Since its first emergence in the post-industrial corporate world, marketing has gone through many changes, with its practice constantly evolving to better adapt to an ever-changing environment that is our modern world. Its latest step of evolution, which for practitioners comes as no surprise considering the hasty development of technology, is mobile marketing.
With the population quickly shifting from traditional desktop computers to mobile devices—which include but are not limited to mobile phones and tablets—it is only logical that mobile marketing would become the primary tool for marketers to use. In its inception, it was regarded as the platform of the future—except the future is now.
Contrary to their counterparts, mobile devices are incredibly unique in that they combine all the features other technological devices have to offer, and some more, in a single package. Mobile devices have grown to command a dominant share of the market. More than half the population of the world has access to the Internet (about 4.4 billion), of which 3.98 billion are unique mobile Internet users.
As of 2019, mobile Internet traffic accounts for 47.96% of the total Internet traffic globally, with the number of mobile Google search queries having finally overtaken desktop search queries in 2018. Due to this fact alone, most traditional marketing methods have become ancient and no longer yield the same results as they did before.
To better understand the importance of mobile marketing in the context of marketing, it is currently only second to TV in global advertising expenditure (US$180bn and US$192bn respectively) and is comfortably, if not outright, ahead of desktop advertising—the expenditure of which totals US$88bn, twice less. Given its 30.5% market share and the current growth rate (21% per year on average), experts project mobile advertising to overtake TV advertising by 2022, with expenditures estimated to reach US$243bn.
All things considered, mobile marketing has become an essential part of marketing and is evidently here for the long haul. Neglecting it or failing to incorporate it into your general marketing strategy means you will fall so far behind your competitors, recovering from it will be a monumental task.
What is Mobile Marketing?
Mobile marketing is no different than any other type of marketing. At its core, it is the same practice, just on a different platform with little tweaks here and there. Mobile marketing definition can vary slightly from source to source, but its meaning is essentially the same. Mobile marketing is a type of marketing that uses multi-channel digital platforms to target and reach people using phones, tablets and/or any mobile device. This is done via social media networks, applications, websites, email or SMS/MMS.
A subcategory of mobile marketing is mobile advertising. Mobile advertising definition is much simpler in comparison. Put simply, it is advertising via mobile phones or other mobile devices. In contrast to mobile marketing, mobile advertising is the leading form of advertising. Its market size is over four times bigger than that of desktop and laptop computers.
Benefits of Mobile Marketing
Internet users are making the switch from desktop computers to mobile devices. It is only fair that marketing shifted its attention to that platform too. The data referenced above, if nothing else, shows that the mobile device market with its sheer enormity is one that marketers and businesses alike can and should tap into. This in and of itself is the biggest benefit of mobile marketing—its possibilities and opportunities are practically limitless. However, the advantages of mobile marketing do not stop there.
The following list shares some of the main benefits of mobile marketing to help you gain a better understanding of how it can help you advance your marketing strategy and provides mobile advertising solutions to existing marketing challenges:
The mobile advertising market is constantly growing, with increases in mobile devices and mobile Internet users seen every year. Moreover, the time spent on mobile devices has risen exponentially too. Most of this time is spent on social media platforms which have become insanely popular among Internet users, millennials especially.
These factors, along with a couple of others, drive the growth of the market. “Why is this a benefit?” you might ask. Well, as a marketer or a business developing a marketing strategy, you need to focus on platforms that are doing well and experience steady growth because that is where your target audience is. And not only does the mobile device market excel at this but also it has no shortage of users that you can potentially turn into your customers.
No other form of marketing comes even close to mobile marketing as far as general outreach is concerned. The prevalence of mobile phones makes people who use them readily available at any given time and place. Mobile device users can be reached in an instant since they have both Internet connection and cellular reception: the latter is useful to reach your target audience through SMS or MMS messages in case they have no Internet connection.
This is an advantage over desktop users, who need to be connected to the Internet to be reachable. The limitless range of mobile marketing offers provides businesses and other corporations alike an opportunity to transcend geographical and technological barriers, and reach even the most distant audience.
Instant and Trackable Results
A lot more people carry/own mobile devices than desktop computers for obvious reasons; they are cheaper than traditional computer setups, more mobile due to their size which means people can carry them around with them and are generally much more convenient to use.
People almost always have their mobile devices on them, so whether you are sending an SMS or a push notification, the delivery will be instant and you will immediately see the results. The data is also trackable which is ideal to better understand and analyze customer behavior. This is particularly helpful if you want to create buyer personas as part of your marketing strategy.
If your content is good, your marketing material will reflect that through more exposure, which comes at no extra cost or effort from your part. Mobile devices, coupled with social media’s rise in prominence, have given birth to a new phenomenon that is viral marketing. Viral marketing, unlike other marketing methods, is a marketing strategy that—whether by careful design or a simple act of fortune—spreads itself like a virus and gets the people talking.
The idea behind it is that it is the people who choose to share the content, therefore making it viral, and not the company behind the content. A socially-relevant, carefully designed marketing campaign that has a strong message that people can relate to will achieve just that. Viral marketing will not only circulate your content rapidly but will also amplify its message. Best part? You will not need to spare any more effort or expense if you find yourself fortunate enough to be in this position. Your audience will take care of that for you.
Mobile device availability means your users are constantly active/online. Your campaign reaches them the moment you send it out. You can use this to your advantage to create and facilitate customer engagement. The more your target audience is engaged with your marketing campaign, the better results you will see.
It is possible to start direct dialogues with your customers by means of surveys and messaging and build a customer feedback loop which will only serve to improve your marketing strategy and standards of service. The simple and customizable nature of mobile content, additionally, gives you an opportunity to personalize your messages for specific target audiences.
Disadvantages of Mobile Marketing
With all its benefits, advantages and marketing opportunities, mobile marketing has its fair share of disadvantages that you cannot gloss over when developing your strategy. Although the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, it is always good to be aware of the issues you may be facing and work for solutions to mitigate the potential negative effects.
A key issue in mobile marketing that marketers have to overcome all the time. Mobile devices come in all shapes and sizes, the operating systems (OS) are different and standards vary from brand to brand.
This is a big disadvantage over desktop computers, where the size or the shape of the computer has no bearing on its functionality. Your marketing campaign should take into account the diversity of the mobile platforms, therefore be optimized to curate to all devices as smoothly as it can. It is a difficult task but not completely impossible to manage.
Mobile Device Navigation
mobile phones have small screens, even the ones that are considered huge by traditional standards. And even though most people have already got the hang of it, navigating through them may not be as easy as it seems.
The lack of a mouse-keyboard combination, as well as the small size of a display screen, are what make navigation somewhat difficult for people. For this reason alone, social platforms more often than not prioritize display functionality over anything else, which consequently impacts advertisers negatively—ads or commercials sometimes go untouched or unnoticed.
In light of recent scandals of privacy violations by big corporations, people have become weary of their privacy rights. Mobile marketing is always in the grey area in that regard because it is in the business of collecting or tracking user data.
Crossing the line can cause irreparable reputational damage. People want their privacy to be respected, so that should be one of the aims of your marketing campaign—offer clear ways of opting out if people no longer want to receive marketing communication from you.
Mobile Marketing Strategy
You have a huge company that is successful in its own right. Whatever marketing tactics you employ as part of your bigger strategy works. You are content with the kind of results you are getting. And it is only natural you are wondering “Why does mobile marketing strategy matter?” and why you need a strategy at all; after all, you can just do more of the same marketing on mobile platforms. The answer is simple—even though success is a reality, its effects are only temporary. The mobile advertising market is a fast-growing environment and if you are not quick enough to claim your share, you will be fighting for scraps in the future.
Whether you are starting from scratch or revising your marketing strategy, it is necessary to get the fundamentals down. If you want your marketing campaign to succeed, you have to carefully plan your strategy.
Mobile marketing is one of the best ways to reach a broader audience. Mobile device users are plenty and diverse and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. The implementation of the right components into your campaign can help you reach the right target audience at the right time.
Your mobile marketing strategy should not necessarily be completely different from your general strategy. However, it will need heavy optimization to fit mobile platforms. Your current marketing campaign may be airtight in terms of how it looks and performs on desktop computers but you best believe it is nothing more than a hot mess on mobile devices if you have not done your due of optimizing it.
Optimizing your company website and its landing pages is a good start. Heavy websites take a lot of time to load on mobile devices and the duration of the time plays an important role in whether or not the customer will be willing to give your website a chance. In addition to minimizing the load time, make sure to streamline your website design for better performance on mobile platforms. Mobile-friendly websites have a high rate of customer retention and conversion rate and do not decrease customer satisfaction or page views.
Still hesitant about upgrading your websites to make them more mobile-friendly? Well, if you ever want your website to appear on Google’s search results—preferably on the front pages—it is not only encouraged but also stipulated by Google’s “Mobile-First Indexing” conditions introduced in 2015 (failure to comply with the new standards results in a 50% traffic reduction penalty by Google).
Since then, 70% of the websites appearing on Google’s search results have been optimized to be mobile-friendly. You can choose to ignore the mobile-oriented aspects of your website but be ready to face the consequences when other aspects of your marketing strategy suffer because of negligence on your part.
Another important way of enhancing the effectiveness of your mobile advertising strategy is to create ideal client personas (ICLs) or, in other words, buyer personas. When you know what your ideal target audience looks like, what they look for and which platforms they use, you can adapt your mobile marketing strategy to reflect that. And you can optimize your campaign to target them at the exact places you intended.
Another important part of your strategy is what, in marketing terms, is called call-to-action (CTAs). Call-to-action is important because it communicates the main message your company is trying to disseminate. While this does not require special treatment on desktop computers, or other traditional marketing methods, it has to be completely revamped for mobile devices.
Due to the limitations of smartphone capabilities (physical limitations strictly), your CTA has to be simple in terms of functionality—it should not require many or complicated steps—and should be fairly visible/accessible. Remember that a CTA is an invite for a potential customer to explore your brand which ideally, for your company anyway, should lead to a sale. Make sure to keep things simple to make potential customers feel at ease and not overwhelmed.
Mobile Marketing Campaigns
A lot of big corporations have already caught up with the advantages of using mobile platforms to further their marketing efforts. Mobile advertising campaigns, as a result, are getting more creative by the day, utilizing unique ways of generating and engaging customers. Some can claim that it is the golden age of mobile marketing and that there is no better time to capitalize on it to see continual growth for your business.
While you may already have an idea in mind for your own mobile advertising campaign, here are a few examples of successful campaigns that will give you a better grasp of what made them work in the first place and what lessons you can take away to improve your campaign.
In 2017, Redbox came up with a creative idea to drive up their sales figures.
Using SMS marketing, they started a campaign called “The 10 Days of Deals” where customers were required to send text messages using the keyword “DEALS” to their service number. Customers were incentivized to participate in this promotional campaign by getting a chance to win discount coupons in the 10 days the campaign was in action which they could then use to place orders from the company. The company managed to engage almost 400,000 customers, generating 1.5 million SMS messages.
Ford Motor Company
Another company that fully embraced SMS marketing was Ford Motors. With the release of their new car models Escape and Taurus on the horizon, Ford decided to promote them through customer engagement by means of mass text messaging. People who were interested in the cars could send a text with a designated keyword to Ford and they would receive more information about the cars.
Ford also made sure to make follow-up calls to its customers inquiring about their personal information and gauging their level of interest. The acquired data resulted in 15.4% conversion rate, which was a huge success for Ford.
National Wholesale Liquidators
Customers were offered 5$ discounts for their purchases through this company if they agreed to opt into their mobile marketing campaign. Not only did this result in building a customer base of 50,000 people but also follow-up research on the campaign found that customers who subscribed to the service spent 80% more on purchases than those who did not. In principle, the campaign was deemed a great success and would not be possible without mobile marketing in place.
Mobile Advertising Platforms & Networks
By this point, we have already established how widely used mobile marketing is and its advantages. Like most digital forms of marketing, if you truly want to gauge the impact and efficiency of your mobile marketing campaign, industry-standard tools are a good place to start. There are plenty of options you can choose from as far as mobile marketing software is concerned.
The ad tech industry was quick to respond to the changes in the marketing world, and a lot of ad networks quickly developed state-of-the-art mobile ad platforms for marketers to use. You can use these platforms to better integrate advertisements into the mobile sphere. The ad networks also provide you with an opportunity to monetize your ads.
Most platforms/networks are identical in design and functionality, providing all the foundational tools you need for your marketing campaign. Depending on what kind of marketing you are looking for, you can always find an option that best suits you. Some tools are great for aggressive advertising which is a great short-term solution if you want the most impact. Some are less intrusive and use subtle ways of advertising, which is great if you are thinking of long-term results.
With that said, here is a list of networks you can refer to if you want the best mobile marketing software:
- Media.net – widely regarded as the most credible and trusted network by advertisers. It provides unique tools to work with and has one of the best track records in the industry in terms of results provided (extremely high conversion and sales rate).
- AdMob – Google’s own ad network which provides flawless functionality and makes the process of mobile integration fairly easy and customizable. Google has one of the best online advertising platforms in Adsense, so it should come as no surprise that their mobile counterpart is on par quality-wise.
- StartApp – if you want immediate results and higher revenue rates, this is the ideal platform to use. StartApp uses interstitial advertising which, in simple terms, is when advertisement momentarily appears between the sections of your webpages or mobile apps. It is one of the more aggressive advertising methods but guarantees good results.
You can additionally find similar platforms for SMS marketing. In order to fully realize the potential of SMS marketing, you need to use software. Sending bulk messages to a mass of audience is made easy through such platforms which give you the necessary tools to work with, such as customization of messages, contact lists, and etc.
Types of Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing boasts incredible diversity in the tools it offers. The different types of mobile marketing can either be used in conjunction with others or standalone. However, all can guarantee positive results in one way or another. The main types of mobile marketing which are most commonly used today are (lists courtesy of Strategic Growth Concepts and Simplexity Marketing Group),
- SMS/MMS Marketing
- Mobile Applications
- Mobile-friendly Websites
- Quick-Response Codes (QR scancodes)
- Mobile Wallets
- Location-Based Marketing (using GPS technology)
- Mobile Banner Advertisements
- Voice Marketing
Mobile Content Marketing
A key component of mobile marketing is content. It should take the center stage of any strategy you develop and be the first thing you pay attention to. It is not simply about adjusting your usual marketing content to fit on mobile screens but rather creating mobile-centric content from the ground up. The content needs to cater to the audiences’ needs. And that does not include responsive needs, such as design re-adjustment for mobile platforms. Although it is mandatory, people have come to associate mobile marketing content with that function only, failing to understand that mobile users are interested in a different kind of content.
With that said, let’s get to the basics. The format of your content has to be changed if you expect it to succeed on mobile platforms. This assumes shortening your content by a good margin. Have a lot of information? Do not write long paragraphs. Try to be concise, include the main, key points through bulletins and go for headlines that grab the attention of the viewer.
This makes your content accessible for people who are in the rush and have a short attention span. Use imagery that is not heavy and loads quickly on mobile devices. Remember that people only have so much time on their hands before they run out of patience and close your webpage/app due to extensive loading times. Also, consider using relevant keywords. Search engines on mobile platforms are optimized to search for information using keywords.
For audiovisual content, again make sure to trim down the duration as much as you can. This does not mean cramming all the information into a one-minute video that you would otherwise include in a 10-minute video. It is key to understand what is important and what can be left out. Due to people’s ever-shortening attention span, you only got limited time and you have to make clever use of it. This is what separates successful content creators from the crowd—they have mastered the craft of meeting people’s needs.
Mobile SMS Marketing
SMS marketing is one of, if not the most reliable marketing methods. It is cheap, cost-effective and delivers steady results. It also has the biggest outreach in that everyone with a phone is a potential target for this form of marketing. So what is SMS or mobile text marketing? In short, it is a channel through which companies can send promotional messages to customers through bulk texting.
Mobile Video Marketing
The latest growing trend in mobile marketing is mobile video marketing. This is especially the case on social media, where writers are being replaced with video editors. There is a lot of demand for visual content. The reasons are simple, people find audiovisual content more entertaining and engaging. It also helps that consuming information through videos is much easier for people than in any other way—what’s more preferable, a long and detailed article about a certain topic or a video explaining the topic of the said article in a minute? The answer is clear and is the reason why everyone tries to capitalize on mobile video marketing.