The Digital Marketer’s Quandary: Mobile Web vs. In-App Advertising

When it comes to mobile digital advertising, there are many options to get your products and services viewed by millions of users every day. The tricky part seems to be how you target your advertising for maximum effect: do you target your advertising budget towards mobile web ads users will see when browsing on their smartphone, or do you insert your advertising into the free mobile applications and games used by millions use every day? There is no easy answer, and it is important to weigh the pros and cons for yourself against the needs of your business and your target market. Here are some benefits and disadvantages to both methods that will help you make smarter decisions regarding how to allocate your digital advertising budget across the mobile web and via in-app advertising.

Mobile Web Benefits and Drawbacks

Mobile web ads are still the more versatile option due to cross-platform compatibility and responsive design. When ads are cross-platform, they automatically push to browsers in the format that is best for the screen on which they are being viewed.Mobile web ads are also lower cost to buy, and they cost less to maintain over time. The downside to mobile web ads, however, is that it is more difficult to collect data on user behavior, and your ads may not reach your target audience. The other issue is that many mobile web users turn a blind eye to your ads while browsing content because of mobile web ad saturation. The bottom line is that mobile web is lower cost and wider distribution, but it is difficult to target properly.

In-App Benefits and Drawbacks

In-App ads are far easier to target to specific audiences and markets, and because apps can collect more user habit data they are easier to fine-tune for the greatest impact. The disadvantages, on the other hand, are expense and finding suitable ad options. For example, banner ads definitely up your exposure, but many app users filter out banner’s unconsciously, so a full screen ad or pop-up may be a better yet more expensive option. In-app ads also must be custom fitted for apps, and are not cross-platform like mobile web apps.

Ultimately, how you allocate your marketing dollars is up to you. Attribution and targeting are far superior when using in-app advertising, but they also come with a higher cost and more limited reuse than mobile web apps. Hopefully, armed with the lowdown on digital advertising for mobile, you can make an informed decision about how to put your best foot forward in digital mobile marketing.

Advertising Through Facebook Messenger

As you probably know, Facebook is the biggest social media site on the planet, with over one billion active users. Because of this, it is a marketing goldmine–if you know how to use it. Targeted ads and sponsored stories work quite well, but there are always new methods being developed. One new avenue that is looking to open up a completely untapped area of marketing on Facebook is through its integrated, yet stand-alone, messenger service, Facebook Messenger.

For those who use Facebook on the go, Facebook Messenger is a necessity. This messaging app is used by as many as 900 million people every month. It runs like any basic messaging service. Recently, Facebook started to work closely with developers to open it up for advertising. This advertising will look and behave very differently than the simple, generic ads that typically show up on the side of the screen or in a user’s newsfeed. Instead, these are ads that are personalized and interactive, allowing a customer to read and respond, and in so doing, change the overall experience. These ads will create a completely new experience for both the customer and the business.

How will it work? Simply put, through the use of automated chatbots, who will interact with customers, talk with them, and learn their preferences. By developing these bots, Facebook hopes that Messenger will soon be the primary way that businesses and consumers communicate with each other. One important thing to note is that businesses will not be allowed to blindly contact people they have never dealt with before. However, if a user has already had a personal interaction with a business on Facebook before, then that business (or rather, chatbots built by developers for that business) will be allowed to talk to that customer, even starting the conversation by sending individually-tailored communications to their Messenger service. These ads can send product information, online shopping options, news and weather–really, depending on the business and the customer’s preferences, the sky’s the limit. The interaction can be text- or click-based, depending on how the user prefers the shopping experience.

The eventual outcome of this? Who knows. One thought is that this could be the beginning of the end for individual company apps. Instead of having to download and install an app to shop at a specific company, why not just have a continuous conversation with that company through Facebook Messenger? The more a customer uses it, the more it will learn what he or she likes, and what sort of experience they’d like to have with the many and varied businesses that are now at their fingertips. Regardless, Facebook Messenger is going to get a whole lot busier.

4 Ways to Ride the Pokemon Go Wave to Success

Since its recent release, Pokemon Go has been sweeping the country as the new rage in gaming. You can find trainers searching for new and rare Pokemon all over, from parks and movie theaters to shopping malls and restaurants.

If your business hasn’t already jumped on the Pokemon Gaming bandwagon, you should highly consider it. Social media alone is a huge, free tool that your business can be using to grow its reach. Think of Pokemon Go in the same light, as a great way to reach new customers and better engage with your existing customers and loyalists.

Here are some innovative ways that you can leverage Pokemon go for your business:

1) Host a Lure Party

Like many businesses host trivia or happy hour, you can boost your sales by hosting a lure party at your business. Post on your social media and let your customers know that on specified days between certain hours that you and your crew are going to be constantly tossing lures at the Poke Stop or Stops at your business. This is great for you because you may be able to pull in more traffic during your slow hours at work, or you can draw in even more customers during your busiest days and evenings. It’s great for your customers because they can sit for an hour or two and have fun loading up on items and catching Pokemon. Post the dates and times of your lure parties outside of your business, inside, and make sure that you post on your social media accounts to let your fans know.

2) Offer Discounts to Gym Leaders

Have a gym near or at your business? Offering incentives to gym leaders is an awesome way to build customer loyalty. Let your customers know that if they can show you that they are currently leading a gym that you are going to offer them some kind of bonus or discount with their purchase. If you own a restaurant or bar, think of doing something like a free drink, free or discounted appetizers, or buy-one-get-one offers to entice them to keep coming back for more.

3) Host a Hunt that Starts and Ends at Your Business

Hosting a Pokemon hunt is another excellent way to promote your business. Think of hosting a Pokemon hunt as a scavenger hunt for Pokemon, that begins and ends at your business. Pick a date and a start and end time for your Pokemon hunt, and let your customers know about it.

For this, you are might want to get a good idea of what some of the Pokemon are in your area. Create a map with a route linking to other Poke Stops and highly concentrated Pokemon areas in the vicinity of your business, but don’t give out the map and the list of Pokemon until your customers show up in person. Give your customers a map and the list of what they need to catch and take a picture of before they return to your business. For instance, the first person back that has completed the route and has taken pictures of all the designated Pokemon in the area, gets a prize or a freebie. You could also offer fun bonuses, freebies, discounts, and deals for everyone who participates.

4) Incentivize Posts of Pokemon in Your Business

Social sharing is a great way to promote you and show that you are a Pokemon Go friendly business. Offer your customers rewards for the pictures, videos, and check-ins that they share of themselves or the Pokemon that they are catching at your business. You can run week or month long contests that give your customers the opportunity to compete for the most shares in that given period of time. You can put your prizes in tiers to offer better prizes to the people who share the most while they are catching Pokemon at your business.

An example might include running a month long competition for your customers that offers:

  • A free ____ for 8 social check-ins during the month
  • A free ____ for 8 check-ins and 8 picture posts of them playing Pokemon Go, during the month
  •  _____ for the person who tagged the most people in their posts during the month
  • A huge reward for the person who shares the most pictures, videos, and has the most checkins throughout the month.

Including lots of different prizes for the customers that are sharing pictures and video of your business and engaging you the most is a really cheap and effective way for expanding the social reach and credibility of your business.

There are tons of great ways to use Pokemon Go to promote your business to that gaming community. Start implementing some of these methods to show the fun, creative, and rewarding part of being a regular or loyalist of your business. Brainstorm some other ways that you can begin using Pokemon Go to bring in more customers, and bring your current customers closer to you.

Sponsored Locations Coming to Pokemon Go

Quickly earning the title “most popular mobile game in history” Pokemon Go was the most popular game this summer. Fortune reported that Pokemon Go surpassed Candy Crush Saga, the previous most popular game in the U.S., within the first 24 hours of the game having been released. The game allows players to walk around their towns while attempting to find, capture and train Pokemon characters which are placed in the real world.

Players flock to landmark locations that act as PokeStops, which are basically where players can collect items they need in the game, and gyms, which is where they can train their Pokemon and do battle against other trainers.

The game was developed by Niantic but the Pokemon franchise, which is owned by Nintendo, and the Pokemon Company are major backers of the game. Pokemon Go already offers in-app purchases, but the developers have already found another way to make money off the game’s popularity — “sponsored locations” in the form of a pay per visit model.

The CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, suggested in an interview with the Financial Times that advertisements would soon be making an appearance in the game in the form of “sponsored locations.” In this model, retailers and other companies have the option to sponsor locations and, in turn, the advertisers would pay Niantic based on the number of visits they receive as a result of the game.

This model has proven successful for Niantic in the past. Ingress, another game by the company, used a similar sponsorship deal to partner with retailers like Jamba Juice and Zipcar. Several analysts agree that being able to encourage players to go to a particular building or store has potential for significant monetization of Pokemon Go.

A pizzeria in New York has already seen success using the game; however, they have not paid to be a sponsored location. The business simply paid for the $10 in-app purchase that attracts Pokemon to bring people into their restaurant. In an interview with The New York Post the owner of the restaurant said that business was up 75 percent after purchasing the in-app purchase that brought a dozen Pokemon to come to his restaurant.

The pizzeria is not the only business who used Pokemon to attract visitors. The Chicago Art Institute tweeted a series of pictures of Pokemon throughout the museum with the caption “Pokemon have invaded the Art Institute! Catch them if you can and find 14 PokeStops around the museum #PokemonGo.” Many businesses and organizations have attempted to attract visitors in a similar fashion, boasting a large number of PokeStops and Pokemon spotting around their buildings.

There are obviously going to be certain types of businesses that would benefit more from a partnership with Pokemon Go than others. If your business is a clothing store, most likely you do not want a ton of people going through your stock and handling your inventory if it will not result in a purchase. An inexpensive food or candy shop would be the perfect fit for this model.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Brandon Berger, chief digital officer of Ogilvy Worldwide, said that he has been working with his creative teams to brainstorm ideas on how brands might be able to capitalize on Pokemon Go so they would have something to tell clients when and if they asked. He started asking questions like “Why can’t a brand participate in a gym location?”

The article goes on to suggest things like bringing samples or promote your brand, even paying for Wifi at PokeStops and gyms that already exist. But think about this, if a large fast-food chain such as McDonald’s were to pay for their restaurant to become a PokeStop or gym, their business would be directly impacted for the better.

The mobile gaming industry will be keeping tabs on this new advertising philosophy Pokemon Go has adopted, given the game’s unique origins. Nintendo only recently started branching out from their traditional philosophy of treating their games like media property, all the while their competitors have been using advertising messages in their games for years. On the other hand, Niantic, which was a brainchild of Google, so they have some resources which know a thing or two about digital advertising and leveraging consumer behaviors to target ads.

So let’s recap, in simple terms, businesses can choose to pay to be featured prominently on the game’s virtual map, with the hopes that customers will come inside their facilities. Like Google’s search advertising “cost per click,” advertisers will be charged based on the number of visits they receive.

In the long run, Pokemon’s reputation still belongs to Nintendo. It might be too early for any of the involved parties to celebrate their success, but it will not stop them from trying this new model to help increase advertising profits.

Is Video the Future of Mobile Advertising?

You might say that mobile advertising is basically the same as online advertising, but realistically the reach is much greater. A report by Forrester Research stated that by the end of 2008, the world had something like a billion active PCs and that this number was expected to double by 2015.

While this sounds as though PCs have a large reach, the number of mobile phones is projected to be near the human population. In the end, this shows that mobile advertising offers much greater gains and benefits compared to online advertising.

Due to the steady increase in the number of mobile devices in the world, the market for mobile advertising is not simply growing, it is exploding and expected to overtake all other digital ad platforms. With this in mind, it makes sense that marketers and advertisers are taking big steps to incorporate the power of the platform into their strategies.

Mobile video advertising has grown steadily over the years. In 2014, the spending on mobile video advertising doubled to $1.5 billion, up from $720 million the previous year.

By 2018, the  amount that is spent on mobile video advertising is expected to come in around $6 billion. The increase in spending most likely coming from the steady increase in the number of mobile devices and the improvement in broadband coverage.

The landmark year for this sector came in 2014 when companies discovered mobile video advertising was an effective way to reach, engage and acquire a more diverse audience. Some argue that video is more impactful and user-friendly than any other type of advertising, which is why app developers now integrate video ads into their apps to provide content-relevant in-app experiences.

Think about this: people use their mobile phones to publish videos on social media, but these same phones are being used to watch billions of videos a day. Video hosting sites, such as SnapChat, Facebook and YouTube, are seeing double or triple the number of views over the past year.

As businesses who once depended on Facebook to display their ads begin to look elsewhere as the cost of Facebook ads has skyrocketed, they will start looking other places to find cost effective ways of targeting the  same demographics.

This means if a business wants to get their marketing message out, they are going to want to go where users are spending most of their time. Buying ads that run before, during or after a video which has relevant content to target the right people as become less elusive and easier to do.

One of the main constraints of this type of advertising is the user’s ability to skip through an ad without finishing it which ultimately limits engagement. A second aspect of this challenge is how small the screen is on a mobile device causing businesses to seek new and more engaging formats to help keep the user from skipping the ad.

There are several new trends emerging in the mobile video sector, one being reward-based videos. Also known as incentivized videos, this is when a user watches a video to get some kind of reward, for example getting extra lives in a game they play online.

Since the users feel like they are getting something for their time and there is a clear opt-in experience, it gives the user more control and choice around when and if they want to interact with video ads.

Vertical video formats, also another emerging trend, are more natural for smartphones, meaning that the user does not have to turn their screen to get the full-screen experience. What once was stuck in a “letterbox” shape in the middle of the screen can now be formatted to use the entire screen, making the ad look more appealing and harder to overlook.

In addition to vertical video formats and reward-based videos, the mini-game ads, where a user plays a game within an interactive ad, are also being developed. Companies, such as Zynga, have tested putting games or quizzes in the “black space” around a letterbox video and have found engagement rates to be considerably higher than a simple standard video.

All of these formats may be gaining traction; however, they still have not reached their full potential. In part, this has to do with the considerable amount of collaboration that has to happen between publishers, ad networks and agencies to take something of this magnitude to be successful.

While reward video utilizes existing video formats, not all advertisers want to associate themselves with a reward and vertical video and mini-game formats would require software development kits to adopt new standards to support this.

Even with the current constraints, the future of mobile video advertising is extremely bright, coming with the promise of better customer engagement and a higher return on investment. Through the use of mobile devices, businesses are able to offer a deeper level of personalization, allowing for a win-win situation with both marketers and the audience.

3 Effective Ways to Connect with Millennials

Millennials thrive off of being connected to one another. They don’t want your run-of-the-mill products and services from big name brands or mom and pop shops.

They want a personalized experience that is specifically catered to their needs and preferences, while making them feel part of an exclusive community or movement.

If you are a business, a brand, a person, or a company that is trying to target millennials, what are the best ways to do it?

How can you take a simple product or idea and use it to create something that these passionate consumers want to be part of for life?


1. Using the Right Platforms

One of the simplest ways that you can get in touch with your millennial consumer base is to hang out in the same places that they do – on social media. Take an inventory of the platforms that you use.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube

These are some of the most commonly checked accounts in the millennial social media arsenal. Now, out of those platforms, select two of them that you like the best, are using actively, and fit the best with your brand.

You also need to make sure the platforms that fit your brand the best are also where your millennial users are spending most of their time. That is key for connecting with your audience and growing your following. 

This has a lot to do with the kind of products or services that you or your brand provides, and what kind of media it lends itself to. There are 3 main types of shared media: text, pictures, and video.

Which one exhibits the character of your brand the best to your millennial community?

If you are a handmade jewelry company, Instagram and Pinterest would be the perfect showcases for your custom-made bling.

Have a lot of fun activities and events going on with your brand? Shoot some videos to share on Snapchat and upload to YouTube.

Maybe most of your audience is on Facebook. If so, you need to start sharing pictures, video, and fun or informative text posts at least once per day.

Choose two accounts that you enjoy using, that fit your brand, and that millennials are actively utilizing. Design a posting calendar for yourself which is appropriate for the platform you are using so that you can consistently produce quality content that will keep your millennial audience engaged.


2. Connect With Key Influencers in Your Market

Collaborating with other key influencers and personalities in your market is another incredible way to create buzz and spread word of mouth about your brand.

For example, think about some of the companies that you are familiar with and who they are using to promote their products. Think about Nike’s relationship with big name athletes like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, and Tiger Woods.

Notice how Reebok was able to completely redefine their brand and image by partnering with the Crossfit organization and Crossfit athletes around the globe. Bud Light has been partnering with Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer to create hype during an election year.

Those are some massive examples of building relationships with key influencers, but you don’t need to reach for professional athletes and top notch celebrities to promote your brand to the right people.

Search for four or five key influencers in your market that are actively using the social media platforms that you (and your millennial consumers) use. Look back through their posting histories to see if they have been promoting other products, companies, or services.

With many influencers, you can either offer to send them a free product in return for a post that promotes you, or offer to pay them to promote your post. Reach out to them by commenting on one or more of their posts or sending them a message so that you can make them an offer and generate some buzz for your brand.


3. Engage With Your Millennial Audience

Creating engaging content that sparks activity and conversation is one of the best ways that you can start building a loyal tribe of millennial followers and customers. When you are creating content for your social media, make sure that you engage your audience.

  • Ask questions to your followers so they feel their feedback is valued.
  • Include calls to action like liking, commenting, sharing, retweeting, reposting, or clicking a link.
  • Create polls so that your community can vote on something fun or valuable with your brand.

Millennials have the need to be part of a community or an experience that is greater than themselves. After that, you have to keep the conversation going.

Make sure that you are taking time to respond to comments and messages, as well as rewarding your loyalists for sharing your content with their personal networks.

One of the best ways to get feedback on your brand is by reaching out to the community that you want to serve and grow. Using this strategy will strengthen your brand’s credibility while increasing your visibility to millennials.