Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on September 8th, 2010

How Mobile Advertising Works

Are you intrigued by mobile advertising but not quite sure how it works? No worries, you aren’t the only person that is confused. While mobile advertising has become the latest “it” channel to advertise through, it comes with some risks (as early adopters of iAd can attest). With so many variables – ad size, units, types of phone operating systems, etc.– the technology starts to resemble a Ray Bradbury novel, not an ad campaign. But that is why you leave it in the capable hands of emerging experts, who can turn the confusion into an opportunity for your business.

Mobile advertising provides an opportunity to engage with your target audience on a one-to-one basis, through a personal device that has become more important to their lives than any other type of technology created to date. According to a recent study by CTIA Media, 91% of the U.S. population uses wireless devices, as of December 2009. With the amount of smart phones on the market, this number shouldn’t quite surprise you. There are drastically differing phone platforms that offer a host of new technologies that can leverage your mobile presence: applications, SMS, rich media, video, geo-location services, and interactive ads via iAds, the opportunities are endless, but not fool-proof.

As an emerging technology, no one quite knows the ultimate answer to the mobile advertising question. But I will tell you that there is a very simple, solid process in place that gets your brand in the hands of your target audience, with very little to no risk involved. It’s not as extravagant as Nissan’s iAd campaign, but it is a very affordable, highly penetrable campaign that delivers your message on mobile devices.

Are you ready to create a mobile advertising campaign but not sure exactly what the process is? Read on to learn how mobile advertising works:

Place Your Ads in Mobile Search

While most of mobile advertising has been confusing to this point, this process is simple. You can now connect with the growing number of mobile Internet users while they are using Google’s mobile search.

With a mobile advertising campaign, your text ads are placed alongside relevant search results or across related content on the mobile Web. In the example above, I used Google Mobile to search "austin coffee shop". You connect with the right customers at the right time, no matter where they are located. They may be just down the street or right around the corner from you, or they could live on another continent.

You can also choose to target only high-end phones like the Android or iPhone, or spread your text-based advertising message to all types of mobile phones. It is very similar to a Search Engine Advertising campaign, except on a mobile platform.

Drive Traffic to Your Website or Call Tracking Service

When people use their mobile phone for searching, it is usually for instant gratification of sought after information, or to help make a purchase decision. For those users who are looking for information in the purchase process, a successful mobile advertising campaign drives them directly to your mobile website. If your site doesn’t use Flash, high-end users will see a “desktop quality” version of your site.

The above is an example for McAlister's Deli, a place that I used Google Mobile for within the last week. We needed to place a to-go order while we were on the road. If they hadn't had an interactive, mobile website, we would have never ordered dinner from there.

If you would rather focus on call tracking, you may also include your phone number in the ads, and users can click directly on the number to immediately call your business. They can call to place an order, ask a question, or get directions to your physical store. The more your advertising appears in mobile, the more mobile users are driven straight to your business and brand.

Track Your Data with Google Analytics

Once your mobile advertising campaign is launched and traffic starts to flow in, you will be able to monitor and track the data of your campaign using Google Analytics. You can view the number of impressions created by the campaign, and use the conversion data to determine which mobile ads are driving in the most conversions. Overall, your Google Analytics reports show traffic, conversions, revenue, and engagement for mobile devices and carriers.

Essentially, this process is not the glamour and glitz of an iAd campaign, with interactive image ads or fancy games, it is a Search Engine Advertising campaign for the mobile phone. It comes with all the flexibility and instant results that PPC features, but is delivered via mobile. Now are you ready to create a mobile advertising campaign with the 3-step process? If so, give us a call at 512-989-2945 or contact us and we will take your brand mobile in no time!

Thank You For Reading!