American Marketer


4 steps to make mobile marketing more effective

August 17, 2016

Noor Naseer is director of mobile at Centro Noor Naseer is director of mobile at Centro


By Noor Naseer

When it comes to marketing, the mobile numbers do not lie, and the future is promising. Mobile ad expenditures are projected to exceed $100 billion this year, capturing more than 50 percent of the digital media market. By 2019, that proportion will jump to more than 70 percent.

The vast majority of marketers want to reach consumers in the 18- to 54-year-old segment. With more than 76 percent of U.S. adults owning smartphones and 25 percent relying on mobile devices almost exclusively for Internet access, mobile has become a clear choice to get in front of consumers of all ages.

Whether they are engaging with owned content or advertising, today’s always-on consumers demand great user experiences. Marketers need to create mature strategies that match consumers’ expectations and interesting, relevant ads that match their habits.

Here are four steps to make mobile marketing more effective:

1. Deliver cross-channel experiences. The trend toward mobile is something most consumers have in common, but as marketers, we also need to recognize the different ways people interact with devices and screens. How they respond depends on content type, time of day, screen size, and dozens of other factors.

Some consumers find the mobile Web more intuitive than mobile applications. Perhaps they have certain needs that make them more likely to take the next step on a desktop screen.

Others prefer the simplicity of mobile checkouts and will exclusively make purchases using apps, which account for over half of the time users spend on digital media.

This is why brands work to offer unique experiences to consumers based on their screens (e.g., a more immersive experience on a tablet and a simplistic layout on the mobile Web).

Knowing what works on each platform helps marketers create cohesive cross-channel experiences and improves conversion rates. Is the creative messaging more compelling on the desktop site or the mobile web? Is the mobile app more user-friendly? The answers can influence how marketers strategically deliver cross-channel messaging.

2. Leverage location-based targeting. Some form of location targeting represents most marketers’ time spent in building mature mobile strategies. Location data provides insights into where a person is in the world and the promotions, information, or offerings that will suit her circumstances.

Knowing where people work, eat, live and socialize enables marketers to target consumers with more relevant campaigns. They can send notifications and offers based on mobile users’ proximity to bricks-and-mortar locations or guide them to online destinations after they leave physical points of interest.

Build customer location segments, and test them against one another. Develop location profiles around millennials, moms and travelers based on real-world foot traffic patterns distinctly associated with that group.

Tabulate key performance indicators (KPIs) such as in-store foot traffic to establish which location-based strategies to which the target audiences react best.

Consider testing a location-based segment against a paralleling content segment. For instance, a location-based traveler profile can be tested against a mobile location segment built off of users who frequently consume travel content on mobile devices.

3. Do not overlook viewability. Viewability tracks only the impressions users can see so brands can assess how effectively their ads capture attention. To maximize viewability, partner with a Media Rating Council-accredited firm that can analyze how viewability impacts click-through rates and post-click activity.

If a certain media strategy or publisher does not offer MRC accreditation on viewability, work with an organization that runs full-screen interstitials or Interactive Advertising Bureau-certified mobile adhesion units that remain in view so viewability can still be maximized.

4. Create the possibility for retargeting. Retargeting is a tried-and-true desktop tactic for brands in all categories.

In ecommerce specifically, it is a way to remind customers of abandoned shopping carts and products of interest. Of course, this tactic is of great interest to marketers, but traditional cookie-based retargeting doesn’t work as well on mobile sites compared to desktop browsers.

However, technology is catching up.

Some mobile players have built out robust JavaScript libraries that place tags on mobile sites and apps, enabling marketers to track mobile interactions and historical browsing patterns over time. They can then predict a user’s likelihood to reengage, allowing for retargeting tactics.

MATURE MOBILE marketing strategies tailor tactics to consumers’ online and offline preferences.

Understanding how potential customers shop and why is crucial to effective targeting, as is knowing who they are.

Leverage the power of mobile to create relevant, timely campaigns that truly resonate.

Noor Naseer is director of mobile at Centro, Chicago. Reach her at