There was a time when the worlds of search and display advertising were completely separate, given the emphasis on click-driven search ads versus branding-focused display ads.
Then mobile happened — consumers shifted from desktops to smartphones and tablets as their primary “action” devices for researching and making purchases, which brought a whole new set of preferences, timing and behaviors. Not to mention a huge change in how mobile consumers now interact with ads.
The result: search and display advertising are now overlapping, leaving marketers trying to make sense of converging mobile ad platforms and what that means for driving targeted, qualified leads with limited screen real estate. Mobile display has been predicted to grow rapidly, but it must evolve and learn from the search world’s success.
Together, the two can expand together to ultimately drive a boost in overall mobile ad spending and monetization.
Attribution Key To Display Ad Growth: Track Secondary Actions
While display ads, in an online or television environment, are primarily designed to build brand awareness, the mobile environment caters toward a ready-to-buy audience with a desire to directly engage with content and move through the purchase cycle.
Search ads in mobile have historically resulted in driving users to take a secondary action, such as placing a call, downloading driving directions, accessing maps or booking a reservation. These metrics not only help users find the information they need, but also accurately assign lead attribution and indicate which ads, distribution channels and creative are generating qualified leads (rather than accidental clicks).
It’s time for display ads to evolve and cater to engaged mobile consumers with specific ad creative that drives them to a specialized landing page to fill out a form, receive an emailed coupon, learn about a new local store or product, etc., in order to monetize the action. These attribution metrics are especially important in demonstrating that display ads are yielding mobile consumer leads, encouraging marketers and advertisers to invest more in mobile display.
Leverage Local Relevancy & Geotargeting In Mobile Display Strategies
Local relevancy is one of the most critical factors marketers need to incorporate into their mobile display ad strategies. As our recent xAd-Telmetrics Mobile Path-to-Purchase study showed, the two primary reasons why mobile users interact with mobile ads are local relevancy and local offers.
Additionally, when supercharged with geotargeting technology, mobile display ads can become even more effective by being served up based on the proximity of mobile consumers to particular locales, e.g., retail stores, partner locations, relevant landmarks, etc. This combination of local ad relevancy and location-based targeting will help catapult mobile display response rates and accelerate consumers’ mobile path to purchase.
Target Mobile Display Ads Based On User Profiles & Preferences
While it is difficult to know whether every mobile ad will speak to a particular base of mobile users, today’s targeting technologies have now empowered marketers to tailor and target their ads to groups of people with particular buying propensities and profiles.
This capability plays a major role in maximizing the limited amount of messaging, or real estate, that mobile users see in display ads. The mobile ad must be compelling and relevant enough to cause them to click for further information in hopes that the prompted secondary action will help them fulfill their needs and influence their purchase decisions.
In some cases, this may mean helping mobile consumers decide to make a purchase more quickly than they previously planned or highlighting a business that they didn’t know existed.
Mobile Shift In Digital Marketplace
The digital marketplace is currently experiencing an important shift as more marketers are pursuing both mobile search and display ads to reach the unique audience of ready-to-buy mobile consumers.
The promise of increased spend and monetization for the entire mobile ad category can be reached, but mobile display advertising must first evolve beyond being viewed as a pure branding play without concrete mobile metrics.
This includes incorporating the key tenets of successful search ads — including establishing secondary action strategies to drive user engagement, taking a localized approach, and targeting mobile ads based on mobile user profiles and preferences. These components will help mobile display become a true source of mobile monetization — and, when paired with mobile search, the sky will then be the limit for monetizing the overall mobile ad industry.