The Mobile Marketer

Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just your digital operations — it will transform your entire business

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Infographic: How to Make a Mobile Ad That Consumers Won’t Hate

Mobile ads may be small in size, but done the right way they can be impactful. The key is for marketers to avoid making them obtrusive and obnoxious. And according to research from IPG Media Lab and Magna Global, there are certain mobile ad formats that tend to be more favorable than others.

While slightly fewer respondents were able to recall brands from six-second ads (41 percent) versus 15-second ads (50 percent), they viewed the brands that used shorter ads as more relevant, innovative and modern—especially when brands used a vertical format more fit for a smartphone than the standard horizontal layout.

“The results of this research prove that mobile demands its own customized ad formats, rather than simply repurposed versions of existing assets that were developed and optimized for other platforms,” said Kara Manatt, svp, intelligence solutions and strategy at Magna Global. “For example, six-second ads and vertical video were developed from the ground up for the mobile experience, and they have been extremely successful for advertisers.”



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Taco Bell Drives 170K store visits with location-based mobile targeting.


  • Taco Bell, the Mexican fast-food chain with 7,000 restaurants in the U.S., drove more than 170,000 store visits with a two-week mobile campaign that raised money for a college scholarship program. GroundTruth, a location-based mobile ad platform formerly known as xAd, ran the “Location for Good” campaign to urge consumers to visit a nearby Taco Bell, a statement said.
  • Customers who participate in Taco Bell’s loyalty program showed the highest engagement with about one out of four members visiting a Taco Bell after receiving a personalized mobile ad from GroundTruth. Male 18- to 24-year-olds were the most receptive audience to the campaign message for Taco Bell’s broader “Feed a Dream” campaign.
  • The restaurant chain donated $500,000 to the Live Mas Scholarship with proceeds from sales of the Doritos Locos Taco. The scholarship is intended for students whose interests may not fit into conventional academic or athletic categories, according to the Taco Bell Foundation.


Taco Bell’s fundraising campaign shows the power of smartphone media in targeting consumers by using geolocation data that also help to monitor how audiences respond to a mobile ad. GroundTruth, which leverages mobile location to signal intent, is able to track physical location with more than 90% accuracy, according to an independent survey. Working with the platform, Taco Bell was able to target consumers nearby its location and then gauge how its audience behaved after receiving the messages.

The location-based ads, which fell under Taco Bell’s wider “Feed a Dream” campaign, encouraged recipients to visit a nearby Taco Bell to purchase a Doritos Locos Taco and a portion of all sales would be donated to the Live Más Scholarship.

Taco Bell this year has tried several ways to harness the power of mobile media to drive store traffic. The chain in July partnered with ride-hailing company Lyft to test a “Taco Mode” setting in Lyft’s mobile app that let passengers request a stop at a restaurant drive-through. The chain reported an 8% increase in late-night customer visits on weekends following the effort.

Location data can help to target an audience, but many marketers said they don’t have a good understanding of how to best leverage it, eMarketer saidin July, citing data from researcher Forrester. One-third of digital marketers in North America said understanding how to use location to deliver relevant mobile ads was a significant challenge. More than a quarter of respondents cited lack of transparency in location data collection as a concern. Meanwhile, a tiny 6% of digital marketers faced no significant challenges in using location data to inform mobile advertising, the survey said.

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Mobile Ads: Ad Goals are first priority, KPI’s should be secondary.

Talk to brand advertisers about the possibilities of mobile advertising, and enjoy watching their eyes light up with excitement.

“Wait, so you’re saying I can target based on historical location, or by real-time GPS radius?” “I can make the phone vibrate in their hands during impactful moments while the ad is playing  — and the video can be HD and full-screen?”

It’s enough to make anyone salivate. But sometimes the things that make mobile so enticing end up standing in the way of success, and can interfere with your efforts to  meet your objectives. Here’s why:

What’s possible is not always practical. Many brand advertisers now know enough about mobile to know what’s possible, and they get ideas about what mobile can offer. Big ideas!

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but what happens is the latest ad units, targeting parameters or attribution models make their way into the RFP as must-have tactics just because they are possible. Unfortunately, there are ramifications to everything you include, and many times they are actually obstacles rather than allies in your effort to hit the right user, with the right ad, at the right time.

I get why. Brands are accustomed to high-funnel awareness campaigns, where quantifiable metrics other than click-through rate are rare. But if you come in with preconceived notions, or treat your mobile tactics like a wish list, all you’re doing is creating limits for yourself, and the focus moves away from the end result.

Pick your outcome first. If you’re a brand, you’re probably accustomed to traditional metrics such as views, impressions and clicks. While these KPIs can track general activity and the efficacy of a campaign, they don’t always connect your ad spend to that specific business outcome you’re trying to drive.

As the saying goes, not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. The first part of that is certainly true in mobile, as attribution is another problem that remains to be fully solved, and the latter half is also spot-on. There are many choices with mobile performance KPIs but you only have one real decision to make:

Determine your ultimate goal. In some verticals, there are many choices. With retail, it could be foot traffic, a lift in offline sales, direct e-commerce purchases, etc. In other verticals, it’s easier. In auto, generally speaking, your main goal is lead-generation. You want consumers to fill out a form, contact a local dealer, schedule a test drive, etc. These are all great KPIs for a performance campaign.

But now watch what happens when you add in another KPI that’s not your main goal: viewability.

Say you’ve found an applicable audience to target based on engagement with automotive content, or recently installing an app like or Autotrader, but you’re accustomed to achieving 70% viewability on your brand campaigns.

What if we follow a targeted user to 10 sites today, seven of which fit that site-level statistic of “viewable,” yet the user doesn’t convert. The next day, we’re still targeting that user, and only three of the 10 sites he visits fit the viewability criteria — yet he converts. You bombed your viewability metric – but you got the lead. And the campaign met the overall CPA goal.

Does it matter if the viewability was 70% versus 59%? Does it matter if the user saw one ad per 24, versus five per 24? No. You met your outcome, and because you didn’t have to optimize toward multiple KPIs, you were able to focus on the ultimate goal: leads!

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Mobile Ads; Is your business indulging? No time for more excuses…

Online ads are tricky and mobile ads are no exception. There’s a strong undercurrent of distrust towards advertising online thanks to the brilliantly awful tactic of unremitting pop-ups and numerous imitations of “Download now” buttons on download pages.


There is always the intelligent option, however. Mobile ads can be supported by user data to the point that they’re not only relevant but timely too. And they don’t need to be intrusive, either. Native advertising on platforms like Instagram enables ads to resemble ordinary content (though explicitly identifying itself as an ad) and will appear on an individual’s feed who has shared data that implies they might be interested.

Because of the diminutive screen size of mobile devices, as well as the general trend of condensed, consumable content that mobile thrives on exporting, ads need to be concise. Instant gratification is a growing trend online – people want fast, unabridged results – so mobile advertising can’t beat around the bush.

Mobile use is growing rapidly – it’s now used more than desktops to browse the internet. With its popularity growing, marketers now have a new, evolving resource to reach their audience. Don’t get left behind!

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Geo-Marketing vs. Geo-Fencing vs. Geo-Targeting: Who wins, and what’s next?

Geolocation as a concept is defined as the identification or estimation of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar source, Internet-connected computer or mobile device. Interestingly, the earliest known example of geolocation dates back to the ancient Greeks who used stars to triangulate their position on land or sea.


As a technology, Geolocation was first developed by the US and Germany in the 1930s and known simply as radar. However, geolocation, as we have come to realize it today, started with Google Maps in 2005.

Fast forward to the present day: Geolocation in marketing has become one of the latest industry buzzwords. But many mobile teams have only a vague idea of what it actually means, both in theory and practice.

Keep reading for an overview of what geolocation marketing means and why it matters.

Geolocation Marketing Explained

Geolocation marketing refers to the collection of data about a person’s physical location, usually provided through GPS satellites and internet protocol (IP) addresses. If you’ve ever opened a map app and zoomed in to see just how accurate the little blue dot is, that’s GPS-supplied geolocation data at work. Alternately, when you open a map on your computer’s browser, it will automatically open in your general location or city based on your IP address.

If the phone’s GPS is turned off (or if you are indoors), the location data is instead triangulated from cell towers. This method is less precise, but it still works relatively well. If you’ve opened your map while underground or in a building, you’ve probably received your location data from a cell tower.

So smartphones and handheld devices ping a satellite or cell tower to determine where in the world it is. And once the device obtains this information, it can then share it with maps, restaurant guides or weather and retail apps.

How Mobile Teams can Employ Geolocation Marketing

You can target users based on their location data in a three different ways.


Geo-targeting predates mobile and simply refers to the act of reaching someone based on their location. Marketers generally track a web browser’s IP address rather than GPS location. Since the early days of the internet, websites used a visitor’s IP address to serve personalized content. For example a retail site would display the local currency and store locations based on the visitor’s country.

The downside is that IP addresses aren’t very precise, and it’s difficult for marketers to target specific neighborhoods based on IP addresses. Therefore this type of geo-targeting is more commonly used for broad regions, like an entire city or state. For marketing teams that want to go more granular, they can use a system called  geo-fencing, as discussed below.


Geo-fencing is the mobile generation’s answer to traditional web-based geo-targeting. This type of targeting uses a smartphone’s precise GPS location rather than its IP address. It’s also updated while the person is on the move, so it’s suited for timely mobile messaging. For instance if a clothing store app detects a user near a physical location it can utilize time limit marketing tactics like offering up a discount coupon to encourage an immediate store visit.

A geo-fence can be as wide as a city, but it’s most effective when targeting smaller regions like specific neighborhoods or streets. These targets are especially useful for apps that want to direct foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores or offer deals at nearby restaurants.


Beacons are the most granular of the three location targeting methods. A beacon is simply a small device that receives location data from nearby devices via a smartphone’s Bluetooth signal. Because it’s Bluetooth-based, beacons can be deployed in areas with poor cell reception, such as the interior of a department store.

Beacon data tells the app precisely where in the store customers are walking, which helps marketers optimize the in-store experience by directing them for example to the new Spring collection based on data gleaned from previous app activity. But the obvious downsides is that the device’s Bluetooth signal must be turned on and has to be within a short distance of the Beacon’s very limited range. What’s more, beacons are difficult to use on public property, since they must be physically placed, secured and monitored.

The Best Way to Improve App Engagement With Geo-Targeting

For mobile teams in search of marketing tactics that increase engagement, geo-fencing is a good place to start. The precision of geo-fenced audiences makes them perfect for mobile campaigns, yet they don’t require a brick-and-mortar presence to be effective.

For example, a travel app might want to alert flyers that their gate changed via push notification. Instead of triggering the notification based on time, the app publisher could establish a geo-fence around an airport and trigger the message based on location instead. This way, they’ll deliver the message with perfect timing.

Likewise, an app that curates local restaurants or events could trigger recommendations based on the user’s neighborhood. Instead of offering broad suggestions (e.g. “Trending restaurants in your city”), geo-fencing enables suggestions that are personal and immediately valuable (e.g. “Welcome to [neighborhood]! Here’s what you need to see”).

Predictive Analytics and Geolocation Marketing

Predictive Analytics through the use of artificial intelligence will quietly driving geo-location marketing into the future.

While location-based offers are nothing new, predictive analytics algorithms will mine historical geolocation data and user behavior for marketers to provide just-in-time, localized offers before a user leaves his or her home. For example a retail app will forecast when a user will purchase a certain item based on their in-app browsing and past shopping behavior. Information from these patterns and data can then offer up discounts on the day or hour the user plans to go shopping for a specific product or service.

How to Get Started with Geolocation Marketing

Geolocation is intuitive from a marketing perspective, but it can be difficult to implement from an engineering standpoint. However, mobile marketers can easily get started by selecting a mobile marketing platform that already supports location-based campaigns.

Call me for more. 714-699-4249