Mobile advertising is the communication of products or services to mobile device and smartphone consumers. Mobile advertising ranges from short message service (SMS) text to interactive advertisements. The idea behind mobile advertising is to target users based on specific demographics, and then display advertising based on these specifications when a consumer downloads apps, games, or ringtones.
In many ways, mobile interactivity is similar to the PC-based Internet. At the same time, the user expectations on the mobile Web differ from their PC counterparts, so a plan that simply implements the same PC-optimized advertising strategies onto mobile devices is likely to yield less than optimal results. Consumers today typically implement mobile interactivity for one of two main reasons:
These unique user mindsets characterize the distinctive benefits offered by mobile interactivity. Marketers planning mobile promotions will need to contemplate the implications of connecting a user in time-saving versus time-filling mode. Even if it is the same individual, the messages and offers that resonate may differ.
The user experience on mobile devices is typically different with the small screens and limited user interfaces. Ads, landing pages, and microsites all need to be created specifically for mobile devices. Even the most experienced Web designers lack the expertise in the user interface or device recognition needed to craft successful mobile sites. This requires working with mobile specialists that can help minimize issues in a successful mobile campaign.
Also complicating matters in the mobile world are the range of device categories and the array of different screen sizes and resolutions. When an advertiser is seeking to reach a wide cross section of the mobile population, they must develop the content in a variety of sizes and formats, and ensure that the correct ad gets delivered to the user based on the device used.
Web pages and ad placement designed for PCs present a number of problems to mobile-based browsers, including slow page loading, poor formatting, poor navigation, and the existence of Flash or other rich media. Because of these challenges, PC-based Web content is much less likely to achieve their advertising objectives when delivered to users on the mobile Web.
Despite the challenges within the mobile advertising market, it will continue to be driven by smartphones and tablet devices, which will enhance growth to $19 billion by 2015. The more that consumers in the U.S. look to their mobile devices for information, entertainment, and communication beyond just phone calls, the greater the opportunities to deliver compelling mobile advertising to those consumers as well. As with any other platform or medium, a successful mobile campaign requires a solid media plan and an effective ad targeted to the right audience at the right time.