For most companies, mobile marketing begins in-house. A single person starts working with self service tools on a popular mobile platform. The marketing team lacks inside knowledge and close relationships with major media buying platforms, which makes media planning less efficient. If this sounds like your situation, perhaps you’re ready to seek agency help?
Agencies Have Knowledge and Expertise Your Organization Doesn’t
The best reason to engage with an mobile agency is to maintain your focus. A marketing team needs to focus on the business, not become experts in mobile advertising technology. A good agency will provide you with expertise, knowledge and partner access that otherwise would be difficult to get. Even the most well organized and thoughtful companies rely on an outside agency for many tasks. Why? Because agencies can attract and manage talent that wouldn’t thrive in the very culture that makes your company successful. It is access to these ‘outliers’ that enriches the agency offering, providing you with original thinking and niche technical expertise.
Creativity Comes Unleashed
If there is one single area that agencies excel in, it’s creativity. Agencies have experience and personnel who are great at generating ideas, lots of good ideas. Good ideation is at the core of every good creative approach. Marketing teams should leverage this capability of an agency as much as possible. Generating these ideas is time consuming, but having a great creative agency frees up marketing to work on other more essential aspects of the business.
Stay On Track With a Rigorous Process
Securing approvals from different stakeholders in your organization is another key function an agency can manage. Because they’re a third party, they have nothing vested in any particular strategy, in fact they’re highly motivated to ensure that your campaign is a success from the start. This means they will push for what they truly believe will work based on experience with other companies who have faced similar challenges. A good agency will also have a rigorous process in place. This will help make approvals happen on time, as they are required for the agency to move onto the next phase.
Hiring a Mobile Agency: A Checklist
Once you’ve made the decision to hire an agency, you should meet with multiple candidates of varying size in order to determine the best fit. Here’s a checklist of core attributes you should evaluate them on:
Get a detailed list of services and capabilities. Ask which services are filled in house and which are filled by outside contractors. If they use contractors, try to understand the depth of those relationships.
Understand the platforms or partners they have direct experience with. Some specialize in a particular platform, which is the ideal fit if that’s the platform you need.
3. Business Model
Take time to understand their monetary incentives. Some charge hourly, while others a percentage of media spend. Match the model to your performance goals.
Agency culture is surprisingly diverse and varied. It ranges from nerdy and quantitative to quirky and irreverent. Find the culture that best matches your expectations.5. Case Studies
Get detailed case studies of past client engagements. Be sure to have key people take you through them and ask questions. Try to gain an understanding of the role the agency performed.
6. Key People
Meet with the principals and key partners to find out exactly who will be assigned to your project. Be sure to have this in proposals as part of an hourly breakout.7. Success Metrics
Determine with the agency what the success metrics should be. Clearly articulating this from the start is the best way to ensure a successful engagement at the end.
Get a good sense of their overall approach. Are they process driven? Creatively driven? Technology driven? Try to understand what motivates them. This will help you determine the right fit.
Are you using banner ads now in your marketing, but thinking about switching over to native ads? Or maybe, you’re new to mobile advertising and what to know what all the hype is surrounding native ads? Perhaps you’re a digital advertising veteran, you remember all the excitement around Flash and you’re skeptical of trendy new ad technology?
To help marketers keep up with the rapid pace of change in advertising technology, we developed this comparison of the two ad formats. The strengths and weaknesses of mobile banner ads are as follows:
The Strengths of Mobile Banner Ads
Massive Reach: Mobile banner ads are currently supported by a large numbers of publishers. The format is also standardized and managed by trade associations like the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) and MMA (Mobile Marketing Association). This means advertisers can get massive reach through the format. Billions and billions of banner ad impressions are available on mobile daily.
Inexpensive Format: Relative to most channels, banner ads remain low cost. Search, sponsorships, print and television all have high price points and are almost impossible to buy in low quantities. Banner ads can be purchased easily in small amounts and available to advertisers with the smallest budgets.
Highly Flexible: The format supports a multitude of unique targeting options such from a variety of vendors. There are retargeting options, lookalike targeting options, data segmenting options, publisher specific targeting systems all available in almost every country around the world.
The Weaknesses of Mobile Banner Ads
Accidental Clicks: Some estimates put the number as high as 50%. This number is not a huge surprise when the touch screen nature of most smartphone is taken into account. It does pose a problem for marketers, since a significant portion of those clicks are wasted, it skews brand measurement down and drives up cost.
Tiny Sizes: The limited screen real estate offers brands and advertisers a sub par creative experience at best. It’s a challenge to communicate any message more complex than a logo and tagline. The rich and captivating experience of television is the reason that the format still commands the bulk of advertising dollars.
Poor Performance: On mobile, banner ad performance overall has seen low click-through-rates and even lower engagement metrics. Performance starts to look real bad once you see that some of the clicks you do get are in-fact accidental. One study found that the average CPM pay out to publishers in mobile is a meager $0.75 (Kleiner Perkins). Another study found that users you’re more likely to die in plane crash then click on a banner ad.
While Mobile Native Ads are relatively new, the excitement around them has been significant. Facebook alone was able to scale Mobile Native Ads to over a Billion dollars in 2013. The strengths and weaknesses of mobile native ads are as follows:
The Strengths of Mobile Native Ads
Strong Performance: While the format is still new and data is limited, early test have show strong performance and significant return on investments for marketers. Facebook in only a years time, has been able to scale their native ads business to over a Billion dollars in revenue. Which means mobile native ads must be working extremely for a certain segment of advertisers.
No Creative Development: Most mobile native ad products don’t require a significant investment in creative resources. This is great for marketers who want to test with a limited budget and have limited resources. Creative development for digital advertising is a significant barrier for many marketers.
Targeting Options: Most native ad products have rich first party data targeting options that can be difficult to access through another method. For example, accurate / male female targeting is possible, as is relationship status targeting.
The Weaknesses of Mobile Native Ads
Currently Limited: Scalable native advertising models are limited. Outside of Facebook, most native ad products are still new and in early testing stages. At scale native ad buying and campaign management tools are still emerging.
Fragmented and Non-Standardized: The formats are not currently managed by the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) and MMA (Mobile Marketing Association). Each publisher is free to create their size, style, with different functionality and options. Which makes at scale campaign management tough.
Still Just a Trend?: Are mobile native ads here to stay? Or will they fade away like so many other promising and exciting technologies. Investing too early into a technology that goes the way of betamax or Flash is a problem. But if they take off it could prove to a massive competitive advantage to your product or company.
Mobile native ads, or sponsored content that adopts the user experience of a publisher, is just a new spin on an old concept, advertorials. But the recent explosion in adoption of the format by both publishers and advertisers shows that its time has come. For publishers, there are many benefits to incorporating native advertising into an app such as, providing a better user experience and increasing engagement rates, which will result in better CPMs. When exploring adding native advertising options for your app, here are five things to consider:
Select a Sponsored Content Format that Works Best with Your Product
Some apps like Facebook offer advertisers the ability to sponsor a newsfeed posts, while photo sharing apps like Instagram offer advertisers sponsored photo posts. For commerce apps such as Gilt or Ebay they offer merchants a featured listing post that’s very prominent in a specific category. Each app’s unique user experience lends itself to a different native ad format. What’s important is to understand the user experience and offer something that will create value for both advertisers and the users.
Many apps have some kind of newsfeed which makes it easy to develop one of the most popular native ad formats, by simply offering a sponsored news feed post. If your app doesn’t have a newsfeed, a bit more creativity is required. Some good examples of non-newsfeed native ad formats include, sponsored groups or channels, sponsored rooms, pages, or a sponsored playlist for music apps.
Native Ads Perform Better and Bring Higher CPMs For Publishers
Recently a few studies have tried to quantify native advertising performance versus banner ads. One study found users were 25% more likely to look at a native ad than they were at a banner, and that they looked at them 53% more frequently. That same study also found that users were much more likely to share a native ad, which is a huge benefit to the format. Also, given the higher engagement rates, incorporating native ads will impact a publisher's bottom line significantly. Here is an example:
Mobile Banners: $.10 CPC on a banner ad gets 0.5% CTR = $0.5 eCPM = $5,000 net payment to the publisher if served on 10MM views.
Native Ads (averaged over native ads publishers): $.30 CPC on a real piece of content gets a 2% CTR = $6.00 net CPM = $60,000 net payment to the publisher if served on 10MM views.
Tap Into RTB Native Demand to Expand Monetization Efforts
For publishers, RTB marketplaces offer great opportunities to capture demand that extends well beyond the reach or expertise of an in-house sales team. New technologies allow advertisers to scale programmatic ad buying and put relevant ads in front of consumers based on real-time data. Now that native is coming to many exchanges, you can tap into programmatic demand for that format in addition to banners.
With more demand now migrating to exchanges, and the targeting data layer becoming larger and more robust, advertisers can access unique opportunities to reach consumers. Another benefit of programmatic demand is that it allows a publisher to scale direct sales efforts by using RTB as the delivery method for direct buys. RTB platforms generally have better campaign management and targeting capabilities that will improve a publisher’s workflow and campaign delivery.
Be Sure to Provide Analytics and Reporting Tools and Incorporate Viral Lift
Helping buyers understand the total value of your native ad offering is key in scaling demand. Viral sharing and engagement numbers should be incorporated into the full analysis for customers, to help quantify the success of their campaign. For example LinkedIn does this by combining all shares and clicks into a single engagement number number in their campaign reports. Facebook also does something very similar. Because viral lift from sharing can be significant, publishers want to make ad buyers aware of it’s impact on their campaigns. Providing metrics that quantify this unique aspect of native advertising will go along way in helping create long term value for your advertisers. It also clearly demonstrate the unique value native ads have and increase differentiation.
Don’t Forget to Label Sponsored Content Clearly, The FTC is Watching
The FTC recently held a meeting specifically on native advertising and while no official labeling guidelines have been agreed to for native ads, the FTC did use the meeting as an opportunity to remind publishers, that existing guidelines require all publishers to clearly label any native ad content as sponsored. How this is done is still up to the publishing platform. Google now simply uses the word “Ads” above their sponsored links. While Facebook labels their native ads with the term “Sponsored Post”. Even clever publications like The Onion have a section called “Special Coverage” that contains articles marked “Sponsored By”. Terminology, size, and wording are still all up to the publisher at this stage, what’s most important is to label the sponsored content appropriately.
With Valentine’s Day only three weeks away, mobile advertising is the perfect channel to reach an affluent, on-the-go audience who are busy, but still want to do something special for their significant other. The technology has progressed a lot and marketers have plenty of options to help them reach their audiences. Here are some of our recommendations on how to approach mobile marketing this Valentine’s Day.
Use Targeted Social Media Native Ads
Native Ads are now all the rage. Why? Their performance is hard to beat and the scale is significant. Users love to engage with Native Ads, in fact sharing them is quite popular, which is not the case with mobile banner ads. Using this new ad format, with first party data from Facebook for targeting is very powerful way to drive engagement. One easy way to take advantage of this during Valentine’s Day, is to target ads to facebook users that show they are in a relationship. This strategy will work great for many products such as restaurants, gift shops, flower shops and other retailers. Using Valentine’s Day themed creative and offers will also boost performance.
Take Advantage of Local Search with Mobile PPC Ads
With the rise of Native, In-App Ads, and other new ad formats it is very easy to forget about the PPC search advertising. Google’s enhanced campaigns uses context to adjust the results to take advantage of mobile specific data. For example, when you search for a “romantic restaurant” on your phone, the results will be pulled directly from Google Maps and Google Places and be relevant to your location. So leveraging PPC ads is a great way to have your restaurant or shop listed above the organic results. Plus, bids should not be ridiculously priced since you will only be trying to serve impressions in a small area for a few select keywords. It will also allow you to target specific zip code so you are not wasting impressions or ad spend on other cities. The click-to-call option make is it easy for a user to make an reservation or place an order.
Re-Engage Past Users with Email and Push NotificationsRe-engaging past customers through email or push notifications is a great way to improve ROI from marketing. With 61% of emails being opened on a smartphone or tablet, it makes sense for marketers to send email in a mobile friendly format. If consumers had a great user experience with your brand previously, it should be easy to get them to use your service again. Push notifications can also be a great re-engagement tool for apps. Time the push for last minute sales or during a “Happy Hour” where users can take advantage of a special Valentine’s Day offer.
If you don’t have a multimillion dollar advertising budget, don’t worry. Mobile offers a unique opportunity to get your brand or product in front of consumers during the Super Bowl. Mobile advertising platforms are now operating at a massive scale and offer features that help ensure you can reach that coveted Super Bowl audience and avoid the Super Bowl price tag. Here are a few creative ideas to help you get excited when you’re planning a mobile ad campaign for this year's Super Bowl.
Use Mobile In-App Ads or Native Ads to Promote Your Product Before the Big Game
The Super Bowl is the single most watched event in the world, even more than the World Cup. Which is why it’s the single most important advertising event of the year. Super Bowl party planning happens well in advance of the actual event. Even casual fans, start to prepare a week or two ahead of time to ensure they have everything they need for the game. For many advertisers, this means you want get ahold of your audience ahead of the game, to increase awareness of any product that a Super Bowl party might need. Whether its snacks, soft drinks, alcohol, or grilling items there is a ton of opportunity if you reach your audience a week or two before the kickoff.
Hotels, Airlines and Travel Apps Should Target Travelers Booking Their Trip to NYC
If you’ve ever been to a host city during the Super Bowl, you know it is pandemonium at its finest. Tens of thousands of people flock to city, not just for the game, but just to be part of the festivities. Travel apps should target these users as they book last minute flights and hotels. For example, use location data to target creatives developed for the respective teams of each region. Or, try a super bowl themed offer targeted at users who booked a flight or hotel but never converted.
The Location of this Year's Super Bowl Cities to Increase Retail Sales
This year’s Super Bowl is in New York City during what is predicted to be a big winter storm. There will be hundreds of thousands of tourists, all not from New York, who are not be used to cold and snowy northeast. Retailers should take advantage of this, in order to drive sales of winter hats, coats, scarves and gloves. It’s a great opportunity to liquidate old winter inventory in the beginning of February, as they prep for spring. Not only can local retailers benefit, but official partners of the NFL can utilize this years location and target sports fans to increase sports apparel purchases before the big game. Sports insiders like to joke about this, but it’s true that bandwagon fans spend big money on team clothing before any big game. Brands can also take advantage of tools like Foursquare or Facebook check-ins to give sports fans coupons for a check-in at a store that sell their respective products. This will give sports fans extra motivation to leave with your brands products.
Food Delivery Apps Should Increase Their Install Base Prior to Game Day
Not everyone cooks at their Super Bowl party, many sports fans (myself included) like to take the easy way out. In fact, not only does pizza delivery sales spike, but it’s one of the top days in pizza sales for the entire year all year along. Pizza is not the only hit on Super Bowl Sunday, according to the National Chicken Council Americans ate 1.23 Billion chicken wings during the Super Bowl. Mobile media is still cheap relative to other channels, restaurants or apps that offer home food delivery can buy downloads and drive sales all the way up to until halftime. It’s an inexpensive and easy way to claim the low hanging fruit and grab tons of orders from people who were already looking to have food delivered.
Have the Marketing Team Watch the Game Together
Advertising is a 24/7 game now with social media. Some of the best sports advertising moments come during the more interesting or bizarre moments of a game. You might remember last years Super Bowl, when during the 3rd quarter, half of the stadium lights went out. They had to postpone the game for a full 34 minutes. In that short time span, Oreo put out this tweet. Which has became legendary in social media advertising circles and is almost as well known as the event itself. This particular tweet also trumped TV ads during this break since TV ads during the Super Bowl are on strict time slots so most of the ads played during the stoppage were repeat or old TV commercials.
More recently, you might have watched the end of the AFC Divisional Round when Peyton Manning said, “What’s weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth?" As expected, the Bud Light marketing team wasted no time. They retweeted the journalist who asked Peyton the question, as well as posted a tweet of their own. It was a magical social advertising moment, that created great significant brand awareness while spending little or no money at all. Having the team together for Super Bowl game day is a fun bonding experience. But it also can be a productive and creative venue, where great marketing moments are born.
For more mobile marketing insights download TapSense’s free eBook: A Complete Guide to Mobile Marketing 2014 Second Edition
Why We Take Time Out For FoosballFoosball has long been associated with startup culture and we think it’s a great game, but it’s also a great symbol for a new type of work organization, one that breaks completely with the antiquated nineteenth century model of work — a model which unfortunately still persists in the minds of many managers and business types. The nineteenth century model of work was developed specifically for organizing workers on a factory floor, getting them to do boring repetitive tasks, quickly and efficiently. This couldn’t be farther from the modern office environment, which is why those management methods are so outdated. Coding, design, and even writing all take a deep level of concentration that can’t be sustained for hours on end. They also all tend to be solitary pursuits, which is why we encourage our team to take frequent office breaks. In this context, games at work for our team are not a distraction; they’re an essential part of the process. It gives them an opportunity to interact with each other, relax their minds and come together as a team.
Team Building and HackathonsUntil recently, hackathons were the sole territory of only the nerdiest tech industry insiders. But now, hackathons are increasing in popularity, and this hasn’t diminished their usefulness. Hackathons are essential to our culture and our ability to innovate. Why? Because with technology evolving so rapidly, how does our team find the time to experiment with new ideas? Research new approaches? Test out new technologies? In most startups, the team is extremely busy updating and maintaining the business. It’s hard to find time to stay current. Spending time on your own, outside of work, isn’t ideal either. Because you don’t always have all the resources required to test and learn. Hosting a company hackathon allows the team to come together and try out these new ideas. The company should provide resources like servers, testing equipment and software that are difficult to get outside of the office. Providing incentives and fostering a friendly, but competitive environment will help increase motivation and encourage teams to tackle real problems.
How Cake Can Equal InnovationThe tradition of having cake on your birthday is wonderful one. We make it a point to have a cake for each employee’s birthday. In fact, our team enjoyed the cake tradition so much, that we started to have cakes at work on occasions other than employee birthdays. We had a cake for the anniversary of the founding of the company. We took cakes to meetings with some of our customers. We even created our own holiday, to announce a new product and had cakes delivered to all of our key partners, customers and journalists. They all loved the cake, but they also loved the uniqueness of receiving cake as a gift. It was symbolic of our dedication to innovation and creativity – and was a cost-effective marketing tool. Building a true culture of innovation is an easy thing to say, but a very tough thing to do well. It requires a careful mix of good judgment and risk taking. If startups take too many unnecessary risks, you can easily lose what little traction you have, alienating early supporters. On the other hand, if you’re too conservative and too slow, competitors both big and small will fly past you. All the best approaches to company culture generally come down to one essential ingredient: building a great team. This is why at the earliest stages you have to put in place a rigorous hiring process. Not only hiring the best and brightest, but hiring those who share your values and who you can see yourself working with closely on a daily basis. If you can assemble a great team, the company culture should easily fall in line.
You can see the entire agenda of the conference by clicking here.
Native Advertising: The Banner Buster?Native advertising is gathering steam. From BuzzFeed to YouTube, the format is catching on with both publishers and marketers. Even the venerable New York Times introduced the format this month. Fact: native advertising is more authentic, engaging, and shareable than traditional banner advertising. And, brands are catching on. Take a deep dive into the technology powering native advertising and learn how Fortune 500 brands are getting big returns from the native advertising phenomenon.