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In Mobile, Learn the Audience Before Placing Ads

June 10, 2014 By Heather Fletcher
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Before advertising with publishers, ask them about their audiences' behavior. Ask about context and content, rather than pure numbers, say the speakers from "Timing: The Missing Ingredient in Mobile Advertising."

Knowing who the audiences are and what they want matters more than the sheer number of eyeballs seeing your ad. "Audience and who and scale infinitely matter," says Chris Cunningham, co-founder and CEO of New York-based appssavvy. He and Adam Shlachter—head of media activation, North America, at Amsterdam-based DigitasLBi—spoke on June 4 at Integrated Marketing Week in New York.

Knowing the audience allows marketers to reach their targets, because they know the best times and ways to show ads on mobile devices, Cunningham says. That's a more efficient, less expensive and more profitable way to reach mobile users, he says. In other words, more people will be interacting with fewer ads.

The way mobile marketers operate now is to buy a lot of inventory without gaining insight on the audiences and their behaviors, then optimizing that glut of inventory, he says. Without gaining insight ahead of time, that may be a hollow metric, Cunningham says.

Mobile marketing also can't be approached in a one-size-fits-all manner—for the marketer or for the audience, Cunningham and Shlachter agree.

For instance, "premium" inventory may be in gaming apps like Fruit Ninja, which is more popular among mobile users than Rolling Stone, Cunningham says. At the same time, the best ad placement may happen when players reach certain levels. Congratulate them in the ad, rather than interrupting their games to show the ad. It's just as important in mobile for marketers to know what they shouldn't do, Shlachter says.

Find a natural break in the user experience and, for instance, place an ad as a light transition in a video, to remind the users who brought them the experience, Cunningham says.

Also, don't make assumptions. Yes, calendar apps are utilitarian, but users may be scheduling their lives there. If marketers are trying to reach concertgoers, for instance, placing an ad about the Pharrell Williams concert at the Apollo may appeal.

"Keep an open mind," Shlachter says. "Experiment."


 

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