When we look at how people are currently using their mobile devices, we see that there is a huge discrepancy in the amount of advertising done on them and the amount of time spent by people using them.
Although there are significant amounts of adverts, compared to other formats, the advertising is minimal. Think about a regular desktop webpage, around 20-30% of the entire page is likely to be some kind of advertisement. In television, the average 30 minute show has 10 minutes of ads, meaning that 33% of the entire show time is taken up with ads.
Yet mobile, which has a far higher viewing rate is falling behind this as companies are not taking full advantage of the platform.
So what should companies be doing to improve their mobile marketing strategies?
One of the main reasons that companies have not truly utilized the potential of mobile advertising is simply that there is no cut and paste examples unlike other formats. Where you have traditional skyscrapers, banners etc on desktop, these kind of options are simply not available with mobile.
Unlike other traditional formats which have set pixel sizes, experimentation must be necessary to get advertising right on a variety of smartphones. This is not just about different manufacturers, but even model changes. Think about the difference between the iPhone 6 and 6 plus, these will require different sizes of ads or even completely different formats.
This means that a robust mobile marketing strategy needs to be able to experiment with how their advertisements are shown or how their site/app is designed. This sounds simple, but requires failure to be accepted, something that many companies are simply not good at.
The success of ads is not how many people see them or how often they can stop people in their tracks, it is through how people are interacting with them. If I see an advert for a restaurant in San Francisco, when I am in New York, it has no relevance to me, so is a waste of time showing it to me. Equally, if there is something that I am interested in, but it is shoved in my face at every opportunity, my interest may turn to active avoidance.
An apt analogy is the people who approach you in the street trying to get money for charity. Their cause is great and something that in other circumstances many would be interested in. However, people do not want to be stopped going about their regular business and harassed into spending money. The same is true of ads, regardless of how interested people may be in a product, if they are pestered by it, it will become an annoyance.
One of the joys of mobile as a platform is that it has huge capabilities in terms of supported media. This means that advertisers have significant opportunities to engage, rather than being stuck with a single image or gif, like many desktop browser sites.
The vast majority of modern smartphones have touch based interfaces, which means that advertisers have a unique opportunity in interactivity that other formats do not have. There are very few companies who have successfully embraced this and people are looking around them for the first company to successfully do so.
A huge amount of what we do on our phones is tracked and analyzed. You can see who you have called, which sites you have visited, where you have travelled, which apps are used the most and millions of other metrics. These make mobile easily the most trackable format for advertisers.
This gives a huge advantage to advertisers as they have the opportunity to target their audiences in increasingly narrowed ways. It gives the opportunity to send ads that are more relevant than ever before, even down to do where somebody is when they see the ad or at a specific time of day when they are more likely to be using a particular site or app.
Ignoring this kind of insight, even if it is initially more expensive would be a huge mistake for any company looking to take advantage of advertising in the mobile space.