How performance marketers can harness the power of mobile

By Shahnaz MahmudAugust 6, 2014

If performance marketers know mobile is taking over as the primary device consumers use to make a purchase, why is it that there still exists a massive question mark over how to market and track it? And it is a truth about mobile fast becoming the dominant purchasing device, at least according to recent data by Custora. The predictive analytics platform determined that mobile traffic to e-commerce sites has increased from 3 percent to nearly 37 percent in the last four years. In addition, mobile e-commerce revenue climbed from $2.2 billion in 2010 to $42.8 billion last year. According to the research, mobile e-commerce revenue is set to reach $50 billion by year’s end. From Custora’s perspective, indeed, mobile is taking more traffic away from desktop e-commerce.

It’s certainly not that advertisers have been slow to enter the mobile ad space. In fact, brands lined up pretty quickly to secure inventory from publishers and app developers. In short order, ad networks, DSPs, SSPs and other media and technology businesses arose.

But for performance marketers, it is a great challenge connecting with mobile users and meeting performance expectations. This very topic will be discussed at LeadsCon New York Friday, Aug. 15. The panel discussion is called “Tracking Mobile’s Performance: A Comprehensive Look at Lead Generation on Mobile Devices.”

Creative engagement

Marketing-wise, the key, it seems, is as old as salt in the ad world. Yep, it’s all down to engagement. But, going forward, it’s about creative engagement. Time to retire your static banner ads and innovate. By way of example, Bing implemented a new ad format, Hero Ad, that allows consumers to take action immediately. Let’s say you’re in the automotive industry. Consumers can actually book a test drive, view other models and dial in to ask questions. Content continues to be king and social media, well, its queen. The good news is things can be done quickly and more cost-effectively (read: cheaply). Your goal is to be at the center of the social sharing game.

Sarah Bundy, CEO of All Inclusive Marketing, raises many important points on the topic. She’s been very vocal that group buying, gaming and reward hybrids should be a strong part of the performance marketing mix.

And it’s those marketers with a solid presence (or are building one) in areas like the pay-per-call model, apps, podcasting, video marketing and YouTube who will emerge the strongest contenders. Center to that, of course, is having a mobile and social-friendly version of your site.

“Content (video, podcast, infographic, articles, etc.) and social (community) are going to continue to be huge, along with a more integrated approach to engagement and communications,” says Bundy. “What I mean by that is using one strategy alone is not going to cut it anymore. Affiliates and merchants need to be more dynamic and fluid. They need to understand different buying behaviors and which marketing channels offer the best connectivity, engagement and conversion opportunities based on the stage the buyer is at and which type of device they are using.”

Increase on conversion rates

Let’s look at some recent data. According to Struq, a cross-device retargeting and ad personalization platform, research it conducted in the last three months concluded that people click onto mobile ads nearly twice as often as ads seen on computers. That said, Struq also determined that a consumer will still use a computer above anything else to purchase items. However, mobile does have a hand in that click-to-purchase. Also according to Struq, there’s a 38 percent increase on conversion rates from 1-4 devices. The company believes the rate that people are viewing an ad and then making a purchase from their phone is on an upward trajectory – with mobile performance growing 24 percent faster than computer performance month on month. Why? Struq points to factors like more mobile paying technology. And apparently, mobile buyers spend more per transaction than on a PC. Struq’s view is similar to Bundy’s – it’s the unification of wherever your display is – computer, mobile, social – that’s key.

Celtra, a mobile ad technology provider, also agrees with Bundy that it’s the type of advertising marketers utilize that will translate into cash-in-hand. Its quarterly benchmark report (Q1 of 2014) found sizable growth in mobile display ad performance, particularly in video. Celtra says that video play rates for standard ad formats remain just above 12 percent (from 2012) and have increased by 38 percent for expandable banners. The company’s report also says video completion rates have significantly jumped in the last quarter to 52 percent for standard formats and 77 percent for native formats.

Take that well into account when you are thinking about creative engagement.

A word to the wise: The onus is on performance marketers to continuously create, measure, assess, adjust and ultimately optimize mobile ads to reap the benefits.

LeadsCon NY 2014 will take place at the Marriott Marquis in New York City Aug. 14-15.

This article is brought to you by LeadsCon New York.

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