Why You Should Invest in Mobile Search Engine Advertising

Every marketer wants to deliver the perfect message to the perfect customer at the perfect time. People are constantly on the go, and marketers want to reach people wherever they are, which is why mobile device ads are growing in popularity.

There are two major trends that drive this popularity:

  1. People rarely part with their cell phones. In fact, around 30% of people say their phone is the first and last thing they look at each day, and 37% say they check their device at least every 30 minutes. One third of all cell phone owners prefer to communicate via text message, and a whopping three-quarters of people say that they could not function without mobile technology.
  2. People are impatient and want data and information NOW! People no longer wait until they get back to their home or office to look something up. Instead, they use their mobile device to get the information on the spot.

It is now the norm for people to shop on their mobile devices, searching for products and services they need. Business owners today must have an online presence where you are targeting customers based not only on their preferences, but also on their demographics and geographic location.

Mobile devices account for more than half (53%) of paid-search clicks in the U.S., with nearly 2/3 originating from smartphones while the other 1/3 originate from tablets. Spending on mobile search ads in the U.S. alone has increased from $8.56 billion to $18.5 billion in less than 2 years (2014-2016), and is projected to soar to over $28 billion by 2019.

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads like text ads and mobile ads performed very well in 2015 for the majority of marketers; nearly 80% said their results were very good. Marketers are planning to increase spending on search engine ads from 15% to more than 30% in some cases, a true testament that it must work—and work well.

In an August 2015 survey of marketing professionals in the US, 90% said text ads were most important for them. They may not seem elaborate, but they rank consistently high among marketers’ spending allocations. Additionally, Google accounted for 95% of all paid search ad clicks in the U.S., and again the overwhelming majority of clicks originated from either a smartphone or a tablet.  Google’s mobile search ad revenue is projected to be $11.5 billion by the end of 2016, accounting for approximately 45% of its total ad revenue. That number is projected to increase to nearly $14 billion in 2017, and by then, over 50% of total ad revenue will be driven by mobile search ads.

As more consumers move to smartphones for convenience, the smartphone is a dream come true to advertisers and businesses. Cost-per-click is 24% lower on a smartphone than on a regular desktop, but it yields much better results, at 40% higher click-through-rate (CTR), the ratio of users who click on a link compared with the number of total users who view an advertisement.

When asked to consider all media ads—traditional as well as digital—72% of marketing executives ranked paid search as one of their two most effective methods. The execs said they could prove clear ROI from paid search, and that delivered clear revenue results.

Recent strides in location-based marketing like geo-location are very appealing to marketers because it works phenomenally well with mobile advertising. Basically, you can see where you customers are now and where they are going, so your ad tries to appeal to them on the way! This is why it is so important—no, crucial—for local businesses to go mobile. You simply must have a mobile presence.

Nearly four in 10 adults used their mobile devices in 2015 to find a local business or service, and they did so at least once a month. Mobile users are impressed when they find a local business with a website optimized for mobile devices, and like most of us, you will take the next step if you like what you see. More than six in 10 will contact a local business if they see it is optimized for mobile. Users want the usual–store details, address, directions, store hours, contact phone numbers, product lists and prices.

There is so much background data available now to marketers, such as location data, and insights to preferences and behaviors, and all of that data allows marketers to really target their audience to deliver fresh, intelligent, and insightful advertising. Judging from the incredible growth of this area, the future of mobile advertising will be a sight to see. By the end of 2016, 177.8 million mobile phone users will search using their devices—this is 55% of all U.S. consumers. Join the wave now and don’t get left behind!

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.

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.

RAIN and Pokemon Go team up to bring your small business more sales than you can imagine

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Pokemon lovers and business owners rejoice, there is a new business tactic that is sure to bring customers around. Less than a week after the release of Pokemon Go, this augmented reality game surpassed the engagement of Snapchat and is installed on more phones than Tinder. Users are getting sore legs from merely investigating the town in search of the next Pokemon. Often, users find themselves entering local stores, restaurants and other businesses. Businesses caught on and have begun incorporating this into their marketing strategies.

One of the many in-app purchases includes what the game calls “Lures”. Lures increase the rate of Pokemon generation in the area around the PokeStop where they’re placed for one half hour. When you break down the cost, it comes to a mere $1.19 an hour for tons of guaranteed foot traffic to your business.  Pokemon fanatics are always looking for the next rare Pokemon in their area; promote your lure on social media and watch the players flock.

RAIN will help your business tap into the fascinating market of Pokemon Go enthusiasts. With the help of our team, you can create a lure near your business or find out if you’re near a Pokemon gym to attract a wide variety of consumers. Imagine a Pokemon Go user walks into a local restaurant and smells the overwhelming aroma of French fries, do you really think they could resist? Act today and watch your business grow.

It is our goal to give our customers the best experience around, part of that means staying on top of the latest trends. If you have any suggestions of a service we should add, please reach out to info@rainlocal.com.

The Power of the Digital Wallet

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Digital wallets are becoming extremely popular for mobile device users as they make shopping both online and in-store incredibly simple. When we refer to digital wallet, we mean electronic devices and programs used to make payments for purchases digitally, without presenting a physical credit card, debit card or cash. Some examples include: Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Many tech analyst believe this is the future of money. Digital Wallets can incorporate various features such as tap-and-pay on smartphones, gift card apps with scannable QR codes and even digital smart cards that mimic the features of a regular credit card. A smartphone digital wallet will help you pay for stuff, but it will also store your concert tickets, bus and subway passes.

As the millennial generation begins to take over the consumer market, the digital wallet will continue to be adopted at a rapid speed due to its convenience. Mobile-based payments in the United States are expected to reach $142 billion in volume in 2019.

How can Digital Wallets benefit my business?

Adopting the digital wallet to your business plan lets consumers know that you are up to date and care about the consumer’s experience with your brand. Many of these digital wallets, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, allow businesses to build loyalty programs which can help keep customers coming back.

As a merchant, you benefit from the use of digital wallets because they’re protected against fraud and they help sell more products, faster.

How secure are Digital Wallets?

According to SmallBizTrends, “New EMV terminals adhere to a “chip and pin” standard, established by the credit card industry, that produces a unique transaction code (called a “token”) for each purchase. As such, EMV credit cards are more secure than cards with magnetic stripes, and this new standard enables payments to occur via NFC over POS systems.”

Because digital wallets are rather new to the tech industry, it will still take time to convince the general public that this payment method is 100% secure. Concerns are heightened when they consider the complexity of a digital-wallet transaction, especially compared to the simplicity of cash or straight credit. Although, security experts have continually come out in favor of digital wallets versus physical payment technology.

Talk with a Rain representative today to see if we can incorporate the use of the digital wallet into your campaign!

Snapchat & RAIN

Snapchat and Rain

Advertising on Snapchat used to be impossible without a large budget commitment – until now. Now businesses of all shapes and sizes can use RAIN to take advantage of Snapchat’s powerful platform and advertise a custom photo filter to users in specific areas.

Geo-filters allow businesses to reach consumers in locations ranging from 20,000 sq ft to 5,000,000 sq ft. Target a building, shopping mall or entire city. The filters can last an hour for a quick event or up to a month to remain in the minds of users and be a great brand play.

Geo-filters are a great way to experiment with Snapchat as an advertising channel and engage users in a fun way. Contact RAIN today to learn more about incorporating this exciting new feature into your mobile campaign.