Fine Tuning a Mobile Advertising Campaign


mobile4_small.jpgADOTAS — I have been evangelizing a lot lately about how businesses can successfully make the jump into mobile advertising.

I have especially emphasized the advantages to advertisers of making use of mobile Internet ad networks to achieve high click-through and conversion rates with a reasonable budget. But as all marketers and media planning professionals know, there is more to a campaign than just planning and flipping the switch. In this article, I will address ways that advertisers can fine-tune mobile campaigns in order to ensure stellar results.

I take as an example an advertiser on the BuzzCity Global Mobile Advertising Network that ran a campaign offering a free downloadable sample. This advertiser’s experience left a number of key takeaways for mobile advertisers, both positive and negative. On the surface, the campaign appeared to be a success. It generated 150,000 views per day to the campaign landing page, with a click-through rate of 1.89 percent. However, when we dig a little deeper, it turns out that the campaign only generated about a 5 percent conversion rate. In other words, only about one out of every twenty people completed the click-through process and the free download.

Even though it ultimately resulted in a poor conversion rate, the campaign generated a notable amount of traffic, and the advertiser did a number of things right. First, they made use of both banner and text ads. This is good because some mobile web publishers only deliver text ads and some only banner ads, and others both banners and text. Running both types ensured that the ads would show up on as many relevant mobile web sites as possible. Second, the advertiser bid high, but not too high, for clicks. A lot of advertisers who have never used mobile before have a hard time envisioning what their ad buy looks like.

But mobile is not a mystery—with self-serve ad networks like the one BuzzCity runs, just think of Google Adwords or similar auction based systems. So, as is the case with most mobile campaigns, bidding high was definitely an advantage because it ensured that ads would be shown as frequently as possible and they would successfully bid for as much inventory as possible. On the other hand, not bidding too high was important for keeping the ROI as high as possible. The third positive takeaway is particularly important: they checked the campaign settings and their bids regularly. This is an absolute must as mobile advertising is a dynamic medium, and mobile ad campaigns must also be dynamic. Finally, ad text was straightforward and included a clear call-to-action—an absolute must for effectively driving traffic.

Even though this advertiser got good results on the front end of their campaign, not many of the click-throughs translated to conversions. An analysis of the tactical approach reveals the reason why. The ad text created the expectation that the free download could be completed right away. However, the user experience was just too unfriendly, with too many steps involved. Users were asked to answer a long series of questions. This is a big no-no when you are trying to hold peoples’ attention, particularly when they are surfing on their mobile phones.

After answering the questions, users were asked to download an application that would facilitate the download. Adding an extra download to the process is usually a big turnoff for users. Users then had to log off the Internet, launch the application, and then click on a link for the actual download—yet another barrier to users getting the payoff they were expecting.

In general, we find that the following three factors are most important for advertisers to keep close tabs on: 1.) exposure; 2.) click-throughs; 3.) conversions. If an advertiser finds that their campaign is not getting good exposure, we’ve found that it is usually helpful to raise their cost-per-click bids, and revisit the audience they have chosen to target. Often the target audience is too narrow. With mobile, there are a number of parameters you can adjust and fine-tune to tap into your target audience. These include content channels, time targets and phone type. If the target is too selective, the advertisement could be severely limiting the number of interested prospective viewers.

What if an ad gets good exposure due to high bids and placement on a slew of mobile web sites, but a bad click-through rate? Just like other ad mediums, this is usually the result of ineffective copy. If this is the case, the first action an advertiser should take is to re-visit their messaging and ask the following questions: Is it concise? Does it appeal to the audiences they are trying to reach? Speaking of audiences, it also helps in this situation to once again examine the target audience. It may be too broad for what the advertiser is offering or what they want to accomplish. The advertiser may want to narrow their intended audience to better target and achieve an improved click-through rate.

Finally, I always advise advertisers to test, test, test. Do not be afraid to test multiple ad types and various approaches, especially early on in campaigns. You can never do enough testing, even after a campaign has begun. Remember that mobile advertising is a dynamic medium—which is part of its appeal—and part of the challenge is to constantly try new techniques that may improve results.

Mobile is probably the most targeted means of advertising ever devised. With creativity, planning, and by being versatile and willing to adjust your campaign in order the find the best fit to achieve the best results, you too can tap into the power of this medium.


  1. There is good coverage of Buzzcity in a Bango whitepaper available for free download at

    Its second in a series of mobile advertising white papers by Peggy Anne Salz, mobile guru and chief analyst at MSearchGroove, the “Mobile advertising for the masses” white paper looks at mobile advertising on three mobile social networking sites – BuzzCity, and Peperonity – comparing the level of targeting and analysis that each provided.

    The need for an additional comprehensive mobile analytics package is then assessed to fill in the gaps and give the big picture view of what the campaigns achieved and help plan future advertising.

  2. We develop branded mobile games as well as branded coupons and catalogs and we have seen that some ad agencies and companies use the mobile application for a once off campaign and not part of their marketing plan. They advertise a game for 3 months, hand out the prizes and move on – there is definitely a lot to be learnt about the value of mobile marketing.


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