How Small Businesses Can Increase Revenue With Mobile Advertising

by Benjamin Gran

Mobile advertising is one of the fastest growing categories of marketing, driven by more people using smartphones and tablets to access the web. According to stats cited in an article in Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, 57% of Americans use their smartphones every day for searches and 58% of Americans with smartphones enjoy using mobile ads that offer coupons or special deals.

Marketers are catching on. A recent study by eMarketer found that global spending on mobile ads increased 105% during 2013, reaching $17.96 billion, and is expected to grow to $31.45 billion in 2014, representing nearly 25% of all digital ad spending.

Many people think of mobile ads as only being for big brands with big budgets. But companies of all sizes can capitalize on the opportunities of mobile ads. There are many ways for companies to get started, but it requires a thoughtful strategy to make sure you get the most out of your mobile ad spending.

Clarify Your Goals

Before you get started with mobile advertising, it’s important to take a big picture approach to how mobile ads fit into your overall marketing strategy. What types of consumers do you want to reach? How is your business’s value proposition able to translate into a mobile-specific format?

Frederick Stallings, Senior Director of Mobile Product Strategy at Collective, a multi-screen advertising technology company in New York, said he encourages small business owners to base their mobile strategy on what type of consumer behavior they want to promote.

"If you want a customer to order more food, then partner with a company like Seamless or GrubHub or Belly that drives loyalty through purchase incentives," says Stallings. "If you want your consumer to expand their use of your product set, then message them through e-mail, social, or text opportunities that highlight the value you can bring them.

"Mobile is about empowering the consumer to be faster, smarter, and wiser through your information."

Choose a Platform

There are various platforms for mobile ads, such as Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. These sites sell mobile ads to advertisers, which deliver the ads to websites. Company managers must research which mobile ad platform or platforms to advertise on. This decision will depend on which types of consumers they are trying to reach.

Businesses can also hire a mobile ad agency to offer advice on overall strategy and help coordinate the process of creating and placing mobile ads.

“You can set out to advertise on your own, or you can hire an agency to professionally manage your advertising and eliminate having to learn the different advertising platforms which may be the best suited to reach your target market,” says Alex Parker, CEO of Brand Strategix, an Internet marketing agency based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Parker says that from his clients’ experience, the three platforms that are easiest to use are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. “With those three platforms, once you learn one of the platforms, you have learned them all for the most part,” he says.

One of the most popular platforms for mobile ads is Google AdWords. Mike Whaling, founder and president of 30 Lines, a digital marketing agency in Columbus, Ohio, says that Google is a great place to start with mobile ads, because AdWords mobile ads can be easily targeted by location, device, and even time of day.

"For instance," Whaling says, "if you’re a real estate agent hosting an open house on Sunday afternoon, you can target that neighborhood with an ad on Sunday morning that includes a link potential customers can click to get directions."

Create Effective Mobile Ads

Once you know where you want to run your mobile ads, it’s time to start creating them. One advantage of mobile is that it’s often easier for small businesses to create their own ads, unlike traditional print ads or TV ads that required a bigger budget and more creative development.

Some of the most common types of mobile ads include inline text ads within articles, banners appearing along the tops and sides of webpages, video ads, and in-app advertising. Some mobile ads are more complex than others — making a video ad, even if it’s a few seconds long, requires more knowledge and effort than making a simple text ad. But most mobile ad platforms offer guidance and specifications to help companies create their own.

“For those who are managing their own advertising, mobile ads are quite easy to create after you get the hang of it,” says Parker of Brand Strategix.

A few tips for creating effective mobile ads include: keep it concise, include a call to action, and use geo-targeting to pinpoint the exact geographic locations where your audience lives, works and shops. Don’t forget that mobile ads are often seen by people who are literally mobile. Create ads with this in mind.

"With mobile ads, it’s important to make sure the copy and call to action are in line with what people do when they’re out and about," says Whaling.

If your company is unsure of how to create your own mobile ads, or if you’ve tried it already and have been frustrated with the results, it might be beneficial to hire an outside agency to help — and there are a variety of options for budget of all sizes.

“The creation of mobile ads can be incredibly easy. To be groundbreaking though, is another challenge,” says Stallings. “Most ad networks will accept standard image-based creative, though the ability of these types of ads to drive consumer response has been under fire for quite some time.”

Measure Mobile Ad Performance

One of the biggest advantages of mobile ads is that they make it possible for companies to see a variety of performance metrics. This makes it easier to figure out which of your mobile ads are delivering a solid ROI — and even decide which ads should be expanded to a wider audience.

“Typically, all the metrics you need to know the details for in regards to your campaign are included within the reporting features of all the major advertising platforms,” says Parker.

These include cost per click, cost per thousand impressions and impressions. These metrics will determine when ads are working and should be turned off, and aren't working and you should heighten the bid on an advertisement.

Carly Fauth, head of marketing for Money Crashers, suggests also using third party metrics analysis to get added insight into the performance of your mobile ads.

"Google's Mobile Value Track and Omni Measurement Solutions are two options for tracking the results of mobile advertising," said Fauth. "Some other metrics that make the most sense to track are the number of visitors, conversion rate, the activation rate of the app, and bounce rate."

Another factor to keep in mind with mobile ads is testing. You can easily run multiple versions of the same ad to see which version works best. Understanding mobile ad metrics will help guide the overall direction of your mobile ad campaigns, help you get better results and learn as you go.

Mobile ads are likely to become an even more important part of the online marketing world as more consumers become accustomed to using smartphones as their primary Internet-enabled device. These insights can help you get ahead of the curve and take your company’s mobile ad efforts to the next level of success.


About This Author

Benjamin Gran is a full-time freelance writer specializing in blog articles, white papers, technical writing, speech writing and other business writing.


Cash Flow Challenges

Insights on the top cash flow challenges business owners are facing today.
Browse All Articles »

Sign Up Now

Receive an email with featured articles and valuable insights for today’s business owners.
Subscribe »

Start Your Cash Flow Conversation

Give us a call at 1-855-762-2365 or fill out our simple form and a PNC Business Banking representative will get in touch with you.
Request a Contact »

Important Legal Disclosures and Information

Yahoo! Small Business Advisor – 3 Ways Mobile Advertising Can Be Effective:

PNC is a registered mark of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”). This article has been prepared for general information purposes by the author who is solely responsible for its contents. The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of PNC or any of its affiliates, directors, officers or employees. This article is not intended to provide legal, tax or accounting advice or to suggest that you engage in any specific transaction, including with respect to any securities of PNC, and does not purport to be comprehensive. Under no circumstances should any information contained in the presentation, the webinar or the materials presented be used or considered as an offer or commitment, or a solicitation of an offer or commitment, to participate in any particular transaction or strategy or should it be considered legal or tax advice. Any reliance upon any such information is solely and exclusively at your own risk. Please consult your own counsel, accountant or other advisor regarding your specific situation. Neither PNC Bank nor any other subsidiary of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., will be responsible for any consequences of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained here, or any omission.  Banking and lending products and services, bank deposit products, and Treasury Management products and services for healthcare providers and payers are provided by PNC Bank, National Association, a wholly owned subsidiary of PNC and Member FDIC. Lending and leasing products and services, including card services and merchant services, as well as certain other banking products and services, may require credit approval.