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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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 Cars.com 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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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


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How long will it take for digital marketer’s to utilize RCS?

What is RCS?

As a general overview, Rich Communication Services (RCS) is part of the new Advanced Messaging standard designed to greatly improve messaging functionality that comes installed on phones by default. Along with text messages, RCS will also allow for higher quality picture messaging up to 10MB in size, group chats, location sharing, and even video calls by default. The service also appears to support read receipts and typing indicators that you’re probably already familiar with from other services. Fortunately, RCS is being tied in with the GSMA’s Universal Profile. GSMA is a global association of network operators and companies that works on creating unified standards for the industry. The Universal Profile is a specification which outlines a set of Advanced Calling and Messaging features and how communication services are to be built to support these features.

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Unlike SMS, the new technology can be integrated with contact apps to see who else supports the service, as well as for sharing contacts and groups. RCS is also looking to go beyond the capabilities seen in many of today’s messaging apps. The standard can also be used to share media, location, and other information while you’re already in a telephone conversation.

However, to send and receive Rich Communications Services messages, both parties much be using a compatible messaging app and network, and support is not universal, yet. Fortunately, the system is designed to fall back to SMS or MMS when the recipient doesn’t support RCS.

In theory, the introduction of RCS will avoid the hassle of having to agree to a third party platform for group or video chat, as the service is tied to your mobile number and future phone owners will have these features out of the box. The aim is to provide a consistent interoperable messaging service across mobile device and networks. Well at least for Android, there doesn’t appear to be any work being done to bring RCS to iPhones. Plus Apple already has its popular iMessage service.

 

How does it different from regular ol’ SMS?

With RCS, you can see when others are typing, when your message gets delivered, and when the person on the other end is typing a reply. It also ups the ante on traditional MMS messaging by enabling you to send videos and photos up to 10MB.

Standard SMS doesn’t allow you to do any of that. It’s slower; there are file size limitations on attachments (MMS Messaging caps are currently set below 2MB, depending on your carrier); and there’s no way to tell if the person on the other end has seen your message.

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Do I need an app to use it?

Even if RCS is supported by your carrier, you need a compatible messaging app. The software update that T-Mobile will push to its users to enable Advanced Messaging will include a messaging app that supports it. Your favorite text messaging application might not yet support it, however, though that will likely change once more carriers get on board.

When can I starting using it?

RCS is actually already live now, sort of. T-Mobile and AT&T offer some of these Advanced Messaging features through their stock messaging apps on a selection of modern devices, but this deployment is based on pre-Universal Profiles. The latest development has seen Google introduce RCS support with its own Messenger 2.0 app, providing that users are on a supported network and have a compatible device (currently just the Pixel XL and Nexus 6P). Sprint has become the first carrier to partner with Google to bring the Messaging app to select LG and Nexus handset, and to begin installing Messenger as the default app on future handsets sold through its retail operations.

However, GSMA’s Universal Profile is not fully up and running, so we don’t have a single standardized version of RCS yet. The majority of fully certified devices and networks aren’t scheduled to launch until sometime in Q2 2017. Therefore the fully inter-operable system isn’t quite ready and so wide reaching compatibility and use of the full feature set cannot be guaranteed. Between now and then, network operators are encouraged to deploy mature systems and begin transitioning toward the full Universal Profile, as will OEM’s. This probably explains why Google has decided now is the time to start testing out these features on its network-agnostic Messenger app.

In other words, the first fully Universal Profile compatible devices and networks arrive until Q2 2017, but that isn’t stopping advanced messaging services from starting up. Much like the roll-out of 4G LTE, carriers and OEM are gradually moving towards realizing the full specification that will see a universal advanced messaging platform deployed across the Android ecosystem.


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Six tips for successful mobile advertising in 2017 (#1: START NOW!)

As 2016 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on “what worked” with mobile advertising this year and to summarize the successful strategies you should be looking at in 2017.

Here are 5 top tips:

1. Respect the user

Mobile devices are highly personal. Mobile users want to decide where, when and how they interact with brands on their devices. So put the user in control. Mobile ads should be opt-in, so the user decides whether or not to engage with a brand’s message.

Crucially, mobile ads should be easy for users to dismiss, with a prominent ‘close’ box. Finally, if the ad unit covers some content on the page, design the ad so it disappears when a user scrolls and only reappears when the user stops scrolling.

2. Use mobile-friendly ad formats

While they can look fine on tablets, desktop ads don’t look good on small smartphone screens. Instead, use mobile-friendly ad formats such as the IAB Rising Star adhesion unit.

Adhesion units look great on any mobile device because they take up about 10% of the screen and are anchored at the bottom in either portrait or landscape mode. They also produce strong results.

3. Target the right audience

Strong results don’t matter if the wrong audience is responding. The best advertising solutions providers have robust behavioral data that can be targeted as well on mobile as on desktop.

Lookalike models can be built to target scalable audience segments most likely to be receptive to a brand’s message and respond favorably to it.

4. Keep users engaged

Once you’ve targeted the right audience with mobile-first ad formats and the audience is responding to your ad, you want to keep them engaged and spending as much time as possible with your brand’s message.

One great way to keep users engaged is to use video as the main act in the creative. Users increasingly watch video on mobile, with a trend for larger screens.

Showing multiple videos is even more effective. Combine video with interactivity – inviting users to explore a brand further via photo galleries, feature demonstrations, product showcases and maps with directions to the nearest store – and you have the perfect recipe for deep user engagement.

5. Measure the right things

The last thing you want to do with your highly interactive, video-centric mobile campaigns is track results that don’t truly reflect the positive impact on brand metrics and sales lift. For example, it doesn’t make much sense to use clicks as a key performance indicator since clicks have been shown to have little to no correlation with conversions.

On smartphones, in particular, a significant percentage of clicks are accidental. Instead, more advanced metrics such as engagement rate, interaction rate and time spent are much more indicative of users actively paying attention to a brand’s message and ultimately being influenced by it.

After all, it’s deep user engagement that causes consumers to know, love and buy a brand, not a single or series of emails.