For the longest time, it seemed there had been more articles published about the benefits and strengths of mobile marketing from a promotional perspective, than articles showing the number of advertisers actually marketing in the channel and respectively, consumers using mobile devices. However, in spite of the economic recession, there has been a pretty drastic upswing in the number of consumers buying and employing mobile technology. I have been paying close attention to the hype vs. the consumer usage, and I believe mobile marketing is finally coming to a point where data can be used to support a very compelling case for it.
Comscore recently released a study which indicates consumer use of mobile devices to get the latest news and information via the web doubled between January 2008 and January 2009. Even more interesting in reading the Comscore article, the most widely used websites on mobile devices were social networks and blog sites. (Very interesting.. seems like I stumbled upon my next blog topic…)
I have to say it’s refreshing to hear that even in a shrinking economic market, there has been positive growth in both the purchase of mobile phones, and marketer’s willing to advertise in the channel. Market indications are also showing this growth should continue over the next 5 years at a steady rate. In 2008 estimated mobile ad revenues were 648 million, and are anticipated to growth to 3.3 billion annually by 2013, as reported by E-Marketer.
Marketers that are looking for channels to advertise in should add mobile marketing to their mix. Consumers are spending more and more time online via these devices. Also, search engines and 3rd party vendors are creating easier ways for you to create mobile ready ads. One word of caution in getting started, it is important to do your homework first. In order to have presence in the mobile world, you need to be sure your web pages and advertisements are mobile device compatible. Each mobile device employs different types of technology which means a webpage that works for an I-Phone may not work for a Blackberry or a Samsung. This may be one of the biggest obstacles, but well worth the learning curve!
Testing your ad copy is a very important component of any online advertising campaign. What you feel is a good message about your products and brand isn’t always as well received by your potential customers. In order to make sure your ad copy message is enticing to your customers, it is important to develop different messages for your audience and then test them over time to find out which are best.
I’d like to give some examples regarding the ad copy messaging you may want to evaluate. One ad might offer a free brochure, another offers free samples, while yet another offers free shipping. An effective marketing campaign should incorporate some kind of testing process to determine what message is most appealing to your searchers. This leads to higher click through rates, and higher conversion rates, which of course is the goal for any website.
One dilemma I am consistently up against is making sure that while conducting these tests, we are giving enough time to allow users to view the ads, and click on them (or not click on them). Depending on the number of visitors a website gets on a daily basis, the ad copy testing time period varies. The more visitors a website gets, the shorter the testing cycle. A website that gets 10,000 clicks daily should have a good idea of how searchers are reacting to the ads in one week. On the other hand, a website that receives 3,000 clicks daily should consider a longer testing period of perhaps 3 weeks, in order to get enough visits and make a determination of how searchers are reacting to the advertisement’s offer.
I encourage all advertisers to test, and test often. But be sure that you don’t get too excited and end the ad copy test before you know conclusively which messages are performing better than others. Remember, testing ad copy takes patience and persistence.
Just like all businesses in tough economic times, Google is finding ways to increase the online advertising opportunities for marketers. Google has been offering new areas on several of their products for marketers to place online ads. Interestingly, they aren’t making it outwardly known to marketers where this new ads real estate is. But, if you do some research, you’ll start to find new online ads displayed in areas once not possible. I’ll explore some advertising opportunities that are new for you to consider.
I was recently on youtube.com searching for a new song I had heard, and in doing so, noticed a new category called “promoted videos”. I hadn’t seen this before, and wondered to myself, how long has this been here? Did I just notice this? So, as any online marketer would do, I started to research how videos are populated in this new category. I found out that Google has made a cost per click program for video content, and it works similarly to that of an AdWords campaign. I think it’s a great idea. There are thousands of videos being posted to youtube.com on a daily basis, making it a challenge to ensure that your video content stays in the top listings. Given this challenge, this is a wonderful solution to have your video show up during relevant searches. If you post videos on youtube.com, I would definitely look into this new online advertising opportunity.
I also noticed recently that on another Google Product, Google Images (www.google.com/images), that they are now offering sponsored listings. This is another area previously not possible to advertise. Since this listing is image based, it is particularly ideal for e-commerce sites to place online ads. The number of sponsored listings they are offering is pretty limited. So far I’ve only seen 2 sponsored listings per page for any particular search query. However, since this is so new, there isn’t much competition yet. If you are looking for another great way to advertise online, this is definitely another great avenue to look into.
I am sure most of you know by now that Google Maps has been starting to offer sponsored listings. This isn’t as new, but just as important to highlight. For those of you who haven’t already done so, your business should have a listing in Google Maps. There is good reason why, too! By having your business listed in Google Maps, you have the ability to be placed in two of Google’s most popular products. Google.com pulls in relevant Google Map listings, and then of course, you get your listing on the actual Google Maps product. Now, take this strategy a step further and add a sponsored listing on Google Maps. The result is having 3 places that you’re ads are appearing, increasing your exposure, and boosting your brand awareness. I’d say this is a pretty good bang for your buck! If you’re looking to make sure you’re efficiently spending your online advertising budgets, this should be a no-brainer.
These ideas will help you to start doing some exploration on Google’s products and find where the different online advertising opportunities are, beyond the traditional AdWords campaigns. Google has many products and many advertising opportunities on each of them. The associated costs are lower, since not as many marketers are taking advantage of them yet. I would encourage you to look into incorporating these strategies into you online advertising campaigns.