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Friday, 5 April 2013

Five fresh ways to advertise your brand on mobile

Brands are still exploring and experimenting with mobile advertising in a bid to understand what works best with customers. One thing that has become apparent is that whatever worked for the desktop cannot be just adapted for the mobile. A classic example is banner ads. While they  work well in a PC browser, on a tiny mobile screen, there is a high chance that someone will accidentally click on them - a situation which creates irritation rather than affinity with the brand. 

A handful of companies have found innovative means to succeed in engaging with the target audience while serving ad content.

1. Direct Response Advertising
Direct response advertising (eg. click to order a pizza) has always worked well on mobile. It can be beautifully localised using GPS and it can be integrated in-app as well, for example during a game. 

2. Radio Style advertising
An app with audio content like Pandora can look at conventional radio-style advertising using a voice over. While it seems strange to use a visual medium in this way, it still fits well with the nature of the app and the category.

3. 'Mapvertising'
Real estate search company Trulia does 'mapvertising' campaigns on mobile, allowing advertisers to have a  branded presence on the real estate maps that are displayed to Trulia clients. This also fits in with a practical need of consumers - when you are buying or renting a property, you would be interested to know the nearby bank branch, if there is a gym in the neighbourhood etc. The model is working so well that Trulia claims to be one of the few companies that sees greater monetisation on mobile than on the web.

4.Native in-app advertising
While still largely confined to games, native advertising is at the frontier of ad innovation in the mobile space. Native ads do not seek to be obtrusive, but rather blend into  the content and structure of the app (or the game). In games, you will see them as app walls, characters based on a brand or product placements. Here the goal is not getting clicks - instead brands hope to engage consumers while building brand image. The exact parallel is in-serial placement, but the mobile offers far greater potential to advertisers. For example, in a game, a gamer can earn virtual coins/rewards by simply watching an ad - which ironically, makes him feel rewarded and grateful to the brand.

5. Creating the brand experience
It's expensive, but if you can afford to do it, it will repay rich dividends. You can create your brand experience on mobile by building your own game (Teen Vogue, Disney and McDonalds all target their young customers through games). If this is too expensive, you can create a mobile app that enhances or adds to the brand experience.

International beauty brand Sephora has built a mobile app that is focused on enhancing the in-store experience - for example by storing loyalty card details, past purchases and letting the customer scan any product made by the brand to bring up more information, ratings and reviews. 

The VP of digital marketing at Sephora also rightly points out that one cannot clump tablets and mobile devices together. She puts it nicely - in the e-commerce space, tablets are 'lean back devices' which facilitate leisurely couch shopping while mobiles are 'lean forward' devices which are used for short and intense bursts of activity. Therefore ads, experiences and sites have to be designed separately for each device, considering that customers use them so differently.

All these examples point to the same lesson - that mobile ads need to be designed ground up, and ad campaigns cannot be simply ported to the mobile. Fresh and creative thinking in mobile can yield rich dividends.

Source : Venture Beat