What Is Mobile Advertising? (Plus Methods, Types, and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 11, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As part of sales and marketing strategies, companies develop advertisements to reach a wider audience. Mobile advertising is a common method that targets individual customers. Understanding how to target customers using mobile ads can help you generate more leads and reach your marketing goals. In this article, we discuss mobile advertising, explain how it works, outline methods, show how companies set targets, list types, and highlight tips for implementing this type of advertising.

What is mobile advertising?

Mobile advertising, or mobile ads, targets clients through websites and mobile applications that they use. Mobile ads allow you to target users through their search histories, interests, or location. The most common channels for mobile ads are text messages and in-app texts. These texts may appear on website displays, video ads, and in-app ads.

Generally, mobile ads are dynamic and make it easier for you to reach customers. This is because of the proliferation of mobile devices that have made it easier to predict user behaviour. You may then use these predictions to develop marketing strategies to reach a target audience. Digital marketers generally attract a wide range of customers through mobile phones, desktops, and laptops, making it useful to personalize ads for different outlets.

Related: What Is Mobile Marketing? (Components and Best Practices)

How do mobile ads work?

Companies implement mobile ad campaigns using customer data from mobile devices. For example, a company may gather information from web searches, website visits, or apps to identify products and services that appeal to customers. Then the company may determine the best ad channel to communicate with prospective clients. When determining the right strategy, the company considers the end goal, company budget, product and service offering, and product market. For example, they may use videos, texts, images, or any combination. When using videos, companies ensure that they're concise and catch customers' attention faster.

They also use entertaining videos or offer discounts when customers click on a link or scan a code that directs them to an information or sales page. There are different formats for mobile ads, and they depend on the advertiser's goals and certain ad functions. For example, these ads may come in bidding systems where advertisers quote their budgets and target audience for the ad. They may also specify where and how they want the ad to appear and what action they want customers to take. Bidding helps company ads to appear to a wider audience.

Related: Different Types of Advertising Methods to Promote a Business

Methods of mobile ads

There are different mobile ad methods and strategies that you can employ depending on the goal, product type, and target audience. The costs associated with these methods may also vary depending on the ad duration and target. It's important to factor advertising costs into marketing strategies and ensure that they align with the company's budget. You may also consider multiple ad strategies to identify the most efficient. The different methods of advertising are:

  • Cost per click: Under this method, the advertiser or company incurs a cost per click on a website or mobile ad. This cost is regardless of whether the click leads to a sale.

  • Cost per mile: Here, the advertiser incurs a cost per several impressions on their ad. An impression is each instance where the ad loads on a website or an app.

  • Cost per install: With this method, the advertiser pays for each app download from customers. The ads in these downloads may include user incentives, such as gift options or reward cards.

  • Cost per action: An advertiser pays each time a customer completes a specific action on the website or app. These actions may include completing a purchase, signing up for a product or service, or completing a download.

Related: What Is In-App Advertising? (With Benefits and Tips)

How mobile ads target customers

You can use different approaches from print or television advertising when planning mobile ads. Unlike traditional advertising methods, mobile ads allow you to target a specific market. You can then dissect the market and appeal to the different fractions through mobile ad channels. The different mobile channels you may use in targeting an audience are:

  • Mobile devices: These ads target customers based on people who use specific mobile devices and tablets. They may also target the users based on the device model and specification.

  • Operating systems: A company may target users based on the operating system for a specific device type. They may offer functionalities that aren't available to other devices with a different operating system.

  • Geolocation: Companies direct these ads to customers based on their location. For example, a customer may receive an ad notification for a retail store when their map data shows they're close by.

  • Specific time frame: These ads target users during a specific time of the day. For example, you may receive ads for coffee in the morning or food during lunch hours.

  • Behaviour: Here, you analyze customer data to develop behaviour patterns and use them to set targets. For example, you may use social media data to analyze customer preferences, such as their likes, companies they follow and engage with, and groups they join.

  • Demographic: These ads target customers within a gender group, age range, occupation, or any specific audience. You may gather these data through customer forms and surveys or their data history.

  • Mobile carrier: Here, you highlight ads to customers based on the network provider. Telecommunication companies or network providers mostly use this option to provide updates to users.

Related: 13 Effective Advertising Strategies to Increase Revenue

Types of mobile ads

As a marketing employee, consider the different ways you can introduce ads to customers and how you can track their performance over time based on expectations. Then, you may develop key performance indicators to analyze how effective the ad methods are and where you can make changes. Here are some methods for presenting ads to customers based on advertising strategies and marketing goals:

  • Image texts and ad banners: You may find ads at the top and bottom of an app or website page in the form of a text, images, or video. The ad contains a link that directs the user to the advertiser's webpage or a specific location when they click it.

  • Click to message: An advertiser may place this link in third-party apps or websites to contact users directly. When the user clicks the link, it directs them to send a message.

  • SMS: Under this method, promoters send direct messages to customers. The message may detail the product and service offering or include a link to show more.

  • Push notification: Push notifications pop up occasionally on mobile devices to remind users of incomplete orders, sales events, rewards, or product updates. This method allows advertisers to send messages even when customers aren't using the app or clicking on the website.

  • Location-based ads: These ads may appear as texts or graphics that companies send to target locations. The company uses location data to curate these ads for a select audience.

  • QR codes: These are digital black and white squares that users scan to direct them to the advertiser's site, contact, or other promotional channel. Unlike links, users scan QR codes with their cameras to access the website or app.

  • Video ads: Video ads are highly efficient as they catch users' attention better and faster. They give a more visual experience of the product and service offering while helping the user decide.

  • Click to download: This type of ad leads the user to an application store to download the advertiser's app. These ads are specific to different operating system users.

  • Interstitial ads: These video or graphic ads occupy the entire screen and appear when using an app or visiting a website. Depending on the advertiser, these ads may run for a particular time, after which you can exit it and continue on the app.

  • Click to call: The user clicks a link to call a company representative directly. The link automatically opens the call app on the user's phone and dials the number.

  • Native ads: Native ads are like banner ads, as they appear in an app. They blend with the app's natural features and seem less like an advertisement.

Related: What Are Banner Ads? (With Definition and Importance)

Tips for implementing mobile ads

Here are some tips you can consider in developing and presenting effective mobile ads for a company:

  • Analyze the message. Advertisers design mobile ads to be concise, so it's important to understand the purpose of the ad to convey its message.

  • Optimize the website. Before launching ads, review the company website to ensure it's user- and mobile-friendly. You can also optimize it for fast downloads and format web pages to fit mobile screens and devices.

  • Consider video and sound files. When developing graphics for mobile ads, factor in file sizes. Uploading videos and pictures with appropriate sizes make viewing and downloading easier and faster.

  • Try different strategies. Before deciding on a mobile strategy and ad channel, you may review different options for different targets. Then try combinations and analyze the results to determine the best advertising strategy.

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