a dual opportunity: better targeting and a bigger audience.

If that’s not an appealing prospect, it’s hard to think of what could be. With location targeting growing more precise, mobile audiences growing larger than ever before, and mobile CPMs remaining steady, the advantages of a location-based advertising campaign are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.