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Mobile Ad Campaigns Still Beating Online

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Mobile campaigns continue to be a powerful ad channel for marketers, outperforming online advertising by roughly three times across a variety of metrics, including ad awareness, message association, and purchase intent, according to a study by InsightExpress.

Benchmarked against performance norms developed for online advertising, the norms of mobile campaigns conducted from Feb. 2007 to Dec. 2010 were 2.6 times higher than online in unaided awareness, 2.0 times higher in aided awareness, and 2.7 times higher in brand favorability.

Despite mobile's clear lead, however, the gap between the two media channels has narrowed. For example, the norms of mobile campaigns conducted from Nov. 2007 to Dec. 2009 were 6.0 times higher than online in purchase intent, 4.5 times higher in unaided awareness, 4.7 times higher in message association, and 5.0 times higher in brand favorability.

Below, other findings from the 2010 Mobile InsightNorms study, which analyzed the effectiveness of over 100 mobile ad campaigns conducted from Nov. 2007 to Dec. 2010.


Even so, mobile campaigns are capturing an increasing level of consumers' attention across key metrics: Mobile ad awareness reached 31% in 2010, up from 14% in 2009 and 16% in 2008.

Meanwhile, message association—which measures the ability to track a message to an advertiser—reached 20% during the period, up from roughly 11% in the previous two years.


Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.


Mobile Campaigns by Phone Types

With larger screens and richer interfaces, mobile campaigns viewed via smartphones are more effective overall than feature phones. Most significantly, smartphones generated an average increase of 39% in ad awareness, compared with 28% via feature phones.

Results in other measures such as unaided awareness (17% vs. 13%) and purchase intent (15% vs. 12%) were less significant, but feature phones registered higher effectiveness than the smartphones in ad awareness (9% vs. 7%).

Mobile Campaigns by Industry

Among mobile campaigns conducted in eight industries, entertainment received the highest marks for ad awareness (41%), followed by consumer packaged goods (CPG) (32%), technology (29%), retail (27%), and telecom (18%).

Among other industry-related findings:

  • Telecom received highest marks in message association (28%) and purchase intent (21%).
  • CPG campaigns ranked second in message association (16%).
  • Tech outperformed other industries in brand favorability (12%).
  • Entertainment campaigns were strong across most metrics, including aided awareness (15%), message association (15%), and purchase intent (14%); less so in brand favorability (8%).
  • The travel industry performed well in ad awareness (13%) and purchase intent (12%).
  • Retail ranked fourth in message association (13%).

About the data: The study used norms developed in online ad testing as a benchmark to draw conclusions around the performance of advertising on mobile devices. InsightExpress compared the two using InsightNorms, the company’s normative database containing 1,000+ online ad effectiveness campaigns and 100+ mobile ad effectiveness campaigns, from Nov. 2007 to Dec. 2010.


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  • by Nils Reither Mon Jan 17, 2011 via web

    Strange things they measure...
    Awareness. Purchase Intent.
    This is of course rubbish for the advertiser. ONLY SALES counts.

    Everybody is aware of rain, but how much do sell of that. Or intent... Yes I intent to buy a Farrari... once in the future ( if I get rich....).
    You see the uselessness of measuring such things? It is easy for the ad companies to "sell" these arguments to advertisers. But they sell nothing but a puff of smoke...

  • by timo Mon Jan 17, 2011 via web

    These data mark just scratch the surface of the power of mobile social. 2011 will see the re-emergence of direct messaging, with rich content, broadcast to targeted groups, and group and 1:1 chats; enabling CMOs to identify trends, prioritize product and distribution plans, customize promotions, and build brand loyalty.

  • by Brent Ledbetter Sat Feb 12, 2011 via web

    A portion of this research is right on. What's missing is the segmentation of mobile marketing. In my experience, success from mobile marketing is 100% industry related. Meaning ... if you're a general building contractor, mobile marketing is going to be useless. If you're a restaurant owner, it's going to pay-off with effective ads and impulse buys.

    Mobile marketing should be renamed Targeted Impulse Marketing. That's what it is. Here for 3 seconds and gone "marketing". You just can't generalize mobile marketing. It has to be broken down into tiny industry related baskets.

  • by wolfjaw Wed Apr 20, 2011 via web

    in response to Mr Reither's comment on Jan 17. Tis true that the ad companies sell nothing but the proverbial "puff of smoke" because that's their position in life..to sell the smoke. That's what brings the customers and clients in. After that, what the "puff of smoke" and how it is related to the customer/client is then a direct result of the sales person, not the ad company.

  • by sreekumar Mon Jun 4, 2012 via web

    correctly said! mobile marketing is all industry specific the one which propels an instant decision making and of low spend.

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