The following is a guest contributed post to MMW from Shawn Arora, the founder of LaunchSpark, a Toronto-based explainer video agency with a focus on ROI.

2016 was a pivotal year for mobile advertising. According to an IAB report, for the first time ever, digital ad spend had surpassed the money spent on TV advertising. More importantly, mobile constituted a higher share of digital ad spend compared to desktop. As a platform, smartphones and tablets are no longer an innovative new channel that businesses with spare budget like to experiment with. Along with TV and desktops, they now constitute the vital third avenue for marketing spend.

But picking the right channel within the mobile platform can be tricky. The smaller form factor of smartphones make the medium unsuited for banners, interstitials and other similar forms of advertising. While these ad channels continue to constitute a significant chunk of mobile advertising dollars today, marketers enjoy a diverse portfolio of alternatives that offer better CTRs and conversion rates. Picking the right channel is a matter of understanding your consumers’ psyche and intent.

Product Categories 

Product categories play a major role in determining what channel one must choose for mobile advertising. Products sold in a specific niche and have high pricing points are best suited for mobile search. This is because of two reasons – search advertising can be expensive and only makes sense when you have large margins. Also, consumers like to research on the product before they buy and it makes sense to reach out to them during their research process. On the other hand, if your product is an impulse purchase, then a Facebook marketing strategy works best. Display ads are great to build a brand while email or SMS marketing is very effective when you want to market exclusive offers.

Demographics 

The mobile platform is an extremely effective medium to reach out to two specific demographics – the deal hunters and the younger audiences. The mobile medium offers the ability to ‘geofence’ prospective new customers which allows businesses to only spend money on customers who are located within a specific geography. Such level of precise targeting may not be possible with most of the traditional advertising medium.

However, the reason mobile advertising is on the rise is because of its ability to reach out to the millennial and the post-millennial generation. According to one study, mobile social networks like Snapchat and Instagram are the most preferred services to communicate among teenagers. Snapchat, for instance, is used by as many as 83.% of users in the 12-17 age category and 78.6% of users in the 18-24 age category. There are few alternatives to the mobile medium when it comes to reaching out to this demographic.

Customer Touchpoint 

Traditional advertising medium like TV, radio and print do not offer an integrated touchpoint with the customer. Digital advertising over internet solves this problem to a great extent since consumers may now click on an ad and proceed to buying them in one integrated experience. While this works great for large and remote businesses, this may not be ideal for local businesses like real estate agents and attorneys. These businesses work on a leads basis and depend on incoming inquiries from prospective customers for business. Mobile search is an ideal channel for such businesses since prospective customers may now look up these service providers over Google on their smartphones and may tap and call these businesses seamlessly.

Virality 

Viral marketing is a cheap and effective way to build a brand. According to a report published by Forrester, mobile users are a lot more likely to engage with content published on social media compared to desktop users. Their study found that nearly 49% of mobile users and 46% of tablet users click ‘like’ on content posted by company pages on a weekly basis. In comparison, only 37% of desktop users had a similar level of engagement.

The advertising channel you choose for your business can often make or break your campaign. The demographics and user behavior on the mobile platform can make this a lucrative medium for businesses. In the end, the success of a campaign depends on picking the right channel to reach out to your audience.

The post Picking The Right Advertising Channel For Mobile Users appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

The following is a guest contributed post by Priscilla de Groot, Customer and Partner Marketing Manager at Mapp Digital  

Way back in 2003, Juniper Research looked at how people spent their time online. The top four will come as no surprise: email, search engine searches, researching products and services, and gathering local information. Number five on the list, with a 59% share of internet users’ time, was online contests and sweepstakes. People in the noughts loved a quiz!

2003 is a thousand years ago in digital marketing terms, so let’s get a bit more current. A decade later, a survey from Unbounce showed landing pages running a $500 prize collected 700% more email subscribers than those devoid of contests. A pretty impressive growth rate by any standards.

Coming right up to date, the value of incentive marketing is stronger than ever – and it’s seen in terms of real message cut-through, and corresponding click-throughs and conversions.

A recent project we facilitated introduced fashion brand Vente-privee.com into the UK market. The win for the customer was a weekend trip to Paris. For the brand, it was the (completely transparent) collection of customer data, gathered through a survey. Data it would later use in ongoing consumer acquisition and nurture campaigns.

Over 34,000 people completed the contest, at a rate of 93%. Once completed, an incredible 40%, then signed up to become members. Check out the dramatically reduced cost of acquisition Vinte-privee achieved here.

Why clear incentive messaging is key

Vente-privee.com got it right. It didn’t just attract with the headline competition prize, it engaged audiences with clear incentive messaging that went far beyond this.

Consumers typically ‘hope’ to win, but rarely ‘expect’ to. Knowing this, the online fashion and lifestyle brand positioned a completed survey as an opportunity, not only to win the big prize, but to better understand the customer. By doing that, it could offer each contestant exclusive, personalized promotions. This transparent approach and additional value caught the imagination of its audiences. And they responded.

How to make your quiz or survey engaging

As we’ve seen, consumers like quizzes, love chances to win and are happy to share data. Here’s the big ‘but’: only if the contest/quiz is engaging, and if the prizes offered are appealing to them as individuals.

There’s another thing for the brand to consider. While your consumers may be tempted by a ‘win the latest tablet’ offer, if you’re a clothing boutique, there’s little connection to your brand. In fact, you’re promoting someone else. Added to this, audiences can tell a ‘lazy prize’ when they see one . Either way, the wrong prize or incentive is a huge missed opportunity.

Back to Vente-privee. Its all-expenses-paid trip to the haute couture capital of the world was more than simply a great prize, it embodied the brand, creating an instant and unconscious association with high fashion and lifestyle. The email did something in seconds that would have taken days and weeks for a pay-per-click or banner ad campaign.

It’s not only the prize. Promotional messaging must be accurate and clear. Getting this right will not only swell participant numbers, it also ensures entrants clearly understand the proposition, retain a positive brand sentiment and are incentivized to take that all important next step. If you’re new to the market or geography and looking to acquire customers, don’t take the easy option of collecting basic details – make competition entry conditional on parting with more details.

Surveys work best when information gathering is transparent, and individuals will share more if they see value in doing so. So, reward every entrant – perhaps with a special discount code – to make potential customers feel like they’ve won something already. It’s also a great way to capture data that can be used to craft more effective and relevant communications in the future.

So, while the initial aim of the game may be to spur entrants to action, competitions also represent a unique opportunity to develop a true sense of your brand and a lasting relationship with the consumer.

When choosing your channel, consider your audience and your objective. Quizzes and promotions abound on social media, and offer easy sharing opportunities. But if you’re looking to move above the noise, the direct engagement of email offers a less scattergun approach. If the offer’s compelling, the audience segmentation right and the survey or competition easy to enter, everyone’s onto a winner.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Priscilla de Groot is Customer and Partner Marketing Manager at Mapp Digital. Mapp Digital is one of the largest, global independent marketing technology companies. Our Customer Engagement Platform, with integrated Data Management Platform and customer-centric services assist mid-market and Fortune 500 companies maximize return from digital marketing executions.

The post How to Use Competitions and Incentives in Your Customer Acquisition Strategy appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

The following is a guest contributed post from Mark Robinson, CEO of deltaDNA, creator of SmartAds.

In free-to-play (F2P) mobile games it’s common for fewer than 2% of players to spend money via in-app purchases (IAP). Therefore, the attraction to integrate advertising as a way of monetizing the remaining player base is obvious.

However, getting ads to work in tandem with the rest of the in-game economy isn’t without its challenges. Developers have to be able to balance player retention, social engagement and IAP monetization with advertising, in a way that doesn’t annoy, frustrate or confuse users, while ensuring high fill rates, and maintaining eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) value across multiple ad networks.

This isn’t easy, which is reflected in the findings of our In-Game Advertising Study 2016, which identified that the majority (52%) of developers are unsure how best to approach ads, with only 3% describing their ad strategies as ‘effective’.

In a perceived bid to protect retention, most developers take an ultra-cautious approach to setting ad frequency. However, recent research from the University of San Francisco shows that ad frequency actually has no effect on retention. While ads don’t affect retention, showing some ads can still be worse than showing no ads at all, because advertising can cannibalize hard won IAP revenues:

 

 

So, the situation is that unless they’ve taken steps to manage IAP cannibalization, many developers are losing money, some up to 75% or more of their IAP revenue by running ads, compared to not running them. I think this gives enough of a guide to show that the prevailing approach to advertising as a bolt-on isn’t working, but it’s important to note that advertising certainly can work, and work well.

Mind the data gap
Alongside the complexities of integrating, optimizing and reconciling numerous ad networks, a lack of accurate performance data means that it’s actually incredibly difficult for developers to ever truly understand what impact ads are having on different types of players.

The irony is that the industry is in a very fortunate position in that data on any player interaction can be captured and analyzed, yet most game developers can’t make the most of this data because, with advertising, it is housed in separate analytics silos.

For game developers and publishers, mediation is also fraught with potential inefficiencies. Often, when you implement an ad network, the eCPM may start high, but then it drops like a stone as programmatic buying kicks-in to minimize cost per click for advertisers. If they change around the order of the cascade, the same happens. Developers need to be able to optimize ad serving by using different ad network cascades for different regions and different device types in real-time to ensure they are serving the highest value ad available each time of asking, so each player receives the best performing available ad.

In-game experience is everything
When it comes to the in-game experience, there is a real opportunity for rewarded ads to support game progression and enhance the experience, and so long as ads don’t interfere with gameplay experience they aren’t proven to be a problem, as the University of San Francisco study shows.

Therefore, if your ads provide a positive in-game experience, then there is little need to worry about frequency, so you can confidently show more of them. Of course, the only reason for caution is when you aren’t in possession of the data to know what the outcomes of a strategy are likely to be. Segmenting your players and knowing when to provide an IAP offer, a rewarded ad opportunity, or an interstitial ad, and to whom, is the key to effective monetization.

Rewarded ads are a great case in point for understanding players’ ad engagement. On average, more than 70% of players don’t engage with rewarded ads, which is a big opportunity, given they pay out on a cost per click (CPC) basis. By testing different positions, rewards and creative, developers have a huge opportunity to improve rewarded ad monetization, and to ensure there are no adverse consequences on IAP revenues down the line.

Summary

We know, by looking at the monetization strategies adopted by the most successful games, that IAP and ad monetization can sit side-by-side and deliver great returns, but to unlock this potential, developers need to take back control of their entire in-game data, confidently optimizing ad performance with regard to its effects on IAP and retention by treating it just like a game mechanic, and use intelligent mediation that serves-up the best value ad for each player, not the lowest value ad for each advertiser.

Until then, you might never know your game’s true revenue potential.

The post deltaDNA CEO Talks Mobile Ad Strategy appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has just released what it calls “Mobile Identity Guide for Marketers,” which highlights the approaches to and the importance of identity management as an emerging practice for marketers, offering best practices in the use of identifiers required for user-level mobile and cross-screen marketing activities.

According to the IAB, the report in question is designed to help marketers develop a strategic approach to identity management and reap benefits that include improved targeting, campaign measurement, attribution, and ad relevancy.

The paper presents various use cases for identification data within two primary categories—targeting and measurement—and explores related applications that range from frequency management and audience amplification to attribution and predictive modeling. In addition, the report outlines the pros and cons of various methodologies used to anonymously match and map users and devices.

“The guide highlights challenges marketers face linking consumers and households across different data sets,” reads a statement provided by the IAB. “Unlike on desktop, where cookies still serve as a connective tissue for web advertising, in mobile, the persistence and acceptance of cookies can vary from device to device and across web and app environments, making them a less reliable method for identification. To compensate, marketers must become adept at mixing and matching a variety of solutions to effectively reach consumers with the right message at the right time, regardless of the device they are using.

Anna Bager, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Mobile and Video at the IAB say that today’s consumers “are juggling up to four different devices on a daily basis, making effective cross-device targeting critical for brands. This primer will help marketers develop strategic approaches to mobile identity management, so they can reach consumers with more relevant, device-specific creative. In this mobile-first, soon to be mobile-only, world, user-level identity management is now table stakes for brands and media companies.”

“Mobile Identity Guide for Marketers” is available here.

The post New School: IAB Primer Educates Brands on Best Practices in Mobile appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

If digital/social marketing was the business equivalent of a band’s cowbell, hotels would be replicating the famous Saturday Night Live “More Cowbell!” sketch.

Major hotels see a need for charged-up marketing via digital and social channels as they work to combat threats from Airbnb, Priceline, Expedia, and other actors in the extremely competitive hotel business.

How to stay “top of mind” with consumers? More hotel marketing professionals than ever plan to increase their budgets for digital marketing and social media strategies.

Evidence for this comes from a recent SiteMinder survey. When the hospitality marketing platform queried hotel professionals worldwide “about their projected budget allocations for the next 12 months, 48 percent of respondents said they planned high spending to go toward digital marketing, while 44 percent said they intended to designate high investment in social media strategy.”

The goal among hotels is to invest in marketing campaigns that encourage customers to “book direct.”

“One reason hotel professionals are doubling down on digital marketing and social is the growing market power of accommodations upstart Airbnb,” according to eMarketer. “Hotel operators must also compete with the deep pockets of online travel agencies Priceline and Expedia, both of which spend considerable sums on consumer marketing (and cut) into hotel profits by charging commissions for customer referrals.”

Review of the top 10 U.S. accommodation websites tells the tale about challenges confronting hotels.

“Airbnb ranked as the most visited accommodation website in Q4 2016, receiving nearly 88 million visits, up 42 percent from Q4 2015,” reports eMarketer. “Priceline Group’s Booking.com came in second, with more than 82 million visits and a 24 percent growth rate, while Expedia-owned Hotels.com was fourth, with more than 65 million visits, up 25 percent year on year.”

Did any hotel chains make the top five chart? Only two: Marriott and Hilton.

The post More Cowbell! Hotels See Bigger Digital, Social Budgets as Way to Counter Competition appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.