Mobile advertising is an emerging channel for most marketers, but it’s old hat for John Hadl. He has been in the mobile ad business since 2001, developing branding campaigns and promotions for Procter & Gamble and, most recently, founding Brand in Hand, a mobile marketing advisory that handles efforts for huge brands, including Coca-Cola and General Motors.
As Handl’s client list indicates, the opportunities of the mobile channel are becoming clear to marketers of all kinds, thanks to the growth of mobile as a consumer technology. “We’re getting to that turning point, given the engagement levels with consumers and the kind of people doing mobile Web. There is targeted value here, and it’s growing every day.”
Unfortunately, mobile marketing is still new enough that there are no obvious rules of thumb to help marketers who jump into the channel for the first time. So, we spoke with Hadl to get his top tactics for planning and executing a mobile marketing campaign:
-> Tactic #1. Determine goal: audience reach or customer engagement?
Hadl breaks down mobile campaigns into two categories: mobile advertising and mobile marketing:
- Mobile advertising is about reach -- using the mobile channel to gain access to an audience with a branding awareness campaign.
- Mobile marketing is about building engagement or customer activation by getting them to join a mobile alert/mobile messaging program, such as daily sports scores, or giving away mobile products (ring tones and wallpapers) or other promotional campaigns (sweepstakes).
The good news, Hadl says, is that marketers can blend these two goals into the same campaign. For example, Coca-Cola’s MyCoke Rewards programs uses mobile messaging to drive consumers to a Wireless Access Protocol website where they can enter a code from their mobile phone to see if they’ve won an award. But that action creates a longer-term engagement with participating consumers who continue to collect Coke reward points.
-> Tactic #2. Match brands with the right audience
Success in mobile marketing has less to do with your particular industry or product type and more to do with connecting certain brands to the right audience. “This is not a scale approach; it’s a very targeted approach.”
Marketers planning mobile campaigns should make sure their brand matches important characteristics of the mobile audience, such as:
- Early adopters. Active mobile users are technology early adopters, so the most successful ads placed in front of them will be for brands or products with a similar innovative appeal. For example, a car maker might choose to promote a sports car on the mobile channel, not a minivan.
- Age. The sweet spot in mobile marketing is the 18-34 demographic, so brands that appeal to this audience can find the right target. By contrast, Hadl says marketers are typically not going to find a big audience over age 55 or under age 13.
Indeed, in a January 2007 survey of 1,323 consumers, MarketingSherpa found that 30% of consumers ages 18-35 send/receive text messages on a daily basis compared to 6% for those over 55.
-> Tactic #3. Mobile application differences
There are many platforms for mobile advertising, including text, mobile Web and mobile video. Because the audience size for each varies, you’ll need to choose the best approach for your mobile marketing campaign:
- Mobile text is the largest market, with 39.6% of US mobile subscribers using text messaging, according to M:Metrics. The research firm found that 7% of US subscribers have sent text messages in response to offline ads.
- Mobile Web is less established than text messaging, with 9.6% of mobile users saying they browse for news and information, but it has good engagement levels for early adopters, according to Hadl, which provides opportunities for marketers place ads on top WAP (wireless application protocol) sites or drive traffic to their own WAP site.
- Mobile video remains a small market, with percentage of users still in the low single digits, but is attracting attention from a few innovative marketers, says Hadl.
-> Tactic #4. Match campaigns to available infrastructure and inventory
Before you design a mobile marketing campaign, make sure you have the right mobile infrastructure in place to support it. For example, a mobile Web advertising campaign needs a destination, such as your own WAP website, or other WAP sites on which to promote your mobile banners.
The good news is that there’s currently more supply than demand for advertising on the mobile Web, but pricing must still be negotiated between the marketer and the destination.
Web ad pricing models include:
o Cost-per-action, such as a purchase or conversion into a mobile message club
Marketers tend to buy ads on a mix of those models, says Hadl, based on the specifics of their campaign (text, graphics, mobile, etc.) and the advertising partner.
-> Tactic #5. Capitalize on mobile’s peer-to-peer communication abilities
Mobile devices are, above all, about person-to-person communication, so smart marketers can design campaigns that take advantage of that capability and feature a peer-to-peer messaging aspect.
For example, Procter & Gamble ran a Valentine’s Day campaign for Scope mouthwash that let people either log on to the Internet to send ecards or use their mobile phones to send a wallpaper to their loved ones. In some cases, the mobile phone wallpaper performed better than the online cards, Hadl says.
-> Tactic #6. Integrate mobile with online and offline marketing
“Unless you’re advertising the mobile channel, you’re not going to get a lot of response,” says Hadl. This means marketers must use other online or offline channels to drive users to participate in their mobile campaigns.
Online advertising, print ads, billboards, radio and television commercials can all be used to alert mobile consumers of a particular promotion, or invite them to join a mobile alert or messaging program, or join a mobile sweepstakes. But Hadl has seen the best response from television ads that invite users to participate in a mobile campaign.
-> Tactic #7. Allocate enough set-up time
Don’t try to launch a mobile campaign at the last minute, because the channel has several exceptions to its rules. For example, a ring tone or other content giveaway might not work on all handsets and mobile networks. “People will be frustrated if they hear about a mobile campaign and then realize they can’t participate.”
Hadl has seen big brands plan campaigns six months in advance, but says marketers can be safe with six to eight weeks for a text messaging or mobile Web campaign.
-> Tactic #8. Varying ad sizes for each phone
With so many phones on the market, screen size, supported formats, etc., are all different, according to the Mobile Marketing Association. Therefore, multiple creatives may be needed. For color images, typically JPG, GIF and BMP formats are supported.
The MMA offers the following handset guidelines and recommended image sizes: Source: Mobile Marketing Association
-> Tactic #9. Don’t do mobile just because you can
Some marketers may be tempted to develop a mobile campaign just because it can be a small line item in an otherwise big marketing budget. Big mistake, Hadl says. “If you don’t pay a lot of attention to mobile, it doesn’t do too well.”
So, don’t treat a mobile campaign as an afterthought, especially given the need to integrate it with other online and offline advertising. Also, think critically about whether a particular campaign is really the best use of the mobile medium.
Take, for example, mobile couponing. Hadl says there’s a wrong way and a right way to do it.
- WRONG: Mobile coupons that require a user to take his or her phone into a store and have a code scanned by a cashier to receive a product discount. Sounds great, but in reality, there are problems. Supermarket coupon users tend to collect and use several coupons at once, and the idea of scrolling through a mobile phone menu of several product coupons creates chances for technical glitches and a long checkout process that’s likely to turn off shoppers.
- RIGHT: Mobile coupons intended to drive foot traffic by encouraging people to come to specific sale or take part in a special event. For example, a restaurant near a college campus could send text messages to students promoting half-price meals or free pitchers of beer to customers who come on a Tuesday night.
-> Tactic #10. More guidelines from the Mobile Marketing Association
1. Ads may not be misleading or deceptive to the recipient in any way.
2. Ads promoting illegal products and services are not allowed.
3. The sponsor of any advertising message should be clearly identified either on the ad itself or on the resulting first-level jump page.
4. Special categories of products must comply with existing voluntary industry guidelines. This includes but is not limited to: alcohol, tobacco, sweepstakes/promotions and ads targeting children.
5. Any ad for regulated products must comply with existing guidelines for such advertising. (Example: pharmaceutical ads must comply with FDA guidelines.)
6. Ads should be age appropriate. (Example: if ads can be targeted by age, then alcohol ads can be shown to mobile users who are of legal drinking age.)
7. Potentially controversial ads should primarily be avoided but may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by publishers and wireless carriers. (Examples: political organizations, adult or sexually explicit content, issues/causes, religion, etc.)
8. All claims made in an ad must be substantiated before the ad is scheduled to appear. Advertising that includes warranties, guarantees or other types of assurances to the user must comply with all applicable laws, regulations or guidelines regarding such assurances, including but not limited to those set forth by the Federal Trade Commission.
9. Ads cannot promote or glorify violence, crime, obscenity, the use of weapons or provides instructions on how to "get away" with crimes or unlawful activity.
10. Language that is offensive, or disturbing, or which is likely to cause outrage, general disapproval or negative opinion within the community is not allowed.
11. Any customer information provided is limited to the current campaign only. Further interaction with the customer requires an additional opt-in.Useful links related to this article
Sherpa article - Mobile Marketing: Quick Overview of Options: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=28540
Mobile Advertising Guidelines:http://www.mmaglobal.com/mobileadvertising.pdf
Mobile Marketing Association:
Brand in Hand: