Tag: Mobile Display Ad

Mobile Display Ads: An In-Depth Guide on Using Mobile Ads to Drive Prospects to Your Business

Image of mobile display ad post

Are you interested in using mobile display ads to drive more prospects to your business? If so, then check out the post below. In it, we discuss some of the techniques we used in a mobile display ad campaign we developed for Holiday Inn.

Image of mobile display ad campaign

Laying the Foundation for a Successful Mobile Display Ad Campaign

You probably know a good bit about mobile marketing and mobile display ads already. If not, let’s do a quick review of some of the key concepts you should be familiar with:

  • Responsive Design: By now, you should have a mobile website for your business. If you do, the odds are pretty good that you used responsive design so that the site changes format based on the size of the screen. If not, get your agency working on a responsive mobile website right away. (To see responsive design in action, drag your browser screen down to the size of a smartphone. You’ll see how our site responds to the different screen sizes.)
  • Mobile Display Ads: There are two key concepts to keep in mind with mobile display ads. The first is rich media and the second is secondary action rate. Rich media incorporates audio, video, gifs or other technology to engage people with your ads. Secondary action rate is the rate at which people engage with your ads and is a greater predictor of success than even your click through rate. (For more information about secondary action rate, read this post on the 60 Second Marketer website.)
  • QR Codes: Yeah, right. Skip ’em.
  • Mobile Paid Search: This is one of the easiest ways to get started in mobile marketing. That said, the days of printing money with paid search are over. Today, paid search is simply another channel that can be used to drive traffic to your site — mobile or otherwise.
  • SMS: Surprisingly, this is the mobile technology that takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Plenty of businesses are using SMS quite effectively. It may not be as sexy as a geo-located, rich media online display ad that uses shopper data to target only customers of your competitor’s products, but it’s still a good tool.
  • Location-Based Marketing: The location-based marketing category was invented by apps like Foursquare, SCVNGR, Yelp and other tools. That said, location is a key component of just about any mobile ad campaign, whether you’re using Foursquare or any of the other tools on this page.
  • Mobile Apps: Want to know the truth about mobile apps? They’re great for customer retention, not so much for customer acquisition. That’s not to say they can’t be used for some customer acquisition, but we always recommend using the tools above for acquisition and using apps for retention.

Okay, now that we’ve covered some of the key concepts, let’s drill down a little more into the mobile display options.

Mobile Display Ad Creative Options

Here are some of the rich media creative options you have available to you when you run a mobile display ad campaign. (Side note: It’s always best to experience these rather than read about them. If you’d like to do that, visit this page on the Celtra website, which has some really excellent examples of just about every form of mobile advertising creative):

  • Click-to-Expand: With this format, the mobile user clicks on an ad to expand to a larger unit and stays expanded until user closes the ad.
  • Auto Expand: This unit delivers a sneak peek of the ad for about one second, then shrinks back to the traditional 320 x 50 banner ad size.
  • Data Collection: This ad unit leverages polls and quizzes to collect email addresses.
  • Gallery/Carousel: With this approach, you can showcase product images and features. The images can scroll up, down, left or right. (For an example, scroll down to the graphic below.)
  • Store Locator: This feature uses a device’s built-in GPS to present the nearest locations in Google, Mapquest, or Bing Maps.
  • Distance Locator: Using this technique, you can drive traffic to store locations by showing the distance to the nearest retailer or service location.
  • Sequential Ads: Think of this as a sliding banner ad. The ads scroll horizontally to reveal a series of sequential messages.
  • Hotspot: Touch-activated hotspots can be used to highlight product features or to provide interactive messaging.
  • Accelerometer: This format uses the devices accelerometer to engage a user by tiling, turning or shaking the device to launch an animation, change images or launch a video.
  • Swipe-to-Rotate: Imagine being able to get a 360 degree view of a product like a car, lawnmower or sofa. That’s possible with the swipe-to-rotate feature.
  • In-Line Banner Video: This approach auto-plays a short video clip. Teaser videos can be expanded to feature longer videos or other ad features.

Check out the graphic below. It provides a sense of how one of these techniques – the Gallery/Carousel technique – can be used to provide the user a richer, more engaging experience.

Image of mobile display ad

Okay, ready to move on? Great. Now let’s take a look at some of the advanced targeting technologies that are available to you. (By the way, if you’re interested in a detailed, 10-page PDF that outlines an advanced targeting technology that also allows you to track whether or not the specific recipient of your ad ended up visiting your store as a result of seeing the ad, email me and I’ll send it on over. It’s ground-breaking stuff.)

Targeting Your Prospects Using Demographic, Behavioral, Contextual and Location Data

Remember how I said we used advanced techniques to target mobile prospects for Holiday Inn? Those techniques enabled us to zero-in on a specific target group, which reduced waste and inefficiencies.

Our starting point for the campaign was to identify the target customer, which were business travelers who 1) were staying at a Holiday Inn at the time, and 2) who exhibited a propensity to purchase hotel rooms online.

Now, it might seem odd to geo-locationally target people who are already staying at a Holiday Inn, but in reality, that’s your lowest-hanging fruit. After all, studies show that a one-time buyer is 50% more likely to buy your product or service a second time than a first-time buyer.

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In addition to our geo-locational targeting capabilities, we also had the ability to use data to identify the people within our geo-locational segment who have previously purchased a hotel room online in the past.

In other words, we served ads to people who were staying at the hotels, who were on their smartphones, and who had made online hotel reservations a Holiday Inn and other hotels in the past.

As amazing as all that is, you can still go deeper when you use advanced targeting techniques in your mobile display ad campaigns. For starters, you can use contextual information to target people. Let’s say you manufacture tennis rackets. Given that, you’d probably be interested in targeting people who play tennis, right? With contextual ad placements, you can do that, thereby increasing the efficiency of your ad campaigns.

Better still, using the right technology, you can also target people based on offline behaviors. For example, we have technology that can tell us that when someone has put their house on the market. Using that technology, we can send ads to those specific individuals. This is extremely valuable for companies like banks, cable companies, gas providers and other organizations interested in the new mover category.

We can also do the same using data about new car buyers and by using “look alike” data for potential prescription medicine candidates. In a nutshell, because we have access to data that can be tied back to specific smartphones, we can target people with specific demographic, behavioral, contextual and locational data.

What Were the Results of the Holiday Inn Campaign?

I can’t provide specific results, but we were really impressed with the targeting side of the equation. Our technology helped us improve the targeting and increased efficiencies of the campaign. That said, the most important metric – the conversion rate – performed below our expectations. The good news is we carefully track all the results of our campaigns and were able to analyze the data behind the metrics. Our analysis indicated that, as handy as smartphones are, it’s still difficult to get people to use their smartphones to reserve a hotel room.

In addition, many people engage with an ad on their smartphones and book a room from their desktops at a later date. At the time we ran this campaign, we didn’t have the technology to track the customer journey from smartphone to tablet to desktop where they make the final purchase. Today, we’ve tackled that problem and do have that technology (see below).

Image of mobile display ad tracking


Action Steps for You

Here are some action steps you can take if you’re interested in using this technology to grow your sales and revenues:

  1. Experience the Technology: Many people talk about mobile, but don’t take the time to actually use it. Next time you see a mobile display ad, click through on it. See if it utilizes any of the techniques mentioned above. Develop a point-of-view on whether they did a good job with the creative or not. Then, track whether or not you would have converted if you were a viable prospect for their product or service.
  2. Expand Your Thinking: Many people think of mobile display ads as the small 320 x 50 ads that hardly get noticed. Instead of using that as a framework for your creative, use the rich media mobile ad options outlined in this post as a framework. That way, you’ll expand your thinking and increase your secondary action rate as a result.
  3. Email Me for In-Depth Information: As mentioned, I have a 10-page PDF that provides in-depth information about uber-advanced mobile ad targeting and tracking options. If you’re interested in the PDF, email me and I’ll send it over to you.

That’s all for now. If you have additional questions about mobile display ads or anything related to mobile marketing, leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.


Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, an Atlanta-based advertising agency and digital marketing firm that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

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