With so many channels available to mobile marketers, where does one start? Is SMS still relevant? Should I focus on mobile search? What about mobile banner ads and video? Fear not, we have put together a checklist to help marketers navigate the ever-changing mobile advertising landscape. Here are the five key smartphone channels to focus on for 2014.
Social Media on Mobile
If your brand isn’t on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn by now, then you are missing a huge opportunity. There is no cookie cutter use case for social media, since every business is different. This year, marketers need to keep in mind that organic reach across all social networks has decreased as the platforms push their advertising products. What does this mean? Over a year ago, if you had 5,000 Facebook fans and you posted a photo on your timeline, over half of your audience was guaranteed to see it. Now you will be lucky if 10% of them do. Brands now have to leverage promoted posts to increase user engagement.
For mobile specifically, Facebook offers an “App Install” ad unit. This makes it easy to promote apps and increase your user base. Other social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest have mobile ad products, but they are limited to their sites alone.
Mobile Banner Ads
Mobile banner ads are another advertising format on mobile that has undergone some big changes since its inception. In its earliest days, the standard mobile banner ad was a 120×20 banner and then grew up to 320×50 on some phones. Now there is more than one type of banner; we now have expandable, sliding, and adhesion mobile banner ads. Each of these new formats offers different opportunities for advertisers. In-app interstitial ads have also become a very popular choice for advertisers in the last year. This banner format is triggered by actions within an app and shows the user a half or full screen interstitial that supports rich media. As you would expect, this format offers much higher engagement than its traditional banner ad counterpart. In June 2013, the IAB released a few other great options for mobile banners, including the filmstrip banner and full page flex banner. These two new mobile banner formats allow for rich content and videos all within the banner.
Traditional banner ads will give you the greatest reach, since there are over 300+ mobile ad networks that support traditional mobile banner ads. With all these new banner ad formats, however, advertisers have a plethora of options in regards to mobile banner ads and how to use them.
With the installed base of high-end smartphones now at over 50%, the large screens and fast devices make watching video on the phone an enjoyable experience. This has helped increase the popularity of mobile video advertising. There are a number of formats available, including pre-roll, interstitials, or even long form video. This new opportunity is great for brands who want to extend the reach of their TV spot.
Social media has also transformed the way brands create and share videos. Facebook and Twitter both allow videos to be played natively within their apps. In fact, Facebook has enabled “auto play” to play the video automatically, without sound, on mobile devices. Third party clients for Twitter also allow for automatic video play. Facebook and Twitter are not the only social media options for video delivery. Vine and Instagram have made it easy to create and share mobile video, and many cutting edge brands have found creative ways to use them.
Mobile Native Ads
Mobile native ads have changed the way publishers monetize their mobile sites and apps. Advertisers love native, as it allows them to show their message without interrupting the user experience. The format gained popularity first in the desktop and now in mobile. We’ve already seen social media platforms adopt this form of advertising. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have their own native ad products. Now other publishers are joining the party. Tango, AOL, and The NY Times have all announced native ad formats for their mobile apps and sites. If you want to take advantage of native, make sure you understand the audience of the publisher first. This will allow you to tailor your campaign to that audience and help ensure success.
Creating great content is only half the battle. If no one ever sees your content, then all of that time and effort is wasted. In the past, you could use social media organically to build an audience. Twitter’s average tweet life, however, is between 8-19 minutes, and Facebook and LinkedIn have changed their algorithm for organic posts. This means that advertisers can no longer scale an organic readership, so they must pay the high CPC’s that come with “promoted posts.” This is where content syndication comes in.
Content syndication will get your content in front of large audiences for a fraction of the cost of social media promoted posts. Using services like Gravity or Taboola will allow you to share your content on publisher sites on their network. Content syndication is a much cheaper alternative to social media promoted posts and you get much more scale for the price. To ensure you get the most out of content syndication, you need to ensure that your site is responsive so your content fits on your screen properly. This way, the user can read your content easily, so they are more likely to share your content by social media or email. Here at TapSense, we have leveraged content syndication and we have seen not only our traffic increase exponentially, but we have seen our social shares and content downloads increase dramatically.