Here’s What You Need to Know About Mobile Ad Networks

Sometime in 2014, mobile’s total share of U.S. Internet traffic surpassed that of traditional access points — desktops, laptops, mainframes (just kidding) — for the first time.

It’s unlikely to ever lose its lead. At least, not until the Singularity happens.

But mobile’s rapid rise and newfound dominance present tremendous challenges for marketers who, quite frankly, have grown complacent with old-school digital outreach techniques. Like the original shift to digital, the mobile revolution caught many brands flat-footed. Independent marketers — the workhorses who grease the wheels of digital commerce and often earn tidy (if hard-won) sums in the process — were no less put out.

Seems like few knew what to do about what some are calling Web 3.0. Many still don’t.

One particular aspect of mobile marketing offers some promise for change-weary marketers. Digital advertising pioneers like Jeff Kamikow have been crowing about mobile ad networks for years, and folks are finally starting to take them seriously. If you rely on mobile marketing to drive revenues or simply wish to get more involved with a rapidly growing, increasingly lucrative slice of the ad space, here’s what you need to know about mobile ad networks.

  1. Mobile Ad Targeting Now Surpasses Desktop Targeting

Mobile ad growth has lagged mobile use for some time, mostly because many blue-chip brands (and some marketers) have been skeptical about its potential. That corner has finally been turned. According to a study by eXelate, advertisers now target mobile users at nearly the same rates as desktop users, and that percentage continues to rise. Moreover, mobile ad spend passed desktop and other traditional digital channels to claim a majority share of total digital ad spend for the first time ever in 2014.

  1. Mobile Ad Targeting Teaches Marketers About Their Prospects

Marketing can sometimes feel like a chicken-and-egg game: The best way to gather data and insight about customers and prospects is to analyze their purchase histories, but it’s hard to convince people to buy when you don’t really know what they want.

Thanks to low (at least for now) CPC rates and plenty of available mobile real estate, mobile ad targeting is a relatively cost-effective way to segment audiences by trial and error. The longer you run your mobile ad network campaigns, the more actionable data you’ll gather, the better you’ll target hyper-specific consumer groups, and the higher you’ll push your ROI.

  1. Mobile Networks Support Opportunistic Ad Service

“Omnichannel” — basically, the merging of online and brick-and-mortar — is all the rage in B2C circles these days.

Buyers have been “showrooming” in person and buying online for years, challenging the traditional retail model. Thanks to mobile ad targeting, retailers and brick-and-mortar service providers (restaurants, in particular) are going on the offensive.

Using GPS (longer-range) or RF (in-store) mobile beacons that sense when a prospect is nearby, merchants can laser-target high-value prospects with relevant, opportunistic ads that dovetail with previous purchase records or browsing histories. Say a customer purchases clothing from a retailer’s e-store, then walks past that retailer’s physical storefront a week or two later, smartphone in hand. The retailer serves a “Like your new purchase? Check out this deal at our XXX Retail Lane store!” ad, the customer turns around and walks into the store, and everyone wins.

Are you excited about the promise of mobile ad networks, or are you still waiting to be convinced?