It’s true; the mobile advertising opportunity is huge. With nearly a third of the world’s population toting smartphones, today’s mobile audience is sizable, always addressable, and can be reached with hyper-targeted messages based on mobile data. So it makes perfect sense that marketers, agencies, and ad tech vendors are turning their attention to mobile ads.

But when we look past the excitement in this market we face the reality: It has a long way to go — just because the mobile ad market is growing doesn’t mean that it’s working as well as it could be. Why is this? Well, the marketplace is still evolving and in flux, and there is a lot of deferring to familiar desktop thinking from marketers, agencies, and ad tech vendors. This poses one glaring problem: It completely overlooks the uniqueness of the mobile experience.

The time has come to rethink your mobile ad strategy, and here’s our advice: Divorce your mobile strategy from desktop and focus on integrated, personalized experiences. Here are some steps to help as you go:

  • Accept that mobile advertising is different. Your mobile customers are fundamentally different than your desktop customers — they are task-oriented, using a smaller screen, and demand that their mobile experiences be immediately actionable, simple, and contextually relevant to them. If your mobile customer is fundamentally different, shouldn’t your ad strategy be, too?
  • Go way beyond the mini-banner . . . Customers have told us loud and clear that ads today aren’t meeting their expectations — more than half of online adults who have seen in-app ads agree that they disrupt the user experience. Rather than leaving this bad impression, it is time to push your innovation boundaries and explore mobile-specific and publisher-specific formats that better align with the mobile user experience.
  • . . . and make it personal. Remember how mobile ads are so tempting because they can be hyper-targeted? Make that work. Go beyond basic segment-level targeting by incorporating real-time inputs, and eventually get to a personalized, individual-level of targeting that creates more relevant and compelling ads.

Once you have this great mobile-first ad that’s ready to impress your customers, you’ll have to carry this mobile-first thinking into your ad buying strategy, too. Will programmatic be the silver bullet to execute on innovative, deeply integrated formats and facilitate individual-level targeting? Or will more direct relationships make sense instead?  

In this new research, Mobile Advertising: It's Time To Get Personal, I take a look at where the industry stands today and take a deep dive into the types of creative, targeting, and buying options that are available to optimize your mobile advertising strategy.