How to Win at Mobile Marketing

What brands can do to stay relevant on the mobile Web.

mobile ads

Mobile Marketing

Michelle Smith is a freelance writer who covers marketing. She welcomes your feedback via email.

The mobile Web is constantly getting bigger — and better.

Fifty-five percent of Americans own smartphones, while another 42 percent have tablets.

Seventy-three percent of Facebook’s 1.15 billion users log in with the social network’s mobile app. And YouTube recently revealed that 40 percent of its traffic comes from mobile.

That’s significant for marketers trying to find their place online. Let’s take a look at what brands can do to stay relevant on the mobile Web — and what they can learn from companies that do it well.

Keep it simple — and short

We amended the classic acronym K.I.S.S. (keep it simple — well, you know) for our own mobile-marketing purposes. Short and simple marketing campaigns are the number-one way to succeed in the mobile arena.

When someone views your ad on a mobile device, it’s likely that they’re also playing a game, checking Facebook or waiting in line at the grocery store. That means your ad probably won’t have their full attention.

To capture even the shortest attention spans, keep your ads concise and to-the-point. Minimize text in favor of images. Adjust size for smartphone and tablet screens. And if you share your videos online on mobile platforms, make them brief and clear, avoiding multi-subject shots or storylines.

Follow their lead: Google. The company advertised its new tablet, the Nexus 7, with a series of short videos that managed to be both entertaining and touching — most of them in under a minute.

Focus on high-quality content

When we go online, we’re overloaded with information. That’s even more so on mobile devices, where every post is competing — in an ever-smaller space — for viewers’ eyes.

To help your ads stand out in a crowd, keep the focus on quality — something that’s often forgotten in the quantity- and speed-driven world of mobile media. An added bonus? Well-made ads help combat the low-quality screens and sound systems of many mobile devices.

We’re not saying you should sacrifice quantity — frequent posts are especially important when targeting a mobile audience. But you should devote equal resources to creating quality marketing campaigns. Set your brand apart with superior audio, visuals and images.

Follow their lead: Michael Kors. The fashion house was one of the first to try out Instagram ads last year. The brand’s first post was high-quality and professional, while still managing to match the artsy, amateur vibe of the site.

Engage your users

One of the best things about mobile marketing on social media? It’s a two-way street. So while you use social media to reach a huge audience, you can also interact with and engage that audience, fostering greater brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.

One easy way to interact: ask questions. Draw comments on your Facebook ads by asking about customers’ favorite products or services from your brand. Get retweets, replies and favorites on Twitter by eliciting your followers’ opinions on current events or brand changes.

To take it a step further, allow users to contribute directly to your marketing campaign. Ask them to share photos or videos using a branded hashtag. Incentivize engagement by incorporating the posts into your TV or online ads.

Follow their lead: KFC. The fast-food chain’s most recent campaign, “How Do You KFC?” encourages fans to use social media to post footage of their experiences with the brand — many are featured on KFC’s site.

One thing that’s clear? No matter which tactic you take, mobile marketing is here to stay. And if you want your brand to stay competitive in an increasingly mobile world, you better hop on board.