Three Tips to Prepare for Mobile Ad Buying

“Tips on Tuesdays” is a blog series written by AppNexus’ clients and partners. The series features practical insights on how various companies have been successful in today’s digital-advertising ecosystem and offers tips for how you can be too. Today’s post is written by Pim van Boekhold, Senior Programmatic Buying Specialist at Blue Mango Interactive.

For most of us in digital advertising, mobile is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. You’re not sure what to do with it, yet you can only ignore it for so long. For the past couple of years we’ve run mobile ads as part of our holistic media offering, but we felt restricted by mobile’s limitations around scale and data. It's hard to put significant dollars into a channel when the efficiencies aren’t there, however, we knew mobile would be important to our business and, like the gorilla, we couldn’t ignore it.

That’s why we were excited to participate in both the alpha and beta for AppNexus’ mobile buying offering. It was a new approach that tackled head-on the pain points limiting our growth in mobile. We’ve experienced some great early successes, including with our partner Vodafone (read the case study here), which helped us gain an understanding of some of mobile’s nuances. For those ready to make the leap, here are a few tips to get started.

Take advantage of mobile’s rich data

In addition to many of the targeting dimensions you know from display, mobile offers a few new data options, including GPS, device make/model, and phone carrier, that can really help focus your campaigns. While it might not always be intuitive when to use each of these new parameters, it is worth experimenting with them. For example, in the Vodafone campaign, we found that GPS location data performed 63% better than IP-based geo location to drive conversions.

Focus on conversions, not clicks

While I can’t confirm how widespread the issue of “fat finger clicks” is, our experience tells us that clicks are not the best indicator of success for mobile. When running the Vodafone campaign, we set up mobile-specific landing pages to track our conversions, which was critical to understanding performance. For example, we found that for mobile campaigns with carrier targeting set to Vodafone, the conversion rate was 198% higher than those that targeted other carriers; however, the click-through rate was only 12% higher.

Size matters

The mobile ecosystem has historically had very fragmented supply. While narrowing your target audience using data and other targeting options can improve ROI, you need a large pool of inventory to achieve any scale if you start pulling more than a couple levers. Being able to apply our mobile buys across multiple major supply sources was crucial in scaling the success of our campaigns while fulfilling budget requirements.

Mobile is maturing quickly and we are excited to see its progress accelerated. As transactions become more efficient and scalable, we look forward to developments in other areas of mobile, such as new and engaging creative formats and expanded tracking metrics, to help marketers justify mobile-advertising investments. While mobile isn’t quite where display is today, the time to start preparing for it is now.

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