Mobile Marketing: From Clickable to Tappable Ads

by Wendy Kam Marcy on March 4, 2013 · 0 comments

Early February Google announced that they were consolidating mobile and desktop ads in their Enhanced Campaign feature. This comes as no surprise in a world of increasing connectivity. Now more than ever, advertisers need to integrate mobile-friendly ads into their online marketing campaigns.

Here are some supporting stats from KISSmetrics:

  • 20% of web traffic comes from a smartphone or tablet, and we can expect a steady surge as mobile overtakes desktop this year.
  • Mentioning a city or location in a mobile ad can lift CTR by 200%.
  • Attention spans are 2 seconds longer on a mobile device where users are willing to wait 5 seconds for a page to load as opposed to 3 seconds for desktop.

Yes, we get it… Mobile is taking over! So exactly how do we make the transition from a clickable to a tappable ad? Here are three main differences to consider:

1) Cleaner Creative

Ditch the mentality that what worked for traditional display ads can just be transferred into a smaller scale. Mobile ads are all about simplicity, bright contrasting colours and large prominent buttons that can easily be tapped, even by the fattest fingers. Ad copy should be kept to 3-5 words and as a result of this short but concise messaging, CTR is typically 2-5% higher on mobile. Mobile, rich-media ads are also more powerful than traditional web ads but be mindful of bandwidth and loading times.

Examples of good mobile banners:

Note all these banners have a strong call to action, minimal graphics and focuses only on one main feature or benefit.

Examples of poor mobile banners:

These banners are either cluttered with copy or don’t offer enough information to entice users to tap. In the case of Hobby Lobby, they even used incorrect terminology by saying “click now for coupon” instead of “tap now”. Meanwhile, the choice of blotchy colour on the Radisson banner will just end up blending into the background of most sites.

2) Location Targeting

This is where mobile ads really show their targeting strength over desktop. Advertisers now have the ability to precisely zone in and market to their customers and prospects via IP, postal/zip code and radius from an address. SMBs can take advantage of local-based targeting abilities by offering walk-in specials and time-sensitive discounts. Generally ads (outside of Facebook) that are targeted locally are text-based since local is heavily reliant on search.

With that said, there is also a downside to location-based targeting. Pinpointing a specific area may limit your reach to those who are outside your designated radius. Timing is also key. If you are a restaurant owner, it is critical to advertise before and during peak lunch and dinner hours so your ads are relevant and highly targeted toward the hungry crowd. Having your ad show up at 9am as someone is on their way to the office may not be as effective. So start small, use dayparting and expand your radius accordingly as you test and optimize for the best results.

Examples of good location-based banner and text ads:

Mc Donalds can show their ads to anyone with a mobile device who is within a 1 mile radius of their restaurants and offer them a discount on their sandwiches. Same goes for CWS Baseball Parking, they already know where all their baseball fans will be, so they can easily reach them by showing ads around the stadium. Mentioning the city or a specific venue will also help lift CTR.

Examples of poor location-based banner and text ads:

What are these ads about?! Localization is pointless if your ads don’t deliver compelling messages with a clear call to action. The Jenks banner is a good example of an advertiser trying to fit too many details about a Home Show into very little space.

3) More Platforms

With display ads, advertisers are limited to targeting by browser types. With mobile, there is a whole new world of opportunities as you can target by device, operating system and browser type. Having these extra options, allows us to gather more demographic intel. According to Nielsen Mobile Insights, We also know smartphone users in the US compared to those with feature phones are generally more tech savvy, younger and have an annual household income over $100,000. This infograph by Hunch (whether it’s for real or entertainment) further breaks it down by Android vs. iOS.

Examples of luxury ads and text ads targeted specifically to different devices:

Luxury brands like Grey Goose and Trump Hotels may want to allocate more spend on iOS users as they are deemed to be more affluent and likely to have the disposable income to spend on premium beverages and vacations. Meanwhile, companies that make protective cases, apps and games can now strategically market to the appropriate devices.

With the granular intel we are now capable of gathering, advertisers can have more control over who sees their ads, be more strategic in allocating their marketing budget and ultimately convert those taps into conversions. It’s definitely an exciting time for mobile advertising! I believe even at its infancy, mobile has drastically changed the way we now interact and connect with each other and our customers… the real potential, however is still yet to be tapped.


Wendy Kam Marcy has been working in the online marketing and advertising industry for 7 years on both the corporate and agency side. Plugged in, she is the Marketing Manager for Unplugged, she’s a foodie, globetrotter, amateur photographer and cupcake eater. Got a question? Tweet @wendykammarcy or @whatrunswhere.

Credit: Sample banner and texts ads courtesy of Mobile Intel Tool.

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