Mobile Marketing Adoption by SMBs

As the world around us goes mobile, businesses face a new challenge of adopting this channel to reach and interact with their target audience. While SMBs have a hard time grasping the hows and whys with their limited means and resources, many believe this could be a blessing in disguise for them.Landing page PlugNplay2 sample

xAd and Telmetrics recently released a Mobile Path-To-Purchase study, conducted by Nielsen, which explored the growing importance of local mobile search. The study determined the top 3 reasons that consumers have for engaging with local mobile ads:

  • Locally relevant: the ad is for a business that is nearby and easy to access
  • Local offers coupons/promotions: presented with multiple business options, the ad presents a deal that the consumer can’t get with the others
  • Features a known brand: like any type of advertising, consumers are often drawn to businesses they know and trust

According to a report from Borrell Associates, “2013 Local Advertising Outlook: Get Ready for the Rebound,”U.S. local digital advertising will reach $24.5  billion in 2013, to take a 25% share of total local ad budgets.

US Local Digital Ad Spending 2012 & 2013

Of those who have used mobile advertising, a solid 83% said they were at least somewhat likely to use it again in 2013.

Mobile ad spending in 2013 (eMarketer)

Broken out from online spending, 25% of SMBs planned to increase mobile budgets this year.

A continuous wave of new statistics are illustrating that consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices for local information. This was also confirmed by Google in one of its announcements that as much as 50 percent of mobile search via its platforms is for local information.

Mobile is where today’s consumers already are, but local businesses are not. So, what do the local businesses need to do to integrate mobile in their marketing communication strategies? I took inputs from my colleague Adam Burnham, vice president of interactive services, to understand the path forward for mobile.

  • Which mobile ad features produce the best responses for advertisers today?

Just like most advertising,  clean and simple campaigns with clear calls to action will produce the best results. And mobile allows great levels of targeting to get messages to the right audiences.

  • Which mobile marketing tactics have the highest adoption rates among the advertisers?

There are three products within the mobile platform where I see the best tactical adoption and execution. Those are mobile banner display, mobile banner interstitials and mobile sites. All three work well together and complement a diverse media buy.

Marketers have been targeting local buyers for years with publishing news about deals and store openings and expansions in local newspapers. The next step is mobile banner advertising that provides targeted reach and interactive messages tailored to suit individual tastes and preferences. Just make sure to design ads that clearly state the offers, give clear directions for interested buyers and have decent analytics installed to analyze campaign reports to help you get instant feedback and act quickly.

  • Which business sectors are using mobile marketing effectively? Which types of businesses can benefit the most from mobile marketing?

This is what is so great with mobile. Many think you need to be in a specific business or serve a certain type of customer for mobile advertising to be effective. The reality is that it will work for pretty much anyone. You should absolutely make sure you have a mobile-optimized site where you are driving traffic through mobile search and mobile display options. The mobile platform is growing faster than anything we’ve seen before, which means more people will access it.

  • How does mobile marketing help publishers target the local SMB advertisers?

Local publishers have a leg up just as they do on the web, as they are delivering a content-rich experience for their audiences. People are already visiting their mobile sites to access the content they want, when they want it. That gives them immediate leverage and opportunity to serve the local marketplace through display advertising options. They can then build from there to offer additional mobile products including landing pages, mobile sites and search.

  • How can publishers integrate mobile into their multimedia services offering?

Leveraging the mobile platform as part of complete offerings is very necessary. Publishers have to look beyond strictly web-based sales opportunities. And they have to accept that their audiences will be migrating to mobile devices. You can’t fight that. Publishers need to embrace it and build the right offerings to serve the needs of their advertisers. Mobile aligns very well with print, web and social.

Though many studies show people on the go engage with mobile ads and convert into customers at high rates, many local business owners still have skepticism about mobile as the latest “next big thing.” So I tried to understand from our technical expert, Ray Sheerer, about some key tips that SMBs could use before going live with mobile marketing.

  •  What should an advertiser keep in mind before starting to use mobile advertising?

Before the mobile campaign begins, geographic location is usually considered the most important piece of targeting criteria for a small- to medium-sized business. Next, the advertiser needs to choose an ad serving platform either through a publisher or on their own. The ad serving platform delivers these mobile ads to mobile websites, microsites and apps that are part of the ad network. The ad networks extend the reach of the mobile ads and allow the SMB to specially geo-target the ad delivery. The advertiser should also request reports that display daily metrics about impressions, clicks and conversion rates. These reports are essential to measure the performance of the mobile advertising.

  • Does the call-to-action of a mobile ad need to be different from an online ad?

The call to action of a mobile ad needs to be more clear and concise due to the smaller ad size and reduced space for text and graphics. More important than the mobile ad is the mobile landing page that corresponds with the overall campaign promotion/message. A clear call to action with a click-to-call or a simple lead generation form could highly increase the ad ROI.

Mobile ads can use some innovative ideas to improve engagement. One example is to run click-to-call campaign that initiates the mobile phone’s call function after the user clicks on the banner ad. There is also a click-to-SMS functionality that can be combined with a number of techniques, including the ability to SMS back to the user a mobile web link. These actions reduce the time to reach the seller and share your query. Click-to-download is another mobile-specific choice that is popular for app download campaigns. This call to action takes the user directly to the app store where they can download the advertised app onto their mobile device. Another example of a mobile call to action would be the use of QR codes.

  • Which mobile features are being utilized by marketers most effectively today?

SMS opt-in is becoming one of the most effective mobile marketing tools. The messages are delivered to the consumer because they requested them and are typically not viewed as being annoying and unsolicited. QR codes are also being utilized to drive traffic to mobile websites and mobile landing pages. The consumer scans the QR code and is automatically directed to a URL without having to type. The use of call to action buttons for calling, SMS, mapping and emailing is also effective because these are one touch functions to allow the consumer to contact or find the advertiser.

As the main purpose of adopting any technology is to better achieve your organization goals, mobile fulfills those criteria by reaching out to your customers in their comfort zone and initiating interactions that have high chances of resulting into business transactions.

How do you foresee integrating your advertising efforts with mobile technology?

About Kriti Adlakha
I have been working in the field of marketing and brand development for more than eight years. My experience ranges from hospitality to media and IT products to outsourced services. During my journey, I have worked with print and new-age media and have enjoyed developing content. I have also learnt and worked on marketing tools like adwords marketing, analytics, CRM and the list is steadily growing. Having acquired post-graduate diploma in business management from IIM, Calcutta, I love new challenges and learn from each experience. In my blog, I share marketing strategies that enable small and medium businesses to market in a small budget. I also discuss how to use different online tools that can help businesses to monitor returns of their marketing investments. Above all, I love to hear back from my readers!

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