Mobile advertising refers to any advertising that appears on mobile devices: smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and other mobile devices with wireless connections. Mobile advertising is a type of mobile marketing and includes text (SMS) ads, mobile browser web banner ads, and banners and videos in games and downloaded apps.
Mobile devices have smaller screens than laptops, desktop computers, and televisions. Mobile advertisements are generally compact and concise to match the specs of mobile devices. Companies like Google and Facebook tailor mobile ads to the user based on browsing history, shopping habits, geolocation, demographics, and interests.
Mobile advertising gives advertisers the highest chances of being seen by their target audience compared to TV or even traditional digital advertising such as Facebook ads. Mobile devices outnumber television sets three-to-one.
According to Ad Age, in 2017 online ad revenue totaled $88 billion. This figure represents a 21% increase from 2016. Mobile ad revenue grew by a whopping 66%, over ten times more than traditional desktop computer advertising, during the same time.
In March of 2018, Google officially rolled out mobile first indexing, meaning that they now “use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.”
Does this mean that all Google SEO is now mobile SEO? No, but here’s what it does mean:
Mobile-indexing is rolling out on a broad basis.
- Having mobile-friendly content is helpful to perform better in mobile search results
- Having fast-loading content is beneficial to perform better for mobile and desktop users
Unless current trends reverse, mobile will continue to grow faster than every other form of advertising, and delegating your mobile advertising needs to a professional agency is the best way to ensure your mobile advertising campaign succeeds.
Mobile advertising offers up-and-coming brands a new foothold into the fastest-growing customer pool right now. Established businesses must consider how to keep up with changing trends. In both cases, unless you’re already a skilled professional experienced in working on mobile advertising campaigns, hiring a mobile advertising agency makes sense.
I’ve written this guide to tell you exactly what you need to know about mobile advertising. Once you have a grasp of how mobile ads work and what agencies do, you will know what to look for in an agency. The agencies listed at the end are the best of the best, selected from among hundreds of top agencies.
What You Need to Know About Mobile Advertising
Because mobile advertising includes all ads explicitly served to mobile users, it is a broad category. The purpose of this section is to help you understand what mobile advertising can do for your company. Once you know the benefits of mobile ads and what goes into a mobile ad campaign, you’ll be equipped to choose an appropriate agency to conduct your next mobile campaign.
Not surprisingly, mobile best practices are different in crucial ways from traditional advertising best practices, and also differ from other digital advertising. Here are the most critical areas to focus on for successful mobile advertising:
Be Clear and Concise
Mobile devices have relatively small screens, and users can quickly get saturated with information. They will scroll past overly cluttered ads. Keep things simple.
About 30% of mobile searches are for location-specific queries. Users are often looking for coffee shops, gas stations, or other immediate local needs. Consider how your campaign can take advantage of these queries.
While demographics are a fundamental of all advertising, the demographic breakdown on mobile is anything but traditional. In addition to age, gender, location, and household income, you also need to consider whether your audience is gamers, news junkies, online shoppers, or another type of user.
Split test and Experiment
Mobile is a great place to experiment and compare the outcomes of two or more different tactics. An excellent mobile ad agency will know what variables to tweak and test to give you the best return on investment.
Monitor Key Metrics
Because mobile users check their phones throughout the day, mobile devices can provide advertisers with more consistent performance data than any other platform. You will need to gauge important metrics like impressions, click-throughs, shares, actions taken, and which users respond best and during what days and times.
Define Your Campaign Objectives and Metrics
Before you choose an agency or undertake any ad campaign, you need to set objectives – goals – and metrics, or ways of measuring your progress towards those goals. Here are some common goals of mobile advertising campaigns:
- Establish a brand
- Raise brand awareness
- Increase sales or revenue
- Increase web traffic to a website or a landing page
- Increase in-store visits
- Promote a coupon or other deal
Your objectives determine what metrics you will use, as well as what actions you take during the campaign. Mobile advertising offers many different metrics, so if you aren’t mobile ad savvy, this is another area where you’ll benefit from consulting an agency.
Get clear on your objectives first; then you can discuss them with prospective ad agencies, and narrow down ad agencies based on their specific area of expertise.
Define Your Target Audience
The second step as you plan your ad campaign is to define who your ads will target. You may already know your target audience, or a good mobile ad agency can help you do market research using test ads and surveys. Google Analytics, Facebook Audience Manager, and Twitter Audience Insights are also great places to do research.
Along with defining your target audience, you also want to understand their context. For example, most people in surveys say they prefer geolocation-specific search ads. Do you know how to target your ads to a specific zip code or geographical area for better conversion?
Context includes where your users are throughout the day, and which location is best to serve your ad: what percentage access their mobile device at home, in public, while traveling, and at work? These details will take your mobile campaign to the next level.
Once you know exactly who your audience is, what they like, what they need, how they think, and how to reach them through advertising, you’re almost ready to start designing the advertisement itself.
Types of Mobile Ads by Platform
Some mobile ad agencies specialize in one or two platforms, and others work with most mobile ad platforms. Do you want your ad to run on a single platform or multiple platforms?
If you are a smaller business owner, you can get great results on a smaller budget by doing your homework and picking the right platform. Bigger businesses should consider the advantages of appearing on multiple platforms.
These are the most important platforms to consider for your ad campaign:
- App store promotion
- Affiliate and ad serving programs
- In-game mobile marketing
- QR codes
- Mobile search ads
- Mobile social ads
- Native ads
App store promotion works great for app install campaigns if your business is an app or has an app associated with it. Affiliate and ad serving programs take the guesswork out of targeting demographics and provide a lot of built-in metrics. In-game mobile marketing targets a large and dedicated user base of mobile gamers.
QR codes are codes displayed on ad space that users scan with their devices, which then take users to a specific webpage or app. QR codes work well with gamification or other fun campaign ideas to spread awareness.
Mobile search ads are any ad that appears during mobile search. As I mentioned earlier, Google now indexes mobile-first in anticipation that the trend of mobile-first users will continue growing. Mobile social ads are ads served to social media users on mobile devices.
A native ad is an ad appearing in an app or website that’s in the same format as the content the user is viewing. Examples include sponsored articles, sponsored posts, and sponsored videos.
SMS or text advertising is one of the oldest forms of mobile marketing. SMS advertising entails sending users texts or having them text a number, to receive offers or other promotional incentives. Some users still respond well to SMS ad campaigns, so don’t overlook the possibility of engaging customers through SMS.
Top FIVE Mobile Advertising Agencies
Here are the top five mobile advertising agencies, hand-picked from hundreds of different agencies around the world.
Moburst is a global, full service, a mobile marketing agency that focuses entirely on mobile growth for businesses. They have offices in New York, San Francisco, and Tel Aviv. Moburst has successfully redefined hundreds of apps, engaged in extensive A/B testing, and conducted tons of research into user preferences.
The global growth director of a large transportation company hired Moburst for app store optimization. Moburst provided keyword optimization support for Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store on an international scale. The global growth director appreciated their detailed monthly reports, which also included translations. He says their app store optimization is the best in the industry.
Moburst can help your business with any mobile advertising challenge with their creative thinking, data-driven analytics, and ability to convert targeted audiences into loyal users or customers.
PreApps is a mobile advertising agency based in Boston, Massachusetts. Their specialty is growing apps from zero to millions of downloads and sales. They have collectively helped apps reach 550 million downloads over six years.
The owner of a mobile dating app hired PreApps to handle production of advertisements for the dating app. The owner gives PreApps high marks for responding to her needs, working independently, and producing high-quality work. The company developed three short video commercials of various lengths, which exceeded the expectations of the dating app owner regarding their quality.
PreApps helps with launch, promotion, recognition in different markets, viral videos, app store optimization, influencer marketing, and scaling. If you need help advertising your app, PreApps is the best specialty firm for your needs. They offer a complimentary growth and strategic plan along with their initial consultation.
#3 Udonis, Inc
Udonis is a Newark, Delaware mobile ad agency that specializes in scaling games and apps from zero to 10 million users. They have had over ten apps featured on Apple Store’s top charts in 2018, deliver millions of app downloads each month, and are a Google and Facebook certified Partner Agency.
The founder of the Travel Nurse Association hired Udonis for lead generation and social media management. She says since she began the partnership, her cost per lead has dropped, and her percentage of high-quality leads has increased. They run every stage of her campaigns, from strategy to content to analysis, with swift turnaround time.
Udonis is excellent at what they do, which is why they won the Clutch. Co leading digital marketing agency award in Philadelphia, PA for 2018, as well as the leading digital marketing agency awards for Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD in 2017.
If you’re ready to scale your user acquisition for a game or mobile app, they promise to get back to you within 24 hours after you reach out.
Zorka.Mobi is Belarusian a creative and mobile performance agency. Their full range of mobile marketing services includes from strategy development, execution, Influencer Marketing, cost per install (CPI) or cost per action (CPA) media buying, app store optimization, Apple Search Ads, and remarketing campaigns.
Vadim P., the owner of a mobile dev company, hired Zorka.Mobi for a six-figure app marketing campaign. Now his app has a larger user base and higher quality traffic. He says the agency hit all key targets, including fraud protection. He appreciates their skilled work and excellent communication.
Zorka.Mobi coordinates with developers and agencies that have global reach. If you are looking for a reasonably priced international creative firm grounded in analytics and experience, you’ll be well-served by Zorka.Mobi.
#5 Yodel Mobile
London-based Yodel Mobile is 100% focused on mobile marketing. Their global full-service mobile and app marketing consultancy has won multiple awards since they opened shop in 2007. They have worked with startups as well as the following international brands: NBC Universal, Fujifilm, and The Economist Group.
The director of marketing for an established women’s health app hired Yodel, and she says their enthusiasm shines through in the campaign results. Their efforts are translating into long-term benefits regarding the app’s reach.
Consider retaining Yodel Mobile if you are interested in their ongoing app business support, growth optimization, user retention, mobile strategy, and mobile acquisition services.
Whether you are a startup business or involved with a large established company, it’s time to get current and prioritize advertising to mobile users.
As you make the shift to a mobile-first world, be sure to keep mobile best practices in mind, define your objectives and key metrics, define your target audience and their context, and review the pros and cons of different advertising platforms.
Moburst is our number one overall pick for the best mobile advertising agency. As a premier global firm, they have the best full-service approach to mobile growth for companies looking to capture the global mobile market share. If you demand excellent results but are working with a smaller budget, Zorka.Mobi may be the perfect international global mobile ad agency for your needs.
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