While it has been widely predicted that mobile advertising is set to become big business, there is still a long way to go. Advertisers would be smart to start learning some lessons from other forms of digital media, and start testing their service offerings on consumers who already use advanced mobile handsets.
According to latest reports from Forrester Research, the vast majority (83%) of marketers think that mobile advertising will grow several fold in about 3 years from now, and to be able to make the most of the boom when it occurs, advertisers should start preparing themselves from now.
One of the biggest obstacles advertisers will have to deal with is the lack of awareness among the masses about mobile ads. It is reported that only about 7% of users trust mobile ads.
Advertisers will need to start analysing data on how clients use their mobiles. Prior research and data from network operators indicates that 42% of users use their mobiles for SMS, 25% for picture messages, and just about 15% use it for email, apart from making and receiving phone calls.
33% of users have come across some form of marketing on their phones, and this figure is expected to increase with time. According to data collected by Forrester, only 1% of users said that they had clicked on a banner ad, while using their mobile phones, although new arrivals on the mobile market such as Blyk have made claims of very high click through rates.
Marketers can use the ‘send to a friend’ feature and referral incentives to improve the acceptability of mobile ads. They can also distribute branded logos and graphics that can be used as screen savers or wall paper by customers. Using ads containing keywords that are common in that region or local language would also be a smart move.
Sponsored links are prefered over ads that appear while the page is loading, as most users find the latter to be quite tiresome. Marketers can also put in pre-roll ads before mobile video clips and games, as this seems to be the most acceptable video ad format on mobile. Advertisers must remember that it is extremely important to keep their ads short and sweet – preferably under 15 seconds.
It is also necessary to consider that the size of the mobile screen is small in this case and users make use of the mobile to collect information while on the move. As of now, only 23% of mobile users feel that accessing the web through their mobiles is a pleasant experience. Advertisers should use fast-loading content and use only miniature versions of their regular sites on mobiles.