How the Rise of Mobile is Changing Advertising

mobile advertising

This is a guest post by Jessica Oaks

Are desktops dead? Not quite, but they’re certainly making their way into a hospice at a good clip thanks to the mega boost in tablet sales that defined the 2013 holiday season.

It wasn’t just the change in buying habits that was abrupt – consumption habits and devices were changing, too, and fast. Suddenly browsing, shopping, watching movies, checking email and playing games on a device roughly the size of a hardback novel was the norm because tablets were ultra affordable.

And there’s no stopping the trend. Analysts at Gartner, an American information technology research and advisory firm, have predicted that tablets and smartphones will outsell both ultramobiles and traditional laptop and desktops PCs worldwide by 2017.

But to come back to the present, 2014 is predicted to be the year of mobile. In the US, mobile sales are driving more than 20% of total online revenue and mobile traffic accounts for 25% of total traffic to retail sites. Mobile payment apps are poised to make plastic obsolete.

The ‘mobile first’ mentality of development is slowly but surely altering the way we interact with information even when we’re not using a mobile device. And the way we interact with brands is changing, which is driving transformations in how businesses and advertisers market to their online audience.

Here are some examples of ways advertising is changing or needs to change to adapt to an increasingly mobile world.

Advertising or Content?

Mobile banner ads are still around but if Facebook has shown us anything it’s that integrating marketing messages into the content stream is a wise strategy – so expect to see more targeted pitches appearing as part of feeds, Facebook or otherwise.

The Rise of the Short

Thanks to major player like Samsung, Google and Lenovo that produce a myriad of tablets and mobile devices, email marketing is thriving among companies who’ve actively changed how they deliver customer updates. That means not only formatting email newsletters for mobile, but also keeping the message short, punchy and did I mention short? Recipients reading on mobile want marketers to get to the point.

Moving Beyond Push Media

Switching between apps is so easy that if you’re not capturing your mobile demographic’s attention on the first try you’re sunk. Successful mobile advertising means delivering an engaging experience that is as entertaining as it is informative. Think videos, mini games and other super shareable assets.

Optimize or Die

Brands that were slow to optimize for mobile where their advertising was concerned need to get on board the bandwagon now because they’re likely already losing potential customers. The good news is that putting in the effort to give mobile users the best possible experience is worth it – people who use tablets are more easily engaged, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Try, Try Again

Right now consumers are in charge of what they see on tablets and smartphones, making effective advertising tricky. There’s no perfect formula for attracting eyeballs and no proven strategies for keeping them glued… yet.

Until then, marketers targeting mobile will need to do plenty of A/B testing to figure out what’s working and what’s not, then adjust as necessary. End user research is going to be incredibly important moving forward.

Way back in 2012, Tim Elkington, director of research and strategy at IAB, said: “…marketers are becoming more attuned to the ‘always on’ nature of consumers who expect to engage with content wherever they are. Consequently, advertisers are increasingly buying integrated campaigns across online and mobile rather than regarding mobile as an afterthought”. Now, digital marketing analysis firm eMarketer expects ad spending on the channel to nearly double in 2014 to almost £2.26 billion.

If that figure has left you feeling a bit breathless, it’s probably time to go take a good long look at your mobile ad strategy – before it’s too late.

Jessica Oaks is a freelance writer and associate editor at You can follow her on Twitter or circle her on Google+.

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Posted by Paul Sutton

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