Media Buyers: Roll Your Own Mobile Strategy

Five Tips For Upgrading Your Mobile Approach

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Jason Spero
Jason Spero

In 2009, the media buying community discovered mobile media works. Advertisers in a broad range of verticals shared results proving mobile is an effective medium for driving awareness, acquisition and purchase. "Is this the Year of Mobile?" can be retired. Media buyers are being asked -- 'What's your mobile strategy for 2010?'

Many factors contributed to the development of the mobile ecosystem and the excitement we see. Dozens of companies, including the MMA and the IAB, worked to build the foundation of mobile media. It all came together in 2009 as mobile web usage exploded, with more than 61 million people in the US accessing it in December 2009, according to Nielsen. In 2010, agencies, advertisers and publishers will need a plan for mobile.

The top five things you need to know about buying mobile media in 2010:

1) Ask for data. Ask for help.
Mobile advertising is 3-4 years old and evolving rapidly. There's valuable data for media buyers and mobile sellers can educate and assist you in gathering it no matter what your target audience. Ask sellers for case studies on mobile campaigns in your category and with your goals. There are a number of free reports with valuable market data to help with planning. These include Nielson Mobile, comScore, Flurry Pulse and AdMob Mobile Metrics.

2) Learn about (don't worry about) different platforms.
The mobile Web is accessible from most phones, and you can run your campaigns across all platforms to target mobile Web users or on a specific platform. You can take advantage of rich-media formats designed specifically for smartphones and create a more robust version of your landing page for users on devices supporting a richer Web experience. You can also reach users as they engage with apps on a specific platform or promote your own app if you have one.

3) Talk to publishers and ad networks.
Prior to 2009, ad networks drove much of the innovation in the space with their focus on mobile. However in 2010, many publishers will have ad serving capabilities and mobile rate cards due to investments in 2009. Marketers now have more mobile media options than ever before.

4) Set your expectations for what mobile can and can't do.
Focus on your needs and let your mobile seller explain the options available. Mobile promises powerful granularity based on location, need states, device capabilities and more for precise targeting -- albeit on a limited scale in 2010. Sellers can provide data to target effectively and to ensure you don't overcut your audience.

Rich media will grow significantly in 2010, but the solutions are limited compared to online. Web-based Flash is still not available on most phones. There are different rich media solutions for different platforms; some work on webkit browsers (Android, Research In Motion, Windows, Palm Pre) and some are vendor-specific solutions for iPhone apps.

You can use tools for tracking in mobile, but third party ad serving and campaign management functionality is limited. Site-tracking offerings will improve dramatically in 2010.

5) Drive traffic, track user interactions, repeat.
Jump in. Ask sellers what brands in your vertical are active in mobile and read case studies. Start with a basic call-to-action and drive users to a simple landing page with a few relevant means of engagement. Track what happens. Mobile user behavior may surprise you -- you won't believe their insatiable appetite for video content, for example -- and use the learnings from one campaign to inform future mobile campaign strategies.

Jason Spero is Vice President and General Manager of North America for AdMob
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