The phone has become an integral part of our daily lives. Consumers browse for information, use price comparison sites, and involve friends and family in purchasing decisions — all from their mobile handset. As a result, mobile advertising is having a much more serious impact on the entire purchasing process.
It used to be if you wanted consumer awareness you advertised on TV; if you wanted conversions you invested in coupons. But with the ever-increasing popularity of mobile advertising, the entire “funnel” of the consumer's purchasing process is changing.
So just how can an advertiser optimise mobile across all points in the funnel and what are the purchasing stages to be aware of?
1. Building awareness
Whether shopping from a smartphone or a tablet device, the purchasing funnel usually begins online as the consumer starts looking for a product or service to satisfy a need. Using mobile display and rich media ads can help significantly to drive consumer awareness at this initial stage.
2. Doing research
The next stage is the research phase. According to Google and research specialist Ipsos MediaCT, smartphone users performing a search are more likely to be in the later stages of the purchase funnel, continuing their research or even going to see a product.
The research found that the most common single action after a smartphone search was to visit a store in person, which was completed by 55% of respondents.
3. Taking time to consider
The consumer enters the consideration phase after they are satisfied that they have done enough research. This often involves using a mobile device in-store, comparing prices and looking at items while they are on the move.
This presents a prime opportunity for mobile advertisers to use location-based advertising in real-time. On the PC you can target someone sitting at home or in the office, but on a mobile device you can target the right person at exactly the right time, who has the right intent and is in the place you want them to be.
4. Making the purchase
Finally, the consumer enters the purchase stage, either in-store or on the mobile. Stats from the IAB show that 24% of consumers have bought a product or service on their phone, with the average transaction increasing from £12.20 to £17.49 in 2011.
So whether the consumer is at home purchasing via their mobile, or physically in-store after considering their purchase, mobile advertising can be a great facilitator.
The complex journey
The customer journey is no longer linear. Complex relationships exist between all advertising channels, whether TV, online or radio. But mobile is unique as an advertising channel: a recent presentation from O2 at the IAB Mobile Engage event showed that mobile was found to be 4.4 times more efficient than TV, and 2.6 times more efficient than digital advertising at driving incremental sales revenue.
The reason? Mobile enables advertisers to be with the consumer throughout the whole process, from initial awareness of a particular product or service, throughout the consideration phase, through to final purchase — and it's for this reason that mobile will continue to steal advertisers away from traditional media.
Tim Finn is head of EMEA at StrikeAd.
With 800 million users worldwide, and operating in 70 languages, Facebook has become the world’s meeting place. Big brands like Coca-Cola and McDonalds have embraced it, your customers and clients probably have personal accounts, setting up a page is free, and very easy.
So should your business be there too?
My view on this is a resounding “it depends”. Take this quick quiz to help you decide whether to get friendly with Facebook, or to market your business on other social media platforms.
If you answer yes to most of the above, then Facebook is definitely for you.
Not so much
If you answer mostly no, then I’d suggest you divert your energies elsewhere.
Why Facebook is for some businesses and not for others
Facebook is a social network; rather it’s still the social network. Facebook’s millions of users update their status regularly with personal stuff. Where they’re going, how they’re feeling, what they did last night. They share things that make them laugh, rant about things that annoy them, laugh, talk, flirt, argue. All human life is there, sometimes in rather more detail than you actually wanted.
In short it’s a vibrant, noisy, lively place where people let their hair down. If your business fits well into this upbeat, social environment, then starting a Facebook page for your business is an excellent idea.
However for an accountancy business, or a firm of commercial surveyors, I’d suggest that maybe Facebook isn’t the right place to be. Ask yourself whether the updates you’d be able to post will look at ease between your neighbour’s holiday snaps and a video of a cat playing the violin.
I’d venture that “Don’t forget to file your tax return by Thursday!” or “Is your business compliant with the Code for Leasing Business Practises 2007?” won’t make you any friends. You’ll be the person standing in the corner at the party asking for the music to be turned down, the one wearing a suit on dress down Friday.
It’s almost unbelievable how quickly the Olympics have come around, with a 2,012-hour countdown to the Games having begun only the other weekend. Ever since we watched Kelly Holmes and Seb Coe jump around Trafalgar Square when London won the Olympic bid, UK marketers have been coming up with creative campaigns left, right and centre to prominently position their brand during the games.
However, there is a concern that those who have not been able to partner with the Olympics in an official capacity might struggle to capture the spotlight. With Brits and tourists descending on the capital this summer, the opportunity to secure outdoor advertising around the areas that matter will be monopolised by sponsors.
Riding the Olympic wave
As non-sponsors look for ways to ride the crest of the Olympic branding wave, we’ve seen a boom in bookings for taxi advertising for the summer of 2012. The iconic design of the Hackney Carriage will be one of the most recognisable symbols of the games, so its exterior becomes a premium advertising platform for a variety of brands. What’s more, the very nature of taxis means they can promote branding in areas otherwise reserved for outdoor marketing campaigns of official partners, taking non-sponsor brands closer to the Games.
Of the myriad of outdoor formats that are available, taxi advertising is one that truly works hard to spread your message around town, in a way that no other outdoor advertising can; delivering great urban infiltration for brands and integrating with online via the mobile platform; after all, “outdoor” people are so often also “online” these days.
Innovation and new technologies within black cabs will optimise passenger engagement even further. This could be through a simple idea such as QR codes, or a more progressive tactic such as NFC (near field communication) marketing; we’ve already seen sponsored mobile phone charging facilities and Wi-Fi. In 2012 mobile and card payment facilities will establish themselves in taxis.
What’s more, taxi advertising offers something that many marketers pine after — the one-on-one experience. Passengers spend on average 17 minutes in a taxi and our research shows that those who like to hail a taxi, are prepared to do so up to three times a month, making the taxi interior a media opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored. And taxi use is likely to rise during the Olympics, as commuters turn their back on what is predicted to be an over-congested public travel network.
Not wishing to dash the excitement of the Olympics before it’s over, but once the Games have finished, the marketer’s job continues. However, they will have provided an excellent test phase for channels and platforms like taxi advertising, with brands demonstrating unchartered creativity to capitalise on the games that will no doubt prompt a review of how best to engage with consumers once London 2012 draws to a close.
Andrew Barnett is the managing director at Ubiquitous.
More essential reading in the run-up to the Olympics:
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the latest and greatest new Google Adwords features released recently.
A keyword’s Quality Score indicates the relevancy of the ads it triggers and the landing pages it directs traffic to; it will help drive down your CPCs and improve your ad positions, hence improving overall campaign performances. And so the fact that Google is providing more insight into the Quality Score is being welcomed with open arms by advertisers.
By hovering over individual keywords in the Keyword Tab, we’re now able to understand how expected click-through-rates, ad relevancies and landing page experiences rate — average, above average or below average —compared to other advertisers.
This arguably overdue information should allow advertisers to more easily identify where improvements for relevancy can be made, and by increasing Quality Scores, should see overall campaign performances improve.
April saw the launch of account labels in your account. This allows the quick segmentation of keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns into custom groupings. These groups can then be easily filtered and reported on across various appropriate segments.
For online clothing businesses, for example, these labels could be used for separating categories, for example, into women’s shoes, men’s shirts, girl’s accessories and so on.
With the importance of testing and analysing PPC, these labels improve your ability to segment test groups appropriately.
This update is due to go live in mid-May, when the use of exact and phrase match types will be expanded to capture misspellings, plurals and stemmings for searches. Ultimately this means your keywords will be triggering ads for more searches and potentially resulting in higher click volumes.
This means you’ll spend less time compiling extensive keyword lists to include every search query variation and keyword misspelling you can think of — with the reassurance that Google will automatically do this for you.
Of course, there is some danger of ads triggering unwanted impressions and affecting our click-through-rates. The answer here is negatives, which you should use meticulously. Or, you can turn this Adwords feature off!
The majority of small businesses are owned and operated by a single person with a very limited amount of capital. In fact, many small business owners start their firms with life savings. So, money for advertising is in short supply. However, there are cost-effective ways for SMEs to promote their products and services.
Here are six back-to-basics advertising ideas for small firms:
Sites like Groupon allow small firms to offer coupons and discounts. Another way to spread the word about special offers is to distribute leaflets in your local area, either door-to-door or by giving out flyers in shopping centres.
It’s a good idea to partner with businesses that offer complementary products in the same target market as yours. By creating an attractive cross promotion, you can capitalise on the goodwill each firm has built up within their own customer base.
Make sure you always go the extra mile for your customers. Good feedback and customer satisfaction goes a long way in getting new and repeat business and word of mouth is still one of the best and cheapest ways to advertise your business.
Make sure your website is effective and easy to navigate. Hire a good designer who can also advise on SEO. It’s vital that your website ranks highly in major search engines for important keywords related to your business.
Promote your business online by using social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s also a good idea to create a short video about your business and put it up on YouTube so potential customers can get a glimpse of your products and services.
Getting mentioned in the press is not easy but PR can be cheap and positive coverage in both print and online media is a fantastic way to drive sales. Write press releases to spread news about your business.
You need to be careful in the approach you take. When you try a new advertising method, assess the results before you invest more money. Avoid false advertising methods like bait and switch, misleading facts and deceptive pricing. Above all, remember that your target audience may be quite small and any negative reviews about your business could spread fast.
Keith Allen runs a website for SMEs, Advertising for Small Business.
Voucher sites have grown in popularity over the past five years, and the market has grown significantly. Whilst some businesses have overlooked them in their marketing plan, voucher sites can be good for business...if you choose carefully. Below are some tips to help you to get the best out of marketing on voucher sites.
Local deals help you to generate repeat business, which is essential for building good, long-lasting customer relationships. National deals are good for generating an influx of customers, which may increase your revenue during a short space of time. However, the local customers are more likely to return.
Most voucher sites charge you a commission per sale. Never take the commission quoted at face value, and always try and barter them down to the lowest price possible. Although most won’t admit it, there is a degree of flexibility — especially if they believe your deal will sell well. Alternatively, look for a site that charges a flat fee.
Do you run a hotel? Are you a shop that sells fitted shirts? Or maybe you are a lawyer? Whatever you sector you work in, ensure the site attracts your ideal customer. Most sites specialise in B2C customers, but there are a few that market B2B services.
When people feel like they are getting a good deal, they are more likely to spend more — especially if it was under their initial budget. Create add-on services and deals that customers can purchase directly from you.
Voucher deals tend to be hugely popular, so ensure that your staff can handle the demand. Confirm the dates that your deal will be running, where the point of sale takes place (i.e. on your website, or on the voucher site), and how long the deal will be running. Most voucher sites allow you to put a cap on sales so you can handle the volume of sales, but confirm this beforehand.
Denis Kondopoulos is the senior technical project manager of everdayoffers.co.uk, a B2B and B2C voucher site.