Villing & Company

Wake Up and Smell the Mobile Advertising

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I recently read an article featured in Adweek that cited some alarming statistics. It said that only half of brands have websites that are optimized for mobile screens and that nearly a quarter spend less than 10 percent of their advertising budget on mobile. Why are those stats alarming? The article gives the answer – 80 percent of customers now make purchases on their phones.

This highlights a disconnect between brands and customers. Should advertising be on the customer’s terms or those of the brand? If the answer is the customer, brands need to do a better job of listening.

It may seem like mobile connectivity has been around for a while. In reality, the ability to purchase items and browse the internet from one’s phone is relatively new. However, it has certainly changed the game for marketers in a short period of time. So much so, that it has become almost a necessity for brands to have websites that are optimized for mobile screens. That’s why the statistics above alarm me somewhat.

Brands need to understand the desires of consumers. Increasingly, those consumers are adopting mobile-first web browsing habits. If brands are unsure of how to meet those needs, they need to learn quickly.

On top of that, marketers must also consider the added emphasis that Google has placed on mobile sites in their search engine algorithm. Dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” the algorithm update drastically changed search-engine marketing strategies. This article from Search Engine Land does a good job of explaining the particulars.

Before I go any further, please do not mistake this post as an anti-traditional advertising proclamation. Traditional advertising – print, TV and direct mail, among others – can still be major parts of your advertising budget. My point is not to do away with those.

Rather, what I’m saying is that, for most marketers, mobile advertising should probably be part of the advertising puzzle. In fact, it might even need to be the biggest part. To decide that, marketers will need to have strategic discussions about where their brand is currently, and where their specific target audience spends their time. My point is this – the time has long since passed when you could simply ignore mobile.

Even if your brand does not explicitly sell products or services online, you should still have strategic discussions about where mobile fits into your budget. On top of the statistics I cited earlier, consider the following data. According to Social Media Today, “88 percent of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.” eMarketer estimates that “mobile will account for 72% of US digital ad spend by 2019.” Your audience is undoubtedly spending more and more time using a mobile device. If that’s where they are spending their time, your brand needs to find a way to interact with them there.

At the very least, you need to have a website that is mobile-friendly. If your content does not display correctly on a mobile screen, you risk alienating your target audience.

It goes back to something I discussed in another recent blog – remember that we're marketing to real people. Brands need to have an understanding of the real concerns and needs those people have. There also needs to be an understanding of how and where they want to interact with your brand.

That’s what I mean when I say that advertising should be on the customer’s terms. If you advertise in a way or on a medium that doesn’t fit with your customer’s habits, it will come across as annoying or ineffective.

But if marketers can understand where their customers spend their time and how those customers want to interact with the brand, advertising strategy can be specifically targeted towards them. At this point, advertising basically becomes giving your audience what they want. They’ll interact with brands – it just needs to be on their terms.

So don’t do away with traditional advertising. But it might be time to have discussions about where mobile advertising specifically fits into your advertising budget. Your target audience is waiting for you.

Filed Under: Advertising, Web

Villing & Company

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