People & Dreams

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Sección destinada a artículos relacionados con todos los nuevos descubrimientos para la industria de los dispositivos móviles

Understanding Your App’s Target Audience

The Audience Matters More Than the Idea

It’s easy to get excited about app ideas. I hear great ideas every day, but in most cases they’re ideas that originate around a task or function, rather than a specific audience. The target audience is considered as an after thought, only important when formulating the marketing plan. The more apps I design and launch, the more I’m convinced it’s better to start with a specific target audience and create ideas based on the needs of that audience.

Why Start With the Audience?

“But my idea is great! Even I need this app!” I’ve said this myself. I AM my audience, so why do I need to think about who I’m targeting with this app? Simply put, the “I am my target audience” methodology is flawed. Speaking from personal experience, if I had spent more time researching and polling my audience, I would have either brought some of the apps I’ve published to market much differently, or, in some cases, perhaps not at all.

A perfect example is our app, Doodle Bright. When the idea originated, the iPad had not even launched – I was using a wooden prototype to draw and test ideas. The problem is we identified our initial target audience as previous Lite Brite users, a novelty, retro app that adults who enjoyed the original toy would buy. Right, but mostly WRONG. Those people were buying the app, but they were buying it for their kids! If we had taken a week or two to poll the idea for the true target audience we would have very quickly narrowed down a very concise and targeted plan around:

  1. Pricing – What are parents expecting and willing to pay for an app that is fun, but not educational? Maybe the pricing should be less than an educational app.
  2. Upsell Opportunities – What is the value to parents? Does it keep the children entertained for 15 minutes or 15 seconds? If the value is high – perhaps they would be willing to make an in-app purchase to amp up the entertainment level even further.
  3. Design – Our original design was not targeted towards children. It was targeted for adults who got into the original toy. Once gameplay begins, the playful colors have eye catching appeal for a child, but if presented with a choice of our design versus a very kid-centric design, Doodle Bright would have a tough time competing.
  4. Interaction Design – The app was not designed specifically for a child’s mind. We did not do research on the most successful apps for kids before designing Doodle Bright. Not to say that the interface doesn’t work for kids, but we certainly made tweaks to the interface once we realized who made up the bulk of our audience.
  5. Marketing – We first market to the parent, but build the app for the kids. This is an insight we did not have during the “idea phase” because we started with the idea, not the audience. If we had taken extra steps to reveal the entirety of the audience, our marketing efforts would have been more successful. Instead, we marketed to adults in general, not parents.

Notice how knowing information about your audience touches many pieces of the product development? It doesn’t just impact marketing. It it a critical piece of the entire process.

How to Fine Tune Your Idea

If you’re reading this article, you probably already have an idea or perhaps have a client with an idea. You need to find out who is going to go crazy for your app idea. Or, even if you don’t have an idea, answering the following questions is a useful exercise to help you narrow down audiences that are a good target for mobile apps.

Does Your Audience Need an App?

Businesses with an existing customer base are the first to fall into the “we’ve gotta have an iPhone app!!” brouhaha. People want to “stay up with the technology” without considering if the product will bring value in the mobile context.

As an example, a company called me a few months ago that helps doctors offices generate more revenue by making phone calls to patients to remind them of appointments. Great, maybe they can make an app that reminds their patients of their appointment! Problem is, 99% of their patients do not own a smartphone. Which leads me to our next point.

Is Your Audience on iPhone?

You would think this is a no-brainer, but I’ve had dozens of calls from people with ideas like the above example. Think about how many ideas you’ve had or heard about that include an audience that simply isn’t on iPhone! I hear great ideas for apps all the time that are perfect for Blackberry users.

Does Your Audience Use Apps?

When I first began polling friends and family about the types of apps they use, I was surprised to learn how many “regular” people do not use a great quantity of apps. I then reflected on my own habits, which include testing apps for “work”, but for my own personal use revolve only around 3 – 4 apps! Do some asking around to make sure the people you have in mind to use your app are in the habit of using more than just the Mail and Phone applications!

Is Your Idea Mobile-Centric?

porting to mobile is a natural next step for growth of that product. Sometimes products are a good fit for mobile, but sometimes they aren’t.

For example, WebMD is in the process of porting their content to mobile. Is this the right move? Let’s think about their audience. People are at doctors offices waiting for appointments, a perfect time to surf their smart phone for more information on their health problem. In this case, the content is very mobile-centric.

Another example is a company that wanted to devise a lie detector test based on books they have written on the topic of deception detection. We sliced and diced the idea a million ways before deciding that there wasn’t a way to create a real, working lie detector for iPhone because using their methodology relied heavily on human evaluation of the subject.

Who is on iPhone?

Once you have narrowed down that your idea is mobile centric, and your users have iPhones and have needs, it’s time to learn more about their physical and emotional makeup and surroundings. Two components to research include demographic and psychographic information.

The iPhone Demographic

What is the iPhone demographic? It depends. Are you talking about iPhone and iPod touch or just iPhone? Generally speaking, iPod touch users skew younger than iPhone. You have kids whose parents buy the iPod touch for music and text messaging, before the child is old enough to own a phone. Do your research for the latest reports of iPhone to really understand who is using the device and how they are using it. Or, better yet, do some independent polling of your own on Twitter or with friends and family. The results might surprise you!

The iPhone Psychographic

Audience demographics are a common consideration defining a product’s target audience, but what about psychographics? Psychographic variables are any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles. Although not “iPhone” specific, a study by Mindset Media found that Mac users are: superior, arrogant, open, perfectionists. Oye that hurts!

Seriously, it’s important to think about the emotional impact your app will have on its audience. Does it give a sense of relief because they don’t miss a plane? Or a sense of accomplishment by checking off an entire to-do task list? I’ll list out some brainstorming questions below that will help you identify some of the psychographic characteristics of your target audience.

Questions to Ask Yourself

The below list of questions will help you to fully explore the demographic and psychographic makeup of your audience.

  • Are they male/female?
  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • Do they have children?
  • Are they married?
  • Where are they when they use the app?
  • Do they love a competitive app? Why?
  • What do they do?
  • What do they have in common?
  • Why are they interested in the topic?
  • Who are they trying to impress?
  • Who impresses them?
  • What are their biggest fears?
  • What are their biggest hopes?
  • What Internet tools do they use most every day?
  • What Internet tools do they not use ever?
  • What drives my target to make decisions?
  • Can they afford my app?
  • Can I reach them with my app? Are they accessible?
  • Are there enough people in your target to be profitable?
  • How does your idea resonate with your audience on an emotional level?
  • Do you need to break your target up into niches?

Conclusion – Who Cares?

If you have only one takeaway from this article, it’s to ask yourself one question: “Who Cares?” Sounds a tad cynical, but a simple phrase to keep in the back of your mind during the app development process. Will anyone really care about this app? If the answer is yes – Godspeed!

The Mobile Advertising Ecosystem Explained

Alex Cocotas Oct. 22, 2:19 PM
mobile ad forecas

We are in the post-PC era, and soon billions of consumers will be carrying around Internet-connected mobile devices for up to 16 hours a day.

Mobile audiences have exploded as a result.

According to the U.K.’s Association of Online Publishers, mobile accounts for at least 20 percent of traffic for 87 percent of publishers.

It follows then that mobile advertising should be a bonanza, similar to online advertising a decade ago. However, it has been a bit slow off the ground, and its growth trajectory is not clear cut.

That said, U.S. mobile ad revenue was $1.2 billion last year, according to the IAB, and is on track to hit $3.2 billion this year.

In this report, we attempt to demystify the mobile ad industry’s many moving parts.

Here’s what we learned:

  • The mobile ad ecosystem is fractured and more complex than its desktop counterpart.
  • Mobile ad networks occupy a central position in the ecosystem, but are coming under threat.
  • Demand side platforms and mobile ad exchanges are streamlining the market.
  • Real-time bidding will play a growing role.
  • Agencies are coming around on mobile, but major brands still haven’t fully caught on.
  • New companies are emerging that hope to upend the traditional banner ad.

The Mobile Ad Ecosystem

2011 global mobile ad spend

The mobile ad ecosystem is not as strictly delineated as the desktop ecosystem.

«The cake is smaller on mobile,» says Krishna Subramanian, chief marketing officer of mobile advertising and marketing firm Velti. «[Companies] will try to do multiple things to see what gains traction.»

Another factor adding to complexity is the multiple industry layers advertisers must sift through.

In mobile advertising, the rules of the road change with different combinations of device, wireless operator, and operating system. There are few shared protocols and standards, so mobile lacks the technical consensus that enables ad targeting, delivery, and measurement to work fairly seamlessly across the desktop world.

mobile ad format

As the mobile ad industry matures it will likely become more streamlined and simple, but for now there are innumerable actors interacting with one another and attempting to find a niche.

Google does utterly dominate the paid search category, which was responsible for 62 percent of mobile global ad spend last year. In this report, we focus on the display ad category, which isn’t nearly as consolidated and thus presents a more complicated picture.

Mobile Ad Networks

Mobile ad networks aggregate advertising inventory and match it with advertisers, much as online ad networks do.

Millennial Media

Google’s mobile ad network, AdMob, is the largest player in this business. Millennial Media was the first pure-play mobile ad network to go public (read their prospectus here).

Networks soak up ad inventory, analyze its potential, and sell it by matching it to advertisers’ needs.

«Ad networks play an important role in mobile [because the] audience is fragmented across a large number of devices and publishers,» says Michael Collins, CEO of mobile ad agency Joule. «The role of the network is that they are able to aggregate audience at scale. There are many [networks] all at different stages of their evolution, some stronger and more robust, but still a good amount of innovation is going on in the market.»

The open secret, according to Collins, is that «networks all have the same inventory,» which they buy from wholesalers aggregating publisher supply.

Subramanian, CMO at Velti, echoes this sentiment: «If you are running on three ad networks, you could effectively be bidding against [yourself]» for inventory and impressions.

Where networks differentiate is in value-added services, such as aggregating buying power to strike better deals, or improve targeting.

The largest ad networks have their own sales forces reaching out to advertisers, as well as their own campaign optimization technology.

«Our belief is that the number one thing you have to do is understand the audience better than anyone else,» says George Bell, CEO of mobile ad network Jumptap. «That’s value-add between the publisher and the advertiser.”

Several people we talked to mentioned that mobile ad networks face challenges as the mobile ad market matures and scales.

Victor Milligan, chief marketing officer at Nexage, says networks’ dependency on direct sales «is not going to grow with the market,» but will remain part of the ecosystem. He notes some ad networks are starting to embrace online real-time bidding (as ad exchanges already have done; see below) in order to sell ad inventory at the larger scale enabled by automation.

Demand Side Platforms

Mobile ad networks also face pressure from demand-side platforms (DSPs) like StrikeAd. These function similarly to ad networks, in the sense that they help match advertisers with inventory, but tend to work hand-in-glove with brands.

“Demand-side platforms give media buyers a platform providing visibility into ad inventory, letting them optimize campaigns on a real-time basis and buy into real-time inventory cross-publisher,» Collins of Joule was quoted as saying in an interview with Mobile Marketer. «In some ways, it is an evolution of an ad network model.»

In plain English, DSPs give advertisers deeper insights into mobile audiences in a real-time environment.

Bell, of Jumptap, says DSPs are complementary to the ad network business because they more richly describe mobile audiences.

But once DSPs start hiring their own staff to sell ad inventory, the complementarity could end, and DSPs would compete more head-on with ad networks. In case you were wondering, StrikeAd is currently hiring account executives.

Mobile Ad Exchanges

Exchanges automate many parts of the mobile ad process, and can connect publishers with multiple ad networks.

Ad exchanges are primarily supply-facing at the moment, and have relatively few interactions with mobile ad agencies (even less so with brands). Agencies are disincentivized from using exchanges because they threaten their lucrative role as the brands’ media buyers, according to Bell, Jumptap’s CEO.

If exchanges gain a certain level of scale, like Google did in online advertising, brand money could start to directly flow into their businesses, and that would threaten agencies’ media buy margins.

But Bell thinks that the «people spending the money have ambivalence about whether algorithms should be in control of [media buying].»

From publishers’ perspective, the main advantage of exchanges is their efficiency. Generally speaking, they provide greater price transparency, scalability, and liquidity.

It is important to note that mobile ad networks and exchanges aren’t playing a zero sum game. The rise of one doesn’t necessarily preclude the other’s existence. For example, exchanges sometimes act as «aggregators» of publisher inventory, which they then wholesale on to the networks, according to Collins of Joule. That’s why many ad networks have the same inventory.

Bell thinks that exchanges will phase out the prevalence of software development kits (SDKs), which have been the focus of the mobile ad industry for the past three to four years. The SDKs are lines of code that developers and publishers drop into their apps in order to plug into ad networks’ systems.

Large mobile ad networks, like Millennial Media, have garnered large install bases for their SDKs. However, if publishers want to pit multiple ad networks against each other, they need to install multiple SDKs. Additionally, many publishers opt to include the SDK of an independent app analytics company, like Flurry. Supporting multiple SDKs can quickly become an engineering headache.

Exchanges can vastly simplify this process by offering a single SDK. Through an exchange’s SDK, publishers are able to offer ad impressions to multiple networks simultaneously. Bell’s hope is that this streamlined process will convince developers not to view the mobile ad ecosystem as cumbersome.

There are two types of formats for exchanges, often working in tandem: mediation and real-time bidding (RTB).

Mobile advertising mediation combines human and technical considerations. The publisher and the exchange work together to tweak goals and set the framework for how ads are placed on their site.

For example, they can set parameters by price, ad format, number of ads, location, what kind of advertiser they want, etc. They can parse out a certain percentage of impressions to various networks, block off inventory for their own promotions, or auction impressions on a sequential basis, where the high bidder gets first crack at the next impression.

Velti’s mobile ad exchange, brought over with the Mobclix acquisition, is an example of an exchange that uses mediation to work with publishers and developers (it also has a real-time bidding platform).

Velti gives clients an SDK they drop into their apps, which connects them into analytics and plugs them into 60 ad networks. Currently, over 35,000 apps use the SDK.

Nexage is an example of a real-time bidding (RTB) mobile ad exchange. RTB allows market participants to instantaneously bid on individual impressions targeted by location, platform, device, or other criteria. Milligan, CMO at Nexage, says there can be as many as 500 million auctions per day on Nexage’s exchange.

Jumptap’s Bell says real-time bidding — also called algorithmic buying — will rush into mobile at some point, but it is still reasonably small. He estimates that it is currently no greater than five or 10 percent of the bidded mobile advertising market, but added he wouldn’t be surprised if it grew to 30 percent or more in a few years time.

Mobile Ad Agencies and Mobile Marketing

One of the gripes you often hear around the mobile ad industry is that agencies don’t get it. According to the U.K.’s Association of Online Publishers, 55 percent of publishers blamed «agencies’ attitude» for low mobile ad revenues.

However, that is changing. Several people we talked to said agencies are doubling down on mobile, and competency is improving.

For example, Joule, a subsidiary of WPP, is a full-service mobile marketing and ad agency. Other mobile ad agencies include Airwave (an OMD subsidiary), and Mobext.

Joule CEO Collins says the world’s largest advertisers have only just made the transition to online advertising and now face a new medium with its own quirks and challenges.

Consequently, there are «still a large percentage of brands … that don’t have the mobile destinations — either a site or application — that they can use to engage users in the mobile space.»

The basic difference between mobile advertising and mobile marketing is pretty straightforward.

«Mobile advertising,» Krishna Subramanian, Velti CMO told us, «is everything happens before the click. Mobile marketing is everything after the click.»

Mobile advertising is the process that gets the ad before a consumer’s eyeballs. Mobile marketing is the more long-term process of driving value from mobile customers, which can include loyalty rewards or contests. The two are irrevocably interlinked and there are a number of companies that straddle the fence.

Subramanian says 80 percent of Velti’s revenues come from mobile marketing.

The Natives

smartphone receptivity

Other companies are emerging that don’t neatly fit the established categories. They resemble ad networks in that they connect advertisers with publishers’ inventory, but they express disdain for the traditional mobile advertising model.

Chris Cunningham, co-founder and CEO of adtivity by appssavvy, says mobile ad networks are «focused on spraying users» and «took the same approach as with the Web, which is focused on banners.»

Such criticisms feed skeptics’ perception that mobile ads are ineffective and that consumers find them intrusive.

Skeptics may have a point. According to Nielsen, only 19 percent of U.S. smartphone owners thought mobile advertising was acceptable and another 16 percent don’t mind it as long as it’s not intrusive.

Some ad companies are trying to find a native approach to mobile advertising that will break through consumers’ apparent disdain for mobile ads. For lack of a better term, we have grouped them as «the natives.»

Adtivity by appssavvy is focused on delivering relevant ads during natural breaks in consumer’s mobile content consumption. For example, they ran a Coca-Cola campaign tied to «giving happiness.» When a consumer shared a piece of content from one of the publishers, they were shown an ad tied to the theme.

Cunningham wants fewer ads, but to make them front and center during these breaks rather than relying on the status quo of placing mobile ads adjacent to content.

SessionM induces consumers to opt-in to rich media ads. Consumers are rewarded for reaching certain milestones on a publisher’s app or website with «mpoints,» which can be redeemed for gift certificates and other goods. Consumers earn more points the more they interact with sponsors’ rich media ads, typically video-based, mini-games, or social polls.

«Digital consumers switch screens 27 times in an hour,» says Lars Albright, CEO of SessionM. «You have to think of ways that you can capture their attention.»

Albright says between 75 and 85 percent of consumers opt-in to SessionM ads.

There are also major publishers pursuing interesting mobile advertising strategies, such as Pandora, Twitter, and Facebook. As we discussed in our Future Of Mobile Ads presentation, Pandora mixes display, audio, and video ads, which now account for two-thirds of its ad revenue. Twitter and Facebook have opted for sponsored stories, which are ads that are integrated seamlessly into a user’s feed. Twitter’s mobile revenues now shoot past the traditional web’s on many days. Facebook was taking in $500,000 a day in mobile ads only a few weeks after their introduction.

However, it should also be pointed out that the vast majority of publishers don’t have nearly the scale or size to pursue these sort of strategies on their own.


  • Mobile ad networks are being squeezed by ad exchanges and DSPs (demand-side platforms), but can maintain their central position if they keep an edge in audience targeting and measurement.
  • Many brands lack the mobile destinations necessary for an effective mobile ad campaign.
  • Mobile marketing can produce as much or more revenue for agencies as mobile advertising alone.
  • Mobile native ad formats are finding success with TV-style content break ads, and opt-in reward schemes.
  • Only the largest publishers have the size and scale to go it alone in mobile advertising.

Click here to download a PDF version of this report→

Manufacturers Shipped Twice As Many Smartphones As PCs Last Quarter

By Marcelo Ballvé

We’ve reached another milestone in the growth of the smartphone market. Hardware makers shipped twice as many smartphones as PCs in the third quarter of this year, according to BI Intelligence estimates compiled from multiple sources.

It’s the first time the quarterly data shows global smartphone sales outstripping PC sales by a ratio of two-to-one. In all, 169.1 million smartphones shipped, compared to 87.7 million PCs. Smartphone growth first took off in 2009, and continues to be robust.

Smartphone shipments grew 10 percent in the third quarter, compared to the previous quarter. Tablet shipments also notched impressive gains, growing 5 percent in the quarter and accounting for 27.7 million units shipped.

Click here to download all the data associated with this chart in Excel→


Mobile payments to exceed $1 trillion by 2017 – IDC

14 NOVEMBER 2012

Spending on goods and services using mobile devices will exceed $1 trillion by 2017, driven by m-commerce and NFC payments, market watcher IDC said

According to IDC Financial Insight’s Worldwide Mobile Payments 2012-2017 report, which presents a worldwide forecast of consumer and business spending through mobile networks over the next five years, worldwide purchase volume over mobile devices will surpass $1 trillion by 2017.

The report includes purchases of digital and physical products and services, as well as direct fund transfers that do not involve the exchange of any product or service.

Most of the purchase volume will come from mobile commerce, IDC said, which includes purchase of digital media on the device as well as e-commerce through a mobile web browser.

Proximity payments, which are made by waving a mobile phone with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology near a merchant’s point-of-sale (POS) terminal, will ride upgrades in POS and mobile device technology to become the second-largest category of mobile payment spending, IDC said.

Person-to-person (P2P) fund transfers will come third, IDC said, limited by a lack of common standards for sending money across borders using mobile devices.

In addition, P2P fund transfers could suffer from a lack of locations for adding to and withdrawing cash from the system, it said.

While its forecast for mobile payments in 2017 is large in dollar terms, IDC said it is a tiny fraction (just above 2.5%) of the total amount of worldwide commerce that is theoretically addressable by mobile payments.

«The growing prevalence of smartphones is enabling a variety of mobile payment methods, which combined are becoming a significant share of global commerce,» said Aaron McPherson, practice director of Worldwide Payment Strategies at IDC Financial Insights. «We expect growth rates to continue to accelerate as consumers and retailers become more comfortable with the technology.”

In driving the growth of mobile payments, IDC says financial institutions should view them as an opportunity to leverage the information they possess on their customers’ shopping habits and demographic characteristics.

This could include financial institutions implementing targeted marketing and reward programmes as a supplement to regular loyalty programmes, IDC said, in addition to incorporating their cards into NFC and mobile wallets to capitalise on the growth of m-commerce and NFC proximity payments.

2 Quick and Easy Local and Mobile Holiday Marketing Ideas

If you want to attract more shoppers to your store this holiday season, then I’ve got 2 holiday marketing ideas for you.

That’s right, my friends at Pitney Bowes asked me to create two videos to help small businesses implement local marketing strategies this holiday season and I’m going to share them with you below.

The good news is that both of these holiday marketing ideas can be put into action quickly and easily, making them viable tactics for this year’s holiday season.

Both ideas focus on mobile marketing which is handy because the use of mobile devices while shopping continues to be astrongly growing trend.

And, if you’re worried that it’s too late to implement new marketing strategies for this holiday season, the good news is that both of these holiday marketing ideas can be put into action quickly and easily, making them viable tactics for this year’s holiday season.

So grab the eggnog and watch the two videos below. Both reveal step-by-step actions for you to take to increase both your traffic and sales this holiday season.

Build and Market a Stand-Alone Mobile Website

This year, there’s a great holiday marketing tool to add to your arsenal and it’s called a mobile website.

Why build a mobile website? Here are some great reasons:

  • Two out of three Americans have the ability to browse the Internet while away from their home which means that they can make buying decisions and look for places to shop while on the go;
  • 39% of mobile users use their device to send messages to a business to get more information and you do not want to miss the opportunity to receive those messages; and
  • A whopping 84% of surveyed small businesses with a stand-alone mobile website have seen an increase in new business as a result.

The step-by-step video below will help you get your mobile site up-and-running for this holiday season.

Note: for best results, view the video full-screen by clicking the two outward-facing arrows below the video and to the right after clicking the play button.

[vimeo w=500&h=281]

Tool used: pbSmart™ Mobile

The 12 Days of Christmas – A QR Code Marketing Plan

What can you do to get customers to pay attention to you this holiday season and visit your store to buy presents? Here’s a useful idea that uses QR codes.

Using an app on a smart phone, a QR code is scanned by the camera and can take you to a mobile site with a coupon for your store. Using QR codes, I’m going to show you how to run a very specific type of marketing campaign called, “The 12 Days of Christmas – A QR Code Marketing Plan”.

Note: for best results, view the video full-screen by clicking the two outward-facing arrows below the video and to the right after clicking the play button.

[vimeo w=500&h=281]

What’s working in mobile advertising — and what might work in the future

Even as usage of mobile devices explodes, spending on mobile ads still lags spending on online ads by a huge margin. Will that gap narrow anytime soon? Here’s a look at some of the strategies that mobile marketers are using.

mobile advertising, Millennial Media

As Mary Meeker, the Queen of the Internet, made clear earlier this year, mobile is on the wrong side of a monetization gap. While consumers are spending more and more time on mobile devices, advertising revenue there is still lagging well behind traditional online — some $30 billion was spent in online advertising last year in the U.S. vs. $1.6 billion for mobile ads. Ad rates on mobile are 5 times lower than on desktop.

Mobile AdvertisingAdvertisers are expected to chase the eyeballs to mobile, though to what extent and how quickly is unclear. Mobile presents particular challenges for advertisers because they don’t have the same retargeting tools (like cookies) that they have online, the screens are smaller, and ads have the potential to be more intrusive than on the desktop. For now, marketers are spending more on ads for smartphones than for tablets, because more people own the former than the latter. But some of the metrics suggest that tablets may have better monetization potential. Click-through rates for the iPad, for example, are twice that of the iPhone, according to Inneractive, a mobile ad exchange, and thus the ad rates are also higher for the iPad.

Whether mobile ads ever catch up to online advertising in revenue will have huge ramifiations for big companies like Facebook, Twitter and Pandora whose audiences are rapidly shifting to mobile devices. Currently, the sectors that spend the most on mobile advertising are telecommunications, retail and restaurants, automotive, finance and education, according to Millennial Media. Many brands, however, are still just experimenting with mobile and are spending a very small percentage of their ad budget there.

Here’s a look at the main categories of mobile advertising, as well as some emerging strategies that publishers and developers are banking on to help close the monetization gap.

Search advertising

emarketer, mobile advertisingStill the big dog in mobile advertising, bringing in about half of all mobile ad spending. That is likely to continue as consumers turn to their smartphones as a research tool while on the go. As Google pointed out, the smartphone is often the first step in a longer research process that continues on a tablet or computer. Mobile search is also valuable for advertisers because most consumers are very intent-driven when they search on a mobile phone and are likely to complete a task after searching.

Google said that 9 out of 10 mobile searches by users have resulted in an action such as a purchase or a visit to a business. While Google, which pretty much owns this category, can obviously benefit from growing mobile search, local search engines like AroundMe and location-based services like Foursquare may also see a lift. The rise of mobile apps may also threaten Google as more consumers get their mobile queries answered through a dedicated application.

  • Amount forecast to be spent in the U.S. in 2012: $1.28 billion*
  • Companies with the most revenue: Google (95 percent of the market).

Rich media and video ads

Medialets, rich media mobile advertisingThese offer advertisers an often pricey way to take over a screen and give consumers what can be a more immersive experience. Advertisers can use video, animation, photo galleries and interactive elements, which can make mobile advertising more akin to a TV commercial or a slick magazine. Opera Software, the mobile browser company,reported in July that users who clicked on a rich media ad spent an average of 52 seconds viewing a video and 1 min and 25 seconds interacting with photos. Opera noted that advertisers have started using rich media and video ads more frequently this year than traditional banner ads.

  • Amount forecast to be spent in the U.S. in 2012: $647.1 million*
  • Companies with the most revenue: Apple iAd, Medialets, Crisp, Celtra

Banner display ads

Mobile advertisingSome of the most popular ad units in mobile are banner display adds, but in terms of ad spending, they were eclipsed by search ads last year. Display ads are still very prominent, in part because advertisers can buy in standard formats, like they’re used to doing online. But the units are problematic on small screens because they cantrigger more accidental clicks.

And if advertisers keep the banners small to avoid turning off users, then they can run into another problem — namely that they’re harder to make engaging and thus easier for readers to ignore. A traditional online banner ad may fetch $3 to $5 for every thousand impressions, which is still a lot more than mobile banner ads, which receive $1 or less on a smartphone, the New York Times reported. Banner ads won’t fade overnight but they are losing favor with advertisers. Opera Software said that static and expandable banners went from 66 percent of ads in January of this year to 36 percent in June.

  • Amount forecast to be spent in the U.S. in 2012: $457.5 million*
  • Companies with the most revenue: Pandora, Google, Twitter, Millennial Media, Apple and Facebook

Those are the major mobile ad types that are growing. Below, are some other formats where the spending is smaller but that publishers and developers have high hopes for.

Location-based advertising

Location-based mobile advertisingOne of the most promising parts of mobile advertising because it leverages the mobility of smartphones and tablets. But the early efforts have been slower to take off, in part because ads delivered via geo-fencing or proximity don’t necessarily catch people at a time when they want to act or don’t factor in a person’s preferences. Providers like Sense, JiWire and WHERE are getting smarter about mixing location data with behavioral profiles to deliver more relevant ads to people.

Companies like Waze, a crowd-sourced navigation app, and Roximity, which hooks into in-car entertainment systems, are showing how drivers can also be targeted with location-based ads in their car. There is a danger in being too pushy with location-based ads, and creeping out users who don’t know their location is being tracked. BIA/Kelsey forecast that U.S. mobile local ads, based on a user’s location, will grow from $664 million in 2011 to $5.8 billion in 2016.

  • Early leaders: JiWire, WHERE, Sense Networks

Native advertising

Facebook, mobile adsThe latest rage for companies like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Unlike with standard ad units, publishers help advertisers create messages and content that work within the flow of their platforms. By using the existing units of content, like a tweet or update, advertisers have an organic way to advertise through mobile that is harder to ignore.

Facebook said it now gets 14 percent of all of its revenue via mobile sponsored stories and install ads, which appear right in the news steam of its mobile apps and website. EMarketer estimated thatTwitter would make $129.7 million in mobile advertising this year, more than Facebook. The challenge with native advertising is that it can be hard to replicate across different publications and often requires more work to cater to each platform.

  • Early leaders: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr


There are some other approaches that show that it’s not just about placing a basic ad somewhere in an app or website. Kiip (see disclosure below) rewards people after achievements and milestones during games and apps. Pontiflex lets people sign up to receive ads and offers from brands they select. Appssavvy allows advertisers to place ads alongside activities inside apps and websites. Tapjoy helps people earn in-app rewards for watching videos, installing apps or subscribing to services. Conduit is creating lock-screens for Android devices that can be branded and potentially carry advertising.

*figures from eMarketer

Disclosure: True Ventures is an investor in Kiip and the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

Building the Case for a Mobile Marketing Strategy

Working with mobile

No matter what business or industry you’re in, when you hear predictions like Microsoft Tag’s stating that by 2014 mobile Internet should take over desktop internet usage, it’s clear that mobile is significantly changing the online landscape for everyone – B2B and B2C companies alike. 

 Even if you are excited and ready to start forming a mobile strategy, odds are that you’ll still need to prove the point to someone else in your company that mobile does indeed need to be part of your 2013 strategy.

We’ve compiled some convincing facts and stats that will help you get the rest of your team on board and make mobile a part of your 2013 plans:

Mobile Internet usage has reached a tipping point:

A majority of American adults with cell phones are now using them to go online, and within that group, 31 percent use their phones for the majority of their Internet use. (Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project)

Your target audience likely uses mobile Internet:

Age groups with high levels of cell phone Internet usage include adults 18-24 (75% of cell owners in this age group use their phones to go online) and ages 35-44 (68% of cell owners in this age group use their phones to go online). (Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project)

Mobile traffic is growing significantly:

Mobile phones and tablets now account for 1 in 8 Internet page views in the U.S. (Source: ComScore)

Mobile search is growing too:

One in seven searches happens on a mobile phone. (Source: Google)

Mobile users expect high-functioning mobile optimized web experiences:

Mobile users do not have much patience for retrying a website or application that is not functioning initially — a third will go to a competitor’s site instead. The majority of mobile web users are only willing to retry a website (78%) or application (80%) two times or less if it does not work initially. (Source: Gomez)

While these stats will help frame the growing importance of mobile, it also helps to pull some of your own stats. There are two simple ways to show that this trend applies to your brand too:

  1. In Google Analytics or your preferred site analytics platform compare mobile traffic to your site from Q3 in 2010, 2011 and 2012. We bet that whether you are B2B or B2C, you’ll be surprised by the change.
  2. Take a look at the number of leads, customers and prospects who have viewed your recent emails on a mobile browser compared to two years ago. Again, the numbers here will be telling.

And if at any point someone in the group you’re trying to convince of the importance of mobile starts to look at their phone, you can stop stop, take a picture and end your argument there. It’s a simple illustration, but it proves your point: mobile matters now, it’s here to stay and it needs to be part of your business and marketing plans.

Seven ways to keep the mobile search experience fresh

And with each upgraded device that comes out, the design geniuses at Apple, Microsoft, and others have added cool new features and enhanced graphics to improve usability.

With the never-ending array of changes, updates and improvements, e-commerce marketers are under great pressure to make sure their mobile websites not only overcome the challenges of browsing on small devices but that they also take advantage of all the capabilities available.

Site search is typically the key way mobile users look for products and content, and because site search users typically convert at a higher rate, it’s important to constantly update and enhance mobile site search to maximize performance.

Here are some insights into how to make mobile sites more search-friendly, taken from our “Big Book of Site Search Tips:

Put the spotlight on the search box

The search box should be easy to find on any regular website, but an easy-to-find search box is even more crucial on a mobile site. Display it prominently at the top of the mobile webpage – in fact, it should be one of the most obvious features on the page. Boden highlights the search box on its mobile home page.

Auto complete saves time

When you save mobile shoppers time and clicks, you help them get to products faster (and minimize errors). Auto Complete is a great feature because it suggests terms when visitors start typing the first letters of a keyword, and helps your mobile customers find what they want with less typing.

You can show the possible terms in a drop-down menu to save space on the mobile screen, and ranking the terms by the most popular keywords can further increase clickthroughs.

You should also consider bumping up the usability of this feature with Rich Auto Complete, which displays the name, image, description and price for the most relevant products within search results – although keep in mind that this may slow down performance to load the accompanying pictures.

Make refinements expandable

Refinements are a must for mobile users as they make it easier to narrow down results. On a standard website there’s a lot more room to play with – you can put refinements on the left-hand side of the screen or at the top.

On a mobile screen, however, it makes more sense to show expanding lists of refinements to save space. These can be displayed with JavaScript, so they expand immediately when the user clicks on them.

SockShop does this with arrows that display available refinements as shoppers click on each choice.

Take a cue from Facebook

Add infinite scrolling: Infinite scrolling of search results is another way to reduce typing and keystrokes, because when visitors get near the end of the page, more results are loaded automatically, creating an endless scroll.

Localise site search results

Your customers love to seeing localised information that can be provided based on a device’s GPS tracking. You can do this with search results, either through the GPS information or by allowing shoppers to enter their address or postal code as they search so they only see results that are relevant to their location.

This feature can drive mobile shoppers to your physical stores where they can see, touch and experience products up close. You can take it a step further by including merchandising banners on search results pages to highlight promotions or special offers in the visitor’s specific region.

Point QR codes to search results

Mobile shoppers like to use QR codes to take advantage of promotional offers and get more information about products. QR codes that point to mobile search landing pages can help you increase engagement with customers and promote specific brands.

Such codes can also help jump-start the search process and encourage mobile users to dig deeper into your product catalogue.

Use keyword-specific banners to drive more interest

When mobile customers search for a brand name or product that is on sale, or if you have new arrivals you want to showcase, include a keyword-driven banner at the top of the search results page to highlight that promotion – and drive more clicks.

Above all else, you need to keep testing mobile search options and monitoring mobile visitor behavior so that you know what’s working and not working on your mobile site. Change is a constant in the m-commerce world, so you need move fast to keep things fresh and engage with your on-the-go fans.

Five Things Marketers Should Know About Apple Passbook

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock during the last couple months, you know that Appleannounced the new iPhone 5 back on September 12, 2012. On this date, Apple also rolled out its latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, which came chock full of new features like enhanced Siri, new 3D maps and deeper integration with social networks Twitter and Facebook.

Arguably, the most important new feature to arrive on iOS 6 was something calledPassbook, which allows marketers to provide coupons, tickets, loyalty cards and more, all in one place on the iPhone or iPad.

For anyone that is interested in a deeper dive, thePassbook Developer kit is a great resource. Assuming that the rest of you are like me and just want the Readers Digest version for marketers, here is the good stuff:

1) The real power behind Passbook, and the most important reason any marketer should consider it, is that for iPhone and iPad users who have upgraded to iOS 6, it is the killer location-based app.

What I mean by that is that if you can encourage a customer to accept a coupon, ticket, loyalty card or pass from you a single time, you have ongoing permission to communicate with them/provide value as long as they have that item in their Passbook.

2) Because Passbook comes pre-loaded on iOS 6 (on the homescreen, to boot), it is impossible not to see. It’s also impossible to delete the app.

And while you can delete items from your Passbook, the user has to flip the item over and then find the delete button in the top left corner. It’s one of the few times that a non-intuitive user interface is helpful to the marketer.

3) While the Passbook functionality integrates nicely with mobile apps, thanks to an easy-to-use API (download the American Airlines, Target or Eventbrite apps for examples), the benefit here is that you can also deliver passes via e-mail or the Web, ensuring that almost anybody can use Passbook.

Speaking of anybody using Passbook, there are several sites that allow one to build their own Passbook functionality — DIY sites like Passdock, and Tello’s PassTools.

4) As mentioned in bullet one, tapping into the location-aware capabilities of Passbook is one of the more powerful aspects of the app. This allows marketers to message customers when they are in store or near a particular location.

Unlike foursquare and other location-based services (LBS), the customer only needs to activate an item once in Passbook to allow for ongoing messaging. Passbook is also date-aware, so it can be triggered on holidays/certain days of the week, as appropriate.

5) And finally, an ability to customize the items within Passbook to include messaging, barcodes, QR codes and other scannable formats allows for the proper connectivity of Passbook with most point of sale (POS) systems.

While Apple Passbook is good now, I can only imagine that it will get better in time. Over the next few months, I will keep readers of Marketing Land updated on the latest and greatest functionality.

Have you seen any great uses of Passbook? If so, please include links in the comments.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Mobile Marketing & Measurement Snapshot: Google & ClickZ Insights

Mobile has become an integrated part of the marketing mix and is no longer an add-on to campaigns. In fact, it’s the central focus for a growing number of marketers, 87 percent of whom are planning to increase their emphasis on mobile in 2013.

Google Analytics are making mobile measurement their focus going into the next year, says Product Marketing Manager Adam Singer. His team has just released the results of a recent research project on the mobile marketing opportunity by Google Analytics and ClickZ.

Their joint research is being dissected on-stage at SES Chicago, as Singer sits on a panel alongside Search Engine Watch Director Jonathan Allen and comScore’s Director of Mobile, Diran Hafiz. Melanie White, Special Projects Editor from ClickZ, is moderating the session.

“We know marketers want simple tools that help them seamlessly integrate mobile into their marketing and measurement, and that’s our focus,” Singer wrote in the blog post summarizing their findings.

Marketers are interested in mobile measurement across the lifespan of an app, Google found. They examined the mobile app metrics marketers indicated they are most interested in:


Most of these metrics are available within the Google Analytics Mobile App, released in June, Singer noted.

Over the next year, marketers plan to use a mix of mobile tactics, the study found: 52 percent plan to create a mobile- or tablet-optimized website 48 percent plan to increase engagement in mobile advertising 41 percent hope to develop a mobile app 39 percent are planning to market a mobile app

Despite the growing interest in mobile, many marketers struggle to capitalize on the opportunity; 59 percent of those surveyed consider themselves either novice or inexperienced in measuring mobile. Organizations that invest in training and education today have an opportunity to come out ahead of the curve tomorrow, said Singer.

Google and ClickZ found that: 58 percent of marketers are currently accountable for mobile metrics, and more than one-third are already sharing internal dashboards to show mobile marketing results. 53 percent of marketers who analyzed their mobile metrics say there is a lot of untapped opportunity and plan to increase their mobile spending. Tools, technologies and talent are in demand: 68 percent of marketers plan to increase technology and ad investments, 32 percent in talent.

“Mobile’s role in marketing is becoming a central part of integrated campaigns and will only continue to grow. Effective measurement across mobile sites, ads and apps will help marketers create winning strategies,” Singer wrote.

These latest insights from Google Analytics come on the heels of their late October Universal Analytics announcement, in which Group Product Manager Manav Mishra explained enhanced new analytics capabilities for enterprise-level Premium or API clients. Universal Analytics tools are made possible by Google’s new Measurement Protocol API and are currently in beta.

Stay tuned to and find us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest news from SES Chicago.