The One-Size-Fits-All Approach Doesn’t Work In Mobile

ted-dhanik"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Ted Dhanik, CEO at engage:BDR

Consumers love mobile devices, but as individual advertising channels, not all mobile devices are created equal.

Too often, marketers group mobile into one category, when in reality, mobile is complicated. It’s no longer sufficient to have just a mobile strategy – marketers must consider the nuances of individual devices and approach targeting more granularly.

For example, smartphones and their action-oriented users tend to support very targeted ads, while tablets offer the ability to acquire a wide audience, because tablet users are often more exploratory.

Smartphones also provide extensive location data, whereas tablets often do not. This is not because of a technical difference in the ability to collect data from each device, but rather a difference in how we can glean insights based on use cases. While tablet use may make up much of mobile ad consumption, smartphones provide a higher level of location data, as they are typically in use at all times (and in all places), rather than just at home or in the office.

Therefore, it is important for advertisers to consider these active and passive states of mind while creating mobile strategies for different devices. Brands should understand the consumer’s location and experience to determine which mobile device is key for the campaign. Smartphones, especially on mobile web, drive conversions. Rather than just thinking about initiating a mobile buy, a savvy advertiser should consider why a specific unit has the ideal impressions for the campaign.

For instance, a movie studio wanting to drive ticket sales for an action movie might consider running a mobile video interstitial on a website, targeted to smartphones. The video should be shorter than it might be on a desktop or tablet, since consumers are on the go and want to consume short, immediate content. The content should link to a place to purchase tickets in only a couple of clicks, so that it is easy on a smartphone. By considering both the device and media type, advertisers may see an increase in ticket sales.

If the goal of the campaign is branding, an advertiser should consider targeting consumers on tablets, especially in-app. Marketers looking to capitalize on a passive, browsing state of mind will see success with a boom of apps designed for easier consumption of content on tablets. Apps produced by Buzzfeed, YouTube and now Snapchat are hubs for the kind of easily consumed content that lends itself well to extended sessions without a specific goal.

To take advantage of this inventory niche, a consumer packaged goods company that wants to promote a cleaning product should run ads targeting tablet users within relevant apps. Consumers often use tablets when they are sitting at home passing time or relaxing, and they’re willing to spend more time watching an ad, likely with a mind open to distraction. With these specific parameters, the CPG company has an opportunity to build buzz that will likely be seen by running videos on tablets, with lots of room to tell a story to open-minded users.

Mobile is growing so fast that advertisers are often challenged to keep up with the nuances of the channel. Today, there are a variety of mobile devices, and combining all mobile advertising together is no longer a good idea. To succeed, advertisers must think beyond just a mobile marketing strategy and explore the benefits of each available device – tailoring their media buys to specific goals, and analyzing and adjusting accordingly.

As new devices become commonplace – with the Apple Watch likely being the bellwether for a host of IoT devices – marketers need to make sure to get a thorough understanding of use cases, data capabilities and user mindsets before investing in these devices as distribution channels. This will ensure that they communicate with users where, when and how those users want to be reached, as well as eliminate budget wasted on ham-fisted executions.

Follow Ted Dhanik (@teddhanik), engage:BDR (@engageBDR) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.


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